WATCH: Paddleboarding family swept out to sea, rescued by RNLI

A family was rescued by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) after being swept 1.5 miles out to sea. They’d been caught out on their paddleboards.

The four – a dad, mum, son, and family friend – were caught out by a combination of an offshore wind and outgoing tide on The Wirral, Merseyside on Sunday.

“The day went from good to bad very quickly,” says the father.

“When we set out the weather was calm, but it changed very fast. All of a sudden the wind picked up and it got a bit choppy. I looked behind and the kids and my wife were struggling to keep up, and I knew we were in trouble.”

Realising they couldn’t get back to land, the group rafted themselves together using their paddles and safety leashes while they waited for help. A concerned friend raised the alarm from the shore. Hoylake RNLI’s volunteer crew came to the group’s aid on their hovercraft after the paddleboarders were spotted by an RNLI beach lifeguard (on a rescue water craft).

Hovercraft commander Chris Williams said the group had been ‘lucky’ that the alarm was raised quickly as the group were at risk of being swept further out to sea.

“Paddleboarding has become hugely popular and although the casualties were caught out by the wind and tide, they were wearing personal floatation devices, carrying mobile phones in waterproof pouches, and using their safety leashes,” says Williams.

“If you’re heading out on a paddleboard, always check the weather forecast and tide times and tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

“Keep a way of calling for help attached to you in a waterproof pouch or your pocket at all times, always wear a floatation device, keep your safety leash attached, and in an emergency dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

At the moment the alarm was raised, Hoylake’s volunteer crew were hosting a fundraising carwash in aid of the RNLI’s annual Mayday fundraising campaign.

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