Coastguard issues warning as those involved had "no way" of raising the alarm

Bournemouth Echo: An image of the six-man canoe that capsized off Old Harry Rocks yesterday. Photo by Ian Brown, Station Officer, Swanage Coastguard Rescue Team. An image of the six-man canoe that capsized off Old Harry Rocks yesterday. Photo by Ian Brown, Station Officer, Swanage Coastguard Rescue Team.

NINE canoeists were lucky to escape unscathed after a sightseeing trip turned into a dramatic sea rescue at the weekend.

Coastguard officers, two passing boats and both of Swanage's RNLI lifeboats were involved in the rescue, which took place off Old Harry Rocks, near Studland, after a six-man canoe capsized in “difficult sea conditions.”

All six people onboard were initially rescued from the water by the passing dive boat, Skua, which also raised the alarm. The RNLI also assisted one of two other three-man canoes, believed to be part of the same party.

The coastguard has since issued a stark warning, after it emerged the canoeists - who were not locals - had set off without the necessary safety gear.

Those involved had no way to raise the alarm and were "fortunate" to be spotted by the Skua crew, Portland Coastguard explained.

Ian Brown, of Swanage Coastguard, said: “It is really sad that people are not taking those extra steps to ensure they remain safe. If the local dive boat skipper, who is well switched on, hadn't spotted them this could have been very, very nasty.

“With that amount of people involved, it was worrying. You could easily get people disappearing, the water is not warm and there is a bitter wind.”

After spotting the canoeists in danger, around 4.30pm on Saturday (May 3), the dive boat sent a mayday distress call. It was quickly joined by another nearby boat, Playtime, and both the inshore and all weather Swanage RNLI lifeboats.

Dave Laut, who was piloting Skua, said: “The biggest kayak was almost Hawaiian-style - I've not seen something like that before.

“We were out on a dive when I saw the boats at Old Harry. I just noticed something a bit different - I thought to myself, 'That doesn't look right'. When we went over, we could see that the larger kayak had turned over and six people were in the water.”

He took the six on board, and said they were “shivering” with the cold.

“The sea temperature was about 10 degrees, and when you've got wind chill as well, you don't want to be in the water without a wetsuit for long.”

Portland Coastguard watch manager Ros Evans said: "The 12 canoeists were out in difficult weather conditions.

"They were dressed only in shorts and t-shirts. They were wearing buoyancy aids but appeared to have no other safety gear, no rescue equipment and most worryingly, no way of raising the alarm.”

An RNLI spokesman said: “Once at Knoll Beach all the casualties were landed ashore. In total, nine persons were assisted and three more made their own way back to Studland, where they were reunited with their boats and met by the Swanage Coastguard."

Comments (11)

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9:52am Sun 4 May 14

Huey says...

What bunch of fools.
They should be made to pay back every penny that the rescue operation cost, and be banned from such activities in the future.
What bunch of fools. They should be made to pay back every penny that the rescue operation cost, and be banned from such activities in the future. Huey
  • Score: 34

11:37am Sun 4 May 14

PUZZLED ONE says...

These idiots will only drown once!
These idiots will only drown once! PUZZLED ONE
  • Score: 16

1:19pm Sun 4 May 14

Bournemouth Ohec says...

Pillocks.
Pillocks. Bournemouth Ohec
  • Score: 10

2:44pm Sun 4 May 14

Staynor66 says...

Perhaps this was no accident...more a daring attempt to defraud the life insurance company by a group of canoeist's rather than one individual....after all you wouldn't want to be lonely waiting for the pay-out...morons
Perhaps this was no accident...more a daring attempt to defraud the life insurance company by a group of canoeist's rather than one individual....after all you wouldn't want to be lonely waiting for the pay-out...morons Staynor66
  • Score: -9

2:59pm Sun 4 May 14

60plus says...

The owner of the canoe should be named and shamed,all canoeist should be made to take out insurance.
The owner of the canoe should be named and shamed,all canoeist should be made to take out insurance. 60plus
  • Score: 6

3:41pm Sun 4 May 14

Derf says...

Nice to know the kayakers were all well versed in rescue techniques.
A few things; how does a kayak with an outrigger capsize in the first place? Why couldn't the other boats right it? And what tool goes out in open water without a wet/drysuit??
Nice to know the kayakers were all well versed in rescue techniques. A few things; how does a kayak with an outrigger capsize in the first place? Why couldn't the other boats right it? And what tool goes out in open water without a wet/drysuit?? Derf
  • Score: 13

3:55pm Sun 4 May 14

BIGTONE says...

Well you gotta hand it to these canoeists.....they don't do things by half......
Well you gotta hand it to these canoeists.....they don't do things by half...... BIGTONE
  • Score: -2

4:23pm Sun 4 May 14

HRH of Boscombe says...

Can the Echo interview these morons and ask them if they'll be making a donation to the RNLI?
Can the Echo interview these morons and ask them if they'll be making a donation to the RNLI? HRH of Boscombe
  • Score: 12

5:48pm Sun 4 May 14

Yankee1 says...

Was it anything to do with 'Big Canoe' in Poole?

No one in Canada or the US has silly canoes that big.

If not, who was it?
Was it anything to do with 'Big Canoe' in Poole? No one in Canada or the US has silly canoes that big. If not, who was it? Yankee1
  • Score: -6

7:29pm Sun 4 May 14

PUZZLED ONE says...

The BBC and Weymouth Echo say that there were 12 idiots Involved.
The BBC and Weymouth Echo say that there were 12 idiots Involved. PUZZLED ONE
  • Score: 4

5:30pm Mon 5 May 14

cromwell9 says...

These canoiests cant be locals ,Can they ?., they cant be that stupid.
I bet they were .down here from London or some City else where.
I wonder how many were wearing life jackets.
Its about time every one taking to the high seas should have Insurance.
So the rescue servises can claim back their costs.
To me its a know brainer?.
These canoiests cant be locals ,Can they ?., they cant be that stupid. I bet they were .down here from London or some City else where. I wonder how many were wearing life jackets. Its about time every one taking to the high seas should have Insurance. So the rescue servises can claim back their costs. To me its a know brainer?. cromwell9
  • Score: -4

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