Kayaker rescued off South Shields coast as he was being blown out to sea by strong winds
A kayaker had to be rescued today off the coast at South Shields after he became unable to return to shore due to high winds.
He radioed UK Coastguard for help at 11.35am when he found himself unable to paddle against the strong westerly winds and was being blown out to sea.
UK Coastguard's Humber Operation Centre immediately requested the launch of Tynemouth RNLI's inshore lifeboat.
The crew of the Port of Tyne Pilot vessel Collingwood also responded to the emergency, as they were in the area.
As the lifeboat with three volunteer crew sped to the scene, the Pilot vessel located the kayaker approximately half a mile off South Shields beach.
They brought him and his kayak on board their vessel and when the lifeboat arrived, the RNLI crew assessed the man, finding him unharmed.
The Pilot vessel and lifeboat then made their way further inshore towards Littlehaven, and the casualty and his kayak were transferred onto the lifeboat and landed safely on the beach, where they were met by members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade.
The lifeboat was then stood down and returned to station where it was refuelled and made ready for service again.
Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI, said: "Thankfully the kayaker had a reliable means of communication and was quickly located.
"But this situation could have easily turned into a tragedy, as the strong westerly wind would quickly have blown him miles offshore, with no realistic chance of him returning unassisted.
"Always check the weather forecast and sea conditions before you set off, and get regular updates if you’re planning to be out for any length of time.
"And be prepared to change your plans or cancel the trip if the forecast is unfavourable."
The RNLI has a wealth of safety advice at www.respectthewater.com.