Author: Paul Nicholson
Three days after 12 volunteers at Sunderland RNLI Lifeboat Station successfully completed the charities Casualty Care training course; they were required to put their skills to the test for real.
Earlier this evening (Saturday 13 August) its volunteers were called into action following reports of man being stranded and drifting on top of his upturned kayak over a mile out to sea from Roker beach.
The rescue mission was launched shortly before 5:45pm when Coastguard Officers based at Humber Coastguard Marine Rescue Coordination Centre received a call from the kayaker reporting he had capsized and was unable to right the kayak. With the strong offshore wind he was concerned that he was being blown further offshore.
Officers immediately contacted Sunderland RNLI to request the launch of their D Class inshore lifeboat.
The lifeboat launched 7 minutes later crewed by Helmsman Sam Clow along with another two volunteer crew.
With assistance from RNLI lifeguard staff in the local Lifeguard Operations Centre at Roker, the volunteers quickly located the man drifting almost a mile off Roker beach.
Sam Clow, Helmsman at Sunderland RNLI said: ‘When we arrived the kayaker was lying across the capsized kayak keeping himself afloat as well as keeping his face clear of the water. Our immediate priority was to get him out of the water and start to warm him through.’
After pulling the casualty from the water and onto the lifeboat he was then assessed by one of the charities qualified casualty carers. During the journey back to the lifeboat station the man was continually assessed and treated for his exposer to the cold.
Once back in Sunderland Marina the casualty, a 64 year man from County Durham was handed over to Paramedics for further assessment and treatment.
Sam added: ‘Thankfully the kayaker was very well equipped so this bought him enough time for us to reach him and pull him from the water. Even with his buoyancy aid and protective clothing he was extremely cold when we pulled him from the water. Without this equipment and the swift joint response from emergency services he may not have been here to tell the tale.
The charities ‘Casualty Care’ training course was developed by one of the charity’s Sea Survival and First Aid Trainers at RNLI Headquarters, Poole. Instead of a traditional syllabus based on diagnosis, the new course is based on what the crew member sees and therefore knows – a symptom based approach. The course meets all the necessary criteria approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency [MCA] and is recognised by the British Paramedic Association and the Anaesthetic, Trauma and Critical Care Association.
As a registered charity the RNLI relies on voluntary donations and legacies from the public for its income.