Mike Vonk, NSRI Wilderness duty controller, said:
At 17h05, Sunday, 20th May, NSRI Wilderness duty crew were alerted by public members concerned for their friend who they suspected may be in difficulty at sea while paddling off-shore of Wilderness.
The local paddler, described by his friends as an experienced and a regular paddler, he had launched at Wilderness leaving his car next to his friends house, they had watched him go out to deep-sea but they had lost sight of him and they knew he had no life-jacket, no communications device, no distress signalling devices with him and he had told no one of his intentions and they were concerned that he might be in some kind of difficulty and they had decided to raise the alarm.
NSRI Wilderness duty crew, in fading light, prepared to launch sea rescue craft to initiate a night search operation.
At 18h00 a friend of the man received a call from the paddler. He confirmed that he was safe in Victoria Bay and that he had managed to arrange a lift back to his car.
The local man confirmed that on launching at 15h45 he had found surf conditions to be bigger than expected, he headed further out to sea than what he initially intended and then although he had not initially intended to he headed towards Victoria Bay where he came ashore and he called friends who told him that the NSRI had been alerted and he confirmed that he was safely ashore.
The man was grateful for his friends concerns.
NSRI are urging paddlers, boaters and sail boarders to download and use the NSRI RSA SafeTrx free phone application.
We also encourage anyone launching any kind of craft onto water to let a responsible person know their launch time, launch site, planned intentions (stick to your plans), and your estimated return time. Check-in with the responsible person on your safe return.
Have sea rescue emergency numbers programmed into your phone and have an emergency plan coordinated with your responsible person if you do not return at the time expected.
Wear a life-jacket, have communications devices fully charged and in water tight plastic holders, carry, and know how to use, red distress flares.
NSRI also encourage paddlers to paddle in groups of at least 3 paddlers.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE