Fishguard rescue^

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Mike Mayberry
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It could happen to you.

Post by Mike Mayberry » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:04 am

We were wondering when you would post this Mark.

This report is written following our discussions of what took place and is posted here that you may take something from it. We have stated the facts as we recall them and have tried to cover as much detail as possible. We believe that we did everything possible at the time and have included some bullet points as a summary at the end.

On Sunday our group of six kayakers went out for a day trip. MM (myself), SA and NB are the group that postponed the trip around Wales in September due to bad weather after 250miles and are planning to go again in April. SB, NB and SA are doing their four star leaders this year. MG and MR are part of a seven man team planning a three day trip in the summer to raise money for the Mumbles Lifeboat station.

Image

The 1200 inshore forecast was for NW force 4-5 winds and 1.2m swell, both due to decrease throughout the day. The readings from the wave buoy at Aberporth show that conditions at the time of these events were as forecast.

The group set out wanting to experience challenging conditions. The trip that was planned was to paddle from Goodwick into the wind and around Strumble Head when the wind and swell would be coming from behind, finishing at Abercastle.

Take from this what you will.


Incident 19th February 2012


0830 MM, SB, SA and NB arrive in Goodwick for a days sea kayaking. Plans are discussed, a paddle to Abercastle and a shuttle is organised. SB stays behind to meet MG and MR when they arrive at 0930.

1000 Returning from the shuttle the team get ready and pack kayaks for the day.

1100 The team depart Goodwick beach. MR isn’t as comfortable as usual.

1145 The team land on Pwll Hir with a view to balasting MR’s kayak. The plan is revised to wait for the ferry to pass and then paddle from Pen Anglas to Pwll Gwealod instead and then back into Goodwick.

1230 The team depart Pwll Hir. MR immediately feels more stable with the extra balast and at Pen Anglas MR feels ok with the original trip. It is discussed that if MR thinks he might capsize then we won‘t go, we‘ll do the Pwll Gwealod trip instead. MM has worked out that they must pass Pen Brush by 1432 as the tide turns then. He checks the distance and the time is feasible.

1345 The team arrive at Strumble Head. Riding the swell between Ynys Meicel and Carreg Onen MR catches his bow on MG‘s kayaks causing him to capsize. MM rescues. Five minutes rest in Carreg Onnen Bay and the group continue on. SB had also been checking progress.

1430 Due to the size of the waves the group is spread approximately 150m from back to front man to reduce the risk of surf induced collisions, we felt this was about right for the conditions at that time. MR Capsizes off Pen Brush. MM rescues and as MR is re-entering the kayak the tide turns. The group of four (SB, SA, NB and MG) continue on into sheltered water behind Pen Brush. MM and MR are swept into an eddy behind March Mawr as they remove the last of the water from MR‘s kayak and replace his spray deck. Due to the tide having turned it is clear that they will not make it around Pen Brush to join the others.

Having established from MG that MR had capsized and MM was rendering assistance, the group were concerned when MR or MM failed to appear. SB and SA paddled some 100m S down the edge of the rougher water to look for MR & MM. With nothing seen they briefly discussed making a PANPAN call but in the view that the original party were split and at the last sighting MR had been in the water, it was felt a MAYDAY was a more appropriate call. SB and SA returned to MG and NB and made 2 calls on CH 16 using a Handheld VHF radio.

MM and MR look to use the gulley between Pen Brush and the mainland. The swell is running straight into the gulley but looks ok, the rocks at the entrance are taking most of the power out of the swell, it’s only a kayaks width at it’s narrowest point. After three attempts at entering the channel MR was being pushed toward the rocks on the right hand side of the entrance and was visibly tiring quickly. The decision was taken that this was not going to be a viable option. The cliff was then looked at to see if there was a way to get up and over to contact the other four. Although it was possible for MM to do this he would not have been able to lift the kayak from the water and it wasn’t safe to leave MR by himself with a kayak to look after also. They decide they have to head to the calm water in Carreg Onnen Bay in order to land.

1450 The group of four call Mayday on channel 16 twice but get no reply. They had no signal on the mobile phone and knew that one person had to get ashore to get a phone signal or get to the nearest phone. They looked for a place to exit and found a flat ledge where landing might be possible but after watching a few sets they decided the waves were washing up onto it and it wasn’t as nice as they first thought. They then found a small channel and SA used this to land and pushed his kayak back out to NB.

1515 Once on the rocks and slightly elevated SA had a phone signal and contacted the Coastguard at Milford Haven on 999. He had to repeat three times before they were fully understood (that they were a group of six kayakers with two missing). SA then tried to contact MM by phone but it went to answer phone. The group found even more sheltered water by a storm beach just past the rock SA was on.

1525 Coastguards from Fishguard were on the scene with the group of four, having been training just over the next cliff. The Coastguard team went through the sequence of events with the group and clarified what safety equipment MM and MR had. The group were told that two lifeboats had been sent and a helicopter had been called but would take twenty-five minutes to be on station. The group decided that they would wait until they heard that MM and MR were safe and well.

1530 MM and MR had arrived in Carreg Onnen Bay and found a place that they could land and lifted the kayaks above the tide line.

1600 MM and MR had climbed to the top of the coast path. They decided against walking to Abercastle as it was only two hours to darkness. They decided that Strumble Head car park would be a better option as MM knew that a mobile phone signal was possible from there.

1615 MM and MR see the helicopter fly past them from the SW and then eastwards along the coast towards Fishguard. It’s obvious that they are being looked for and they give the pilot a wave on it’s way back past.

1624 MM and MR in the car park at Strumble Head, make contact with SA who informs them that the helicopter is looking for them. SA tells the coastguard with them that MM and MR are safe and well. The helicopter lands in the field next to MM and MR. One of them comes to see if both are well and he says that he’d rather be called out and not needed than for the group not to have called, The helicopter leaves and flies over to where the group of four are and hovers before leaving the scene. MM and MR decide they are going to carry the kayaks to Strumble Head car park.

1630 The coastguard tell the group of four that they will have a lift back to Fishguard on the lifeboat. SB was first, it became apparent that the crew hadn’t decided how they were going to get him and his kayak aboard. After a few attempts he entered the water and was lifted onboard with a strop. The lifeboat crew struggled to recover his sea kayak in the conditions. By the time SA and NB were aboard it was very easy for MG who described the strop as being shorter and he was just able to stand up in his kayak as his arms went through the strop.

1645 Coastguard arrive with MM and MR and help them to carry the kayaks to the car park.

1700 MM and MR are in the car park with the kayaks. The lifeboat is seen passing Strumble Head towards Fishguard.

1720 The coastguard vehicle arrives at Strumble Head. MM calls SA, they are about to land and will be coming to collect them.

1730 the coastguard leave the scene.

1830 SB and NB arrive Strumble Head, the team load kayaks onto the roof and head for Abercastle to collect vehicles.

1900 The team of six arrive at MM’s house to collect equipment from each other, have a coffee and a debrief.

2045 The team head off to their homes.

Texts arrive during the following hours informing MM that all have arrived home and are safe and well.


During the debrief SA described how at Pen Brush and seeing the conditions he thought something was going to happen.
The group of four that made it round described how waves were larger after the point where MR capsized.
The first capsize had cost us time we needed to make Pen Brush.
The team decided that once a second plan had been decided at Pwll Hir that it shouldn’t have been changed back again as although time permitted it didn’t allow for an unseen situation as happened.
The team thought it a good idea to suggest an evenings training with the lifeboat so that they can become more familiar with sea kayaks.
The team would very much like to thank the both the Coastguard and the Lifeboat crews in attendance for their prompt response.

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Mark R
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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by Mark R » Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:15 pm

Thanks for sharing, Mike - had no idea you were present, I just posted up the RNLI report.

You've generously offered lots of useful and interesting information. Reading through it, a few questions pop to mind...it's entirely down to you (and your friends) whether you want to answer/ expand upon the themes in them. Ignore at your leisure.

- Your group was looking for challenging conditions, which some of them seem to have been inexperienced with - was Strumble Head (>5 miles from road access/ easy landing, if my memory is good?) an appropriate spot for experiencing such conditions?

- Was this a guided/ coached/ commercial trip?

- I noticed that you seem to have done all the rescuing; the group who found themselves separated from you and the guy who swam...were they capable of operating/ continuing alone in your absence? I guess I'm wondering why they didn't come looking for you both.


There but for the Grace, and all that...
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Mike Mayberry
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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by Mike Mayberry » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:30 pm

Hi Mark,

We had considered a trip somewhere along the lines of Abercastle, Porthgain, Aberieddy, St Davids sort of area but decided on Strumble Head as we would first be paddling into the waves/ wind, then it would be broadside and then following. Paddling the other edge of the coast we'd have been into the conditions immediately and is just as remote as Strumble Head in reality.

The two with least experience that you mention have been paddling regularly since September, first with another coach whilst I was on my Wales trip and then myself. They are members of a club where they have learnt to roll but this is not 100% in a sea kayak yet. Our timings to Strumble suggest that they were capable in the conditions and they have said they would go in the same again. These two were paying for the rental of the kayaks just to cover wear and tear, it was an informal setting.

The four that were together did say that if they'd known we were ok they would have continued to Abercastle, but this wasn't discussed as an option at the time. If they had been able to spot us then they would probably have come back around but not knowing whether we had been swept by the tide or not they decided they would stay put and call for assistance.

I hope this helps.

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by cheekychimp » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:39 am

Hello Mark,

Just to answer some of your queries, if only to help others who find themselves in similiar situations in the future.
Mike M helped with both capsizes as he was mainly at the back of the group looking after the less experienced papddlers.
The second capsize occurred in some challenging conditons in a tide race, where the others required all concentration to get through. No one at the time was aware there had been a capsize as we were suitable spaced to avoid the risk of collison when surfing in the tide race. It was only when the second of the less experienced made it to the safer area that we were made aware of the rescue. We tried to gain line of sight with Mike M ans MR but couldn't. We also tried an alternative route using a gap through the headland to gain sight, again no joy. At this time we had no idea where Mike and MR were. To avoid any further capsizes to worsen the situation we agreed to remain in the area of safety as a group until communication with mike had been made. We made a mental note of the time and waited until we thought it necessary to make the call.

I hope this helps. Best wishes
Neil

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journeyman
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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by journeyman » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:54 am

Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts on this Mike.
This seems to be a scenario where having more than one VHF in a group would be useful (assuming of course the split group has a VHF amongst its occupants and they think of using it for group comms) - I think it is common for folk to think that VHF only has its uses as a mens of summoning external help and the very useful ness of it for in group communications is often overlooked. Glad all ended safely

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by cheekychimp » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:02 pm

Hello Journeyman,

In our group of four there were two VHF radios and three mobile phones. VHF didn't work nor could we get a mobile reception until one of the group climbed out onto the cliffs to find a decent reception. We were later informed by the coast guard that that particular area is a black spot for VHF and mobile reception...sods law.

Neil

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journeyman
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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by journeyman » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:37 pm

A good example then of line of sight VHF blackspot rendering VHF not useful even if party's are so near to each other.

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by Bards » Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:35 pm

Agree with all comments ref MM's frankness and it's value.
journeyman wrote:A good example then of line of sight VHF blackspot rendering VHF not useful even if party's are so near to each other.

Yes; and how useful the 'relaying' of VHF comms can be (even if not in this specific situation...). An added reason for any group to have one of their radios turned on and monitoring CH16 at all times feasible, as although just providing a potential relay station with 'our' handhelds (or using mobiles for onward comm link) may be all that paddlers can do in many situations involving extra-group CH16 shouts, but they may be essential, especially along stretches of cliff/inlets/headlands.

Bards

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by Debbie » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:07 pm

The more I read about these incidents the more I have respect for those kayakers such as Paul Caffyn, Jon Turk and Brian Wilson, who made incredible journeys without VHF or mobile phone relying on their judgement and seamanship rather than the safety net of rescue services to accomplish their goals.

How did sea kayakers cope just 10 years ago without VHF or mobile phone in this type of situation?

Perhaps more kayakers should ask themselves, "If I didn't have a VHF or mobile phone, or if rescue was several hours away, would I still go out today?"

Debbie

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Stuart Yendle
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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by Stuart Yendle » Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:21 pm

Glad you were all safe and well. Even though the rescue services weren't need it was the right decision, better to be safe than sorry.

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by snapper » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:30 pm

A side note on VHF amongst a group. A high percentage of kayak anglers here carry vhf as routine and the majority have done the course (a legal requirement to operate one) and use it as inter-party comms. As an idea three of us were out on saturday and all of us had units, all switched on. The radios were all set to dual watch, channel 16 for monitoring and channel 8 for inter-party communications and were on for the duration, on our persons not attached to the kayaks. Channel 8 is the one we now use as it's the working channel for the local boats, ie the charter skippers, commercial fishermen, dayboats and some of the commercial shipping that passes through, basically those we are likely to encounter. Like this we can keep abreast with what is happening around us (ie nets and longlines being deployed etc), hear any mayday/panpan/securite announcements plus weather and so on as well as being able to speak to each other without clogging up 16.

