Paddle Boarder saved by rescueMe EDF1 during UKsup Endurance Race Series

wave decor
lives saved
Mechanical failure
Normal conditions
Water sports
Rescue location
°S, °W
Rescue team
Good Samaritan
Rescue duration
20 min

What happened?

The UKsup endurance series was well-organized, with Jo, the main organizer, running all the events. When we joined, we had only entered the final event as an endurance paddle.

Prior to the race, I made sure to equip myself with the rescueMe EDF1, a device I had acquired in early 2018. Paired with a VHF handheld, this combination proved invaluable during windsurfing expeditions in challenging offshore conditions, often stretching out to 5 kilometers from the coast.

Our third day of racing commenced at 6 AM in Fort Augustus, with a finishing line in Inverness. Conditions were daunting, with low visibility, winds consistently averaging force 5/6, and the daunting prospect of a large wave formation on Loch Ness.

Maria and I had been on the water for approximately two hours, confidently navigating the tumultuous conditions. It was during this leg of the race that I spotted Peter off to my right, only 30 to 40 meters away, though his calls for help were barely audible above the loud winds. Had I not noticed him, the likelihood of another paddler coming close to him would have been quite low, as most stayed closer to the shore. We had chosen to take a more challenging yet faster route down the middle of the Loch, which eventually led to our encounter with Peter.

He had been struggling in the frigid waters for about 20 minutes, and the icy embrace of Loch Ness, with its constant temperature of 6 degrees, was beginning to take its toll. The ordeal had begun when Peter’s board was swept away, its leash having failed, possibly ripping it from his ankle. Peter quickly inflated his PFD (personal flotation device) and called 999 for assistance. When I reached him, I took over the emergency call, providing precise coordinates from my GPS watch and notifying them of the EDF1 red LED flare we would have for visibility.

The RNLI Loch Ness team was immediately dispatched and anticipated an arrival within 20 minutes. Our efforts to keep Peter on our boards, covering him up and even managing to get a pair of waterproof trousers on him, proved challenging in those conditions with two men precariously balanced on a single race board. RNLI’s prompt response was further facilitated by the red LED flare, which provided them with a clear marker amidst the numerous paddleboarders dispersed across the vast waters. By that time, Peter had become quite pale and was shivering continuously, making it evident that carrying the appropriate safety equipment had potentially saved vital minutes in his rescue.

Our rescue mission had been an unexpected detour in the race, yet we pressed on and completed the grueling 92-kilometer journey in 13.5 hours. Maria’s triumph in the women’s category added a special note of achievement to our already extraordinary day.

Peter was airlifted to Inverness and subsequently treated for cold water immersion. He made a full recovery, and it was heartwarming to see him looking much warmer at the evening’s prize-giving ceremony. As fate would have it, after his recovery, Peter and I would ultimately share a well-deserved beer that very evening.

Words of wisdom

I would recommend it is very important to have any safety equipment ON YOUR PERSON ratherthan on the vessel.Carl actually had his flare on his board-if he had lost his board he would havebeen stuck!I would also recommend to tie any safety equipment to your person.I had my phone inan Aquapac, but I didn’t have a lanyard.If I had dropped it into the sea I would have been quitestuck.I think the EDF1 solves this problem partly because at least it floats.

Thank you note to the Ocean Signal team

I was unaware of the range of products offered by Ocean Signal.Now looking at the range I cansee a number of products that may have applications at the more extreme end of paddle sports.Iwas also pleasantly surprised by the prices for what are safety-critical items