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RNLI Safety Talk

An evening talk by the RNLI was held for the IOWCC at the Hare and Hounds pub in Arreton yesterday evening. Around 20 club members turned out for a presentation by Colin Woodford and his collegue from Bembridge Lifeboat station relating specifically to us as sea kayakers.

The talk outlined the facilities that the RNLI has at various sites around the island and although the Solent is a very well covered area of water in terms of rescue capabilities, they stressed the importance of being able to efficiently call for help if you do need it. They also reported the figures of the number of deaths that were due to drowning last year. This figure has now scarily exceeded the annual number of deaths due to fire and on average, 5 of these deaths per year are kayakers.

The RNLI is campaigning to drastically reduce this figure over the next few years through their respect the water campaign. Colin showed an interesting video outlining the dangerous effects of cold water shock, which can occur when the water temperature is 12oC, leaving even the strongest swimmers in difficulty.

The talk also covered the importance of carrying a means of communication, wearing suitable clothing and a correctly fitting bouyancy aid, checking the weather and tidal planning when embarking on a paddle.

Although they were preaching to the convereted, the talk was still very interesting and I think they seemed impressed with how well prepared club members are when out on the water. Paddling as a club with experienced kayakers and also club training courses are invaluable. They also dished out some freebies at the end including very useful waterproof phone cases and reflective stickers, unfortunately they couldn't stretch to PLB's!!

Many thanks to Helen for organising this talk and to Colin Woodford from the RNLI for taking the time to speak to us.


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