A high spring tide launch in blustery conditions for Looe RNLI volunteer crews to investigate an unoccupied paddleboard drifting in Looe river.

The high spring tide in Looe yesterday afternoon, Wednesday 27 September 2023, coincided with blustery sea conditions as Storm Agnes passed over Cornwall and the South West. A member of the public on West Looe Quay spotted an unoccupied paddleboard drifting up river under the bridge. She was aware of a person using a paddleboard in the river earlier in the afternoon and rang Falmouth MRCC on 999 as she was worried something had happened to them. At 3.33pm crew pagers sounded requesting an immediate launch of the charity’s D Class inshore lifeboat Ollie Naismith II. Launching within seven minutes helm Dan Margetts with crew Dave Jackman, Toby Bray and Matt Jaycock headed upriver to investigate and locate the paddleboard. Concerned that someone may had fallen off the paddleboard further down river our lifeboat operations manager, Dave Haines authorised the launch of the Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II. Helmed by Clive Palfrey, crew members Jack Spree, Aaron Rix and Goron Jones searched the lower river, East Looe beach and Hannafore before returning to the river to start searching in between the moored boats below the bridge. Shortly afterwards, Dave received a phone call from one of our deputy launch authorities, Brain Bowdler, who had recovered the paddleboard by Pearn’s boatyard on the Millpool. The owner of the paddleboard was quickly identified and found to be safe and well onshore, it transpired that in the strong winds, strappings on a moored boat had given way and the paddleboard, with a wake board had blown into the river. The lifeboats were stood down and returned to station where they were recovered by head launcher Simon Rawe, tractor driver Eric Candy supported by shore crew Will Jaycock, Del Palfrey, Paul Barley, Jonty Wearing and Stuart Haresnape.

Dave Haines commented that the crew responded in good numbers to the pager and the first informant did the right thing in contacting the coastguards to report her concerns.