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At 10h57, Sunday, 7 August, NSRI Hout Bay duty crew were activated following reports of paddlers on sea-kayaks in difficulty in the Bay of Hout Bay.

A family member of two of the paddlers raised the alarm after receiving a call at home from them. They were saying that a group of them were being swept out to sea in Hout Bay.

At the same time eye-witnesses raised the alarm.

While our duty crew were responding to the NSRI base it was confirmed by an NSRI Hout Bay coxswain, who could see the paddlers from a vantage point on land, that off-shore wind speeds had suddenly increased in Hout Bay and this was causing the paddlers to being suddenly swept further out to sea and they appeared to be struggling to paddle against the strong winds.

The NSRI Hout Bay sea rescue craft Rotary Onwards was launched.

NSRI Kommetjie, at sea at the time conducting routine exercises, diverted their sea rescue craft Spirit of the Vines and IL Batello and responded to assist NSRI Hout Bay.

A call from the 112 emergency call centre and from the Hout Bay Yacht Club (HBYC) Commodore was then received by NSRI Hout Bay and they had received additional reports that paddlers were in difficulty in Hout Bay.

The HBYC Commodore also confirmed that their HBYC rowing boat Leopard was at sea in the vicinity with 5 crew onboard and they were going to try to help the paddlers.

NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) began searching for the casualty sea-kayakers on our NSRI RSA SafeTrx monitoring screens.

Shortly after that information was received from the HBYC Commodore reporting that their rowing boat Leopard and her 5 crew were in difficulty themselves in the strong winds and they were being swept towards rocks near to the Tintswalo Atlantic Hotel.

We informed the HBYC Commodore to request their HBYC rowing boat crew to deploy their anchor in an effort to try to prevent them from being washed onto the rocks and it was confirmed that they had deployed an anchor.

NSRI Hout Bay duