A coastal kayaker has urged other paddlers to take heed of the RNLI’s safety advice after he was thrown into the sea by a rogue wave.
Guy Lowdes, from Llandegla, in North Wales, shared his story as part of a joint summer safety campaign between British Canoeing and the RNLI.
Guy, an experienced coastal kayaker, was returning from the Skerries, near Holyhead, with a group of 10 others, in December, when he was capsized by a rogue wave.
"The tide pushed me one way and my boat the other, I must have been in the water about 20 minutes," Guy told the RNLI.
Guy’s friend had a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) which he used to call for help. A rescue operation was mounted including a helicopter and RNLI crews from Holyhead and Moelfre.
"I’m just so grateful we had a means of calling for help, so we could alert the RNLI to exactly where we were located.
"I was starting to feel incredibly cold and poorly despite wearing a dry suit. I’m convinced if I’d have been there any longer with the failing light, we may never have been found.
"Once the RNLI arrived and I was taken onboard Holyhead’s lifeboat, the adrenaline stopped. I felt very unwell and cold.
"I’m so pleased to be here today sharing my story and hoping people take heed of the RNLI’s advice and never set up without having the necessary equipment.
"My story just goes to show how dangerously unpredictable the sea can be."
The RNLI and British Canoeing are raising awareness of how to stay safe on the water when planning to stand up paddleboard, kayak or canoe on any type of water.
The five key messages are:
Wear a buoyancy aid / personal floatation device. No matter how strong you think you are at swimming.
Carry a means of communication on you. If you become separated from your craft, this is when you may need to call for assistance.
Check the weather. So that you can wear the right clothing and spot any weather that is dangerous to paddle in.
Tell others of your plans. So they know when you will be returning.
Paddle within your ability and if you need to, take courses to help level up your skills.