With VHF being reasonably cheap to purchase and easy to learn to operate it's a no-brainer to buy one and carry it. Unofficially I have been informed that, even unlicenced, it is preferred that we carry them and that we use them - we can be of assistance as much as we might require it ourselves and communication is important to those that informed me of this. Now, blackspots aren't uncommon but this relates to ship-to-shore - you will still be able to communicate by line of sight, ie to others who are around and not blocked by something (ie around a headland etc) and of course relays are a possible addition to this. As to relying on it as a safety net i'd say why not? It won't replace sense, for me, and is merely an addition to the drysuit, buoyancy aid, flares, PLB, mobile, whistle, rescue knife etc that is carried as a matter of course. I would still go out without a means of communicating with the emergency services, in the same conditions I usually go out in and I often have - indeed when I'm surf kayaking I carry nothing and am at greater risk of needing someone else's help if things go wrong - but with the means to call in help available it'd be pointless of me to not take advantage of it. Certainly the MCA and RNLI would prefer me to be so equipped.

This post is not in any way directed at the report of the incident this post is about, I am not one to pass judgement and I am sure that those involved are paddlers of a higher standard of skill than I, it is merely an addition to subsequent posts regarding radios. 2 carried amongst 4 paddlers should, in theory, have been sufficient. It is merely bad luck that it wasn't.
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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by Craig Addison » Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:22 am

Glad everyone is safe and well, it looks like the trip was well planned.

I could post many comments about what could have/did go wrong but I guess this has been discussed by those concerned in great length and there's no point in me coming to the same conclusions. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

With reference to the paddler who is usually uncomfortable, what boat is he paddling? maybe the boat paddler are mismatched, I've experienced this a few times, if a person is uncomfortable and wary of their craft it seriously affects confidence and ability to paddle, it's probably worth swapping boats etc. to see if this makes a difference.
Craig.

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by Debbie » Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:49 am

I wish to thank MM for his detailed account of this incident. I would like to add a few thoughts to hopefully help others think about how to avoid incidents of their own.

The Coast Guard was required in this incident for two reasons:

1. To assist with communication between the parties involved.

2. To rescue the party of four who seemed insufficiently confident to continue without capsizing and creating further incidents.

Therefore I have come up with the following lessons to be learned.

Lessons To Be Learned:

1. Winter Paddling:
Kayaking around a headland in Force 5 through a tide race with swell in 6’C water temperature is a serious undertaking. Survival times in such water temperatures vary from 30 min. to 1 hour. Once in the water, time of usefulness of one’s limbs varies from 5 min. to 15 min. Perhaps this paddle could have been better saved for summer.

2. Tide Calculation:
Allow plenty of time for the tide to change. The delays caused by the need to add ballast and the rescue at the beginning of the trip before the headland led to the group missing the tidal window to round the headland at a reasonable state of tide.

3. Ability and Experience Level:
It would seem that a number of the participants had insufficient experience and ability to cope with the conditions on the day. While “pushing the boundaries” is a necessary part of learning, this group attempted too large an incremental jump too soon.

If a group wishes to push the boundaries then the safest way to do so is to choose a paddling environment with high risk (of capsize) with low consequence (for injury or incident). This could be, for example, an area with strong onshore wind with sandy shore as with surfing. The chosen paddle was in an environment with high risk of capsize with high consequence of injury or rescue if an incident occurred.

4. Equipment Familiarity:
One member of the group appears to have been unstable due to the lack of familiarity with the hired boat. It’s a leap of faith to attempt a demanding, high risk trip in a kayak you’re unfamiliar with.

5. Group Discipline:
In this incident, it was an error of judgement to allow the group to become spread out over a distance of 150m which was out of verbal communication range. The pneumonic “CLAP” is a good way to remember all the important aspects of group discipline.
  • C - Communication: Decide before getting on the water how communication within the group will take place. Verbal communication is the most reliable and satisfactory method and requires the group to stay within shouting distance. Using a previously agreed paddle signalling system (for example, waving paddle in air to mean “come to me”) or use of whistles.
    L - Line of Sight: Decide on a group formation which enables the group to communicate and watch out for each other.
    A - Avoidance: If the group is together and able to communicate, they are able to collectively make decisions on how to avoid hazards, whether to abort the trip, or modify plans.
    P - Position of Greatest Usefulness: The position of the leader is important in the group. In this this trip, the position of the leader at the back of the group enabled him to carry out the rescues. However, there should have been a suitable deputy at the front of the group to carry out the important task of slowing the front down, or stopping as necessary, in order to maintain group cohesion.
Overall, this incident has highlighted that the use of VHF for inter-group communication is a poor substitute for direct verbal communication enabled by good group discipline.

