A man was taken to hospital after being rescued by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) at Redcar when a trip out in a supermarket-bought inflatable boat nearly ended in tragedy on Saturday 4 July 2015.
He had set out from the South Gare before being carried by the wind and tide towards the Teesside Wind Farm, and then towards the beach in Coatham Bay.
A member of the Redcar RNLI crew had to pull the man from surf when his kayak capsized close inshore, approximately half a mile from the Majuba car park.
The 35-year-old man from Middlesbrough had bought the inflatable kayak from a discount supermarket for less than £40, intending to go fishing with it.
He was spotted struggling to make headway by a member of the public, who contacted UK Coastguard when they became concerned for the man’s wellbeing.
Two RNLI lifeboats from Redcar launched at 5.15pm and began searching between Redcar and the South Gare.
When the man was rescued he was found to be extremely cold and became unwell. He was transferred to the Redcar lifeboat station, and given emergency care until ambulance crews arrived.
He was taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough by ambulance for treatment for hypothermia.
Dave Cocks, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Redcar RNLI, said: ‘This could so nearly have ended as another tragedy at sea. While the craft may have been very inexpensive it could have cost the man his life.
‘These boats are currently on sale in some of the low-cost supermarkets, and while at first glance they might seem to be a bargain, we would urge people to think very carefully before buying one.
‘The North Sea is a dangerous place, even when the weather is as fine as we have seen in the past few days. The man was thrown into very cold water, very close to the shore. He was only wearing a tee-shirt and shorts and didn’t have a lifejacket on.
‘At one point his body temperature was measured at less than 34 degrees. He was suffering from hypothermia and was becoming very weak. If he’d got into difficulties and hadn’t been found he may not have been able to save himself.
‘I’d like to thank the member of the public who raised the alarm and then for guiding the lifeboats towards the man. They played an important part in saving the man’s life.’
The RNLI issues standard safety advice to anyone planning to go to sea in a craft. The advice is to always wear a lifejacket, have a proper means of raising the alarm, such as flares or a VHF radio, tell someone when you plan to leave and return, and make sure the craft is seaworthy and the weather and tides are suitable.
The RNLI have a Respect The Water campaign, and more information can be found at rnli.org/respectthewater.