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170109 | Kayaker caught by tide in treacherous waters off Hayle welcomes new NCI lifesaving camera | Cornwall Live

Via http://www.cornwalllive.com/kayaker-caught-by-tide-in-treacherous-waters...

 

Kayaker caught by tide in treacherous waters off Hayle welcomes new NCI lifesaving camera

By G_WIlkinson | Posted: January 09, 2017

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Pictured is John Wilson of the RNLI, Hayle Kayak Club's Diane Warren, St Ives NCI station deputy manager John Farrell and station manager Helen Simpson

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A kayaker who battled for more than an hour to reach the safety of the shore in the treacherous waters off Hayle has welcomed a new piece of lifesaving kit.

Diane Warren said the waters in the estuary can change extremely quickly – as she discovered to her cost last year. Diane, an experienced member of Hayle Kayak Club, said she was hit by "a huge wall of water" as she tried to make her way back to the shore.

"I was actually in the water for probably an hour trying to get out of the flow - and the flow was very difficult," she said. "I had all the right gear. I had a paddle in my hand and had a dry suit on, I had my buoyancies, my radio and my flares but I didn't make the call because I kept thinking I could get out.

"Two people who came to help me also ended up in the water so I made the call to the coastguard and the inshore lifeboat came and got us. Some holidaymakers go out without even a wetsuit and are often not that well prepared and they wouldn't have lasted that hour."

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She welcomed a new £6,000 webcam that has given watchkeepers at the St Ives National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) station an extra set of eyes to monitor the difficult currents around the approach to Hayle Harbour.

She added: "We were invisible because of the surf but this camera would have been picked up within the first couple of minutes."

Hayle Estuary, which can be treacherous with tidal currents and swells.

John Farrell, who fishes out of Hayle on his boat and is also the St Ives NCI deputy station manager, said: "The channel is the second fastest in the world and we have a tide coming down the eastern shore reaching four knots, sometimes six at its narrowest point. It's quite a vulnerable area with a lot of tidal currents and swell. The danger part is when it turns into breaking water but I know now that there is another pair of eyes keeping a watch on me."

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NCI station manager Helen Simpson added: "The local kayak club, the fishermen, the harbour master, everybody encouraged us to go ahead with this project. This is not a substitute for a watchkeeper, it is an enhancement to our services.

"Lifeguard cover is only provided on the beaches between Easter and September so we are the only eyes along the coast at this time of year but now we can zoom in on a surfer, kayaker or paddleboarder and actually see what they're doing."

Pictured is John Wilson of the RNLI, kayaker Diane Warren, St Ives NCI station deputy manager John Farrell and station manager Helen Simpson at the NCI base in St Ives.

The new webcam was up and running for the busy Christmas and New Year holiday period and John Wilson, the RNLI community safety officer for St Ives Bay, believes that it will help cut the risk of accidents and potential loss of life in the area.

He said: "The RNLI initiative is to reduce the life lost by drowning each year by 50 per cent by 2024 and also, by proportion, the amount of serious incidents which go with it."

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The camera installation was made possible through the support of the Riviere Sands Holiday Park on Hayle Towans and a number of local organisations have given financial support. Hayle Town Council provided a grant and there were further donations from Asda, St Ives Masons, Diving and EOD Ltd and Skyarte.

 

Webcam Hayle Estuary - http://81.149.154.26:4272/GetData.cgi

Hayle Estuary, which can be treacherous with tidal currents and swells.

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