Hope this helps advance paddling safety in our kayaking community.

Regards,

Debbie

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by cheekychimp » Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:18 am

Hello Debbie,

Thanks for your message and advice regarding the incident. I agree with many of the points made and I'm sure others will find them useful, however there are a couple of things I would like to point out.

The coast guard was called because the group had become seperated in the challenging conditions of the tide race. With no communication between the two parties possible via VHF, mobile phones or visual contact (and knowing that a capsize had taken place) it was agreed that the call should be made rather than leaving it too long.

Our group of four were not in need of, nor rescued. We were in a safe area and infact more than confident to continue onto our destination. It was decided to stay and wait until we had received news of the other two. Going back out into the tide race with one less experienced paddler was not an option as this may have worsened the situation that was currently undercontrol. By the time we had recieved news of the others whereabouts we were running out of daylight hours and the coast guard requested that we return with them to shore.

Also the spread of the group was necessary whilst navigating the tide race to avoid surfing collisons which was a very real threat. Until that point we had been travelling as a tight group.

I hope that these discussions are useful to others so that we may all remain safe on our paddling journeys. Best wishes,
Neil

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by Debbie » Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:24 am

Cheeky chimp,

The Cambridge Dictionary defininition for rescue is, "to help someone or something out of a dangerous, harmful or unpleasant situation."

If you were unable to continue under your own steam because of either sea conditions or daylight limitations, then I regret to inform you that you were indeed rescued.

One more "Lesson To Be Learned" would be: Learn night paddling skills if there's a risk of paddling in darkness.

Debbie

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by jamesl2play » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:24 pm

I was wondering why people were reluctant to discuss incidents on a forum. Lesson learnt.

Glad you guys were ok in the end.

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by journeyman » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:16 pm

Debbie I wonder what the definition in your The Cambridge Dictionary is for "condescending"?

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by Debbie » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:38 pm

Sounds like I won't be welcome in south Wales anytime soon! :)

Regards,

Debbie

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by MikeB » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:58 pm

cheekychimp wrote:By the time we had recieved news of the others whereabouts we were running out of daylight hours and the coast guard requested that we return with them to shore.
Irrespective of whatever the Oxford, Cambridge or any other dictionary says, I'd be hard pushed to categorise that as "being rescued" in the generally accepted context. I'd regard that as being assisted.

Which may well be splitting hairs.

Even if one chooses to regard it as a rescue, then there is no shame in that.

However, the crucial thing is (a) no one was hurt, (b)some contructive and critical analysis took place and (c) some lessons were learned. Mike.

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:49 pm

Mike and Neil,

thank you very much for sharing the details of the incident and your debrief afterwards. I think your team were absolutely right to put out the mayday/999 when they did as it allowed the rescue services to be deployed during daylight. I have never heard of a situation when rescue services have complained about being called to soon.

Some years ago I put out a 999 call when windsurfing in the Solway. A huge squall came over and I lost sight of my friend in ebb tide and force 8 conditions. It was too windy to launch either the RNLI Kircudbright Atlantic 21 or the smaller Mossyard IRB. The coast guard deployed people at various places round the coast and the Sea King from HMS Gannet in Prestwick was called to search the area. It was too windy for it to fly direct over the Galloway Hills so it set off on a dog leg round the Mull of Galloway. The squall passed before the helicopter arrived and my friend reappeared 2 miles away on the far side of the bay. He had landed safely as the squall hit and sat it out but had no means of communicating he was safe as it was before mobile phones and cheap handheld VHF. From the moment I last saw him till he reappeared nearly 2 hours had passed. I apologised for making the 999 call but the coastguard said emphatically I had done the right thing. He said fear of embarrassment should never delay an emergency call, as rescuers have an easier job searching the less time has elapsed from the point of last sighting.

Thanks again for sharing and, like the others, I am very glad you are all safe.

Douglas

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by cheekychimp » Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:04 pm

Thanks for all the replies. I agree that we were assisted, as we were capable of continuing, even with the daylight hours remaining. It was the coast guards call and I wasn't about to argue, as we had just called them away from their homes!

Obviously some strong views on the subject. Just hope that we can all continue to discuss such events openly and honestly without being too judgemental. Thanks for all the support. As the last message stated:
(a) no one was hurt, (b)some contructive and critical analysis took place and (c) some lessons were learned.

Happy paddling.
Neil

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by MikeB » Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:07 pm

Good comment Douglas. It reminded me of a tale from the Hebridies. Some friends of mine lost contact with the chap they were paddling with, also in a squall. To cut the story short, they ended up speaking to Stornoway C/G on VHF who promptly despatched a helicopter, despite there being no obvious suggestion of a "rescue" being needed. Our man was duly located, safe and well, and on shore. This was relayed to my pals. Everyone was happy and there was no suggestion, at any time, that anyone had done anything they shouldnt have.

Neil - The only people who can meaningfully comment on the rights and otherwise of an "incident" are those personally involved, who are in full possession of all the facts, and are therefore able to report and learn from what happened. Thanks to you and Mike for sharing your experience. It is valuable to all of us.

I will go so far as to suggest that there is no place for critical comment from people not in possession of all the relevant facts, who were not there, and not actually involved. Unless, of course, those involved ask for constructive input and suggestions.

Mike.

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by Debbie » Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:19 pm

I really don't mean to be critical and I'm glad people have taken my comments in the constructive manner in which they were intended. However, not that I'm passing judgement, but a jury doesn't need to witness (or be a party to) a murder before considering the evidence before it. Everyone will have their own interpretation as to whether the facts make sense.

Regards,

Debbie

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by MikeB » Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:25 pm

Debbie wrote:I really don't mean to be critical and I'm glad people have taken my comments in the constructive manner in which they were intended. However, not that I'm passing judgement, but a jury doesn't need to witness (or be a party to) a murder before considering the evidence before it. Everyone will have their own interpretation as to whether the facts make sense.

Regards,

Debbie
While I accept the comment that you're not passing judgement, here's not the place for anyone to pass a judgement anyway. Your jury comment may be a little inappropritate. The jury, will, however be provided with all the know facts and evidence, and have received input from expert witness before they arrive at a verdict. They will also recive direction from the judge.

Mike.

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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by journeyman » Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:57 pm

Debbie wrote:Sounds like I won't be welcome in south Wales anytime soon! :)
Not at all. There is some fantastic paddling to be had around South Wales, don't be put off.
Perhaps making assumptions, coming to conclusions and passing judgement without being party to all the facts isn't the best of things to do when people have put forward something for us all to learn from.

Eurion

jamesl2play
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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by jamesl2play » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:15 pm

Debbie wrote:Sounds like I won't be welcome in south Wales anytime soon! :)

Regards,

Debbie
Au contraire Maam.

We always keep a welcome in the hillside don't you know.

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Mark R
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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by Mark R » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:18 pm

I can't personally see much to quibble/ disagree with, in Debbie's analysis. Whether or not the points do all apply to this incident, they are valid in general.

To address a more specific issue - sorry guys, but regardless of semantics, this was a rescue. Help was sought because the group had lost contact from each other, and for whatever reason, the four paddlers who actually called for assistance were not happy to resolve the situation and re-establish physical contact themselves. Of course, they acted 100% correctly; any situation where you can't account for all of your group is an immediate emergency; the only time I've personally ever considered seeking help from the CG was on a crossing where some paddlers inexplicably bogged off out of sight (I didn't do it because it so happened that my VHF died on me) and I was unable to account for their status. I hardly need remind folk of the circumstances of the Anglesey tragedy last year, which revolved around a separated group.

All that said...it doesn't look like anyone here is going to thank her for it, but Debbie is 100% right to point out the Elephant in the Room; whether the trip was a good idea in the first place. If anything is really worth pondering/ reflecting upon, it's this decision, not the intricacies of VHF protocol.
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inthedrink
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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by inthedrink » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:44 pm

Really encouraging to know well the emergency services reacted! Unless we only go out in calm conditions this could happen to anyone and many thanks to mike and his team for letting us all know about what happened and how they all coped with it.

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Kayaks'N'Beer
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Re: Fishguard rescue

Post by Kayaks'N'Beer » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:55 pm

Just a wild stab in the dark but I'm guessing the rescue services were feeling a bit more upbeat on their trip home from the office that day than if they'd had to fish a body out the water.

The main thing I've taken from this is the idea of having a rendezvous point or a get in touch protocol in the event that a group gets separated like this. Seems like everyone involved made getting a mobile signal a priority pretty soon after they got split up. Most of us would probably have done the same but having it spelled out as part of the mission brief can't do any harm. Just another one of those - shit happens - scenarios that you know you have covered if it ever comes up.

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