Several kayakers who became trapped in a remote beach cove in the U.K. were rescued this week after scrawling “we’re stuck” in the sand, coast guard officials say.
A volunteer crew was launched at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday after a station in Cornwall received reports of a kayaker in difficulty, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) said. As the lifeboat headed out to sea they received more information from the coastguard.
It emerged the person was raising the alarm to help five more kayakers who were sheltering from changing sea conditions at Butterhole Beach after being trapped by an incoming tide. An image taken from the cliff tops at the beach showed the kayakers’ large SOS message.
According to the RNLI, a large charity that works independently of the government to save lives at sea, the kayakers were transferred to a lifeboat and did not require medical attention. Padstow Coastguard supported the operation from the large cliffs at Butterhole, officials said.
The kayaker who raised the alarm was helped back to Trevone, a local seaside village, by Harlyn Bay lifeguards. The stranded kayakers were returned to the Padstow lifeboat station at 5.10 pm.
On September 14, officials assisted two kayakers who became stuck in Wales due to a changing tide.
“When going out kayaking please ensure you have all the correct safety equipment and a means to call for help,” an RNLI spokesperson said in a statement.
In 2018, RNLI crews rescued 9,412 people across the U.K. and Ireland, an increase of 17 percent on 2017. The organization says there was nearly 200 boats dispatched to kayaking or canoeing incidents last year—4.6 percent of launches.
The charity notes: “Kayaking is one of the best ways to enjoy the wonders of the water. But rescue incidents have increased. In many of these cases, kayakers weren’t able to raise the alarm in an emergency. Take a means of calling for help as part of your kayaking kit and keep it on you, within reach at all times.” It urges all kayakers to always wear a lifejacket.
Donations to the RNLI surged this week after U.K. Conservative Party politicians criticised the charity for spending money on international projects while it was allegedly facing a shortfall in money and potential job cuts. The remarks were branded as misleading by the charity. “We have made no secret of this work,” it said in a statement that was also posted to social media.
“Thank you to everyone who has sent messages of support and made donations over the past 24 hours, we simply couldn’t save lives without our amazing supporters,” the RNLI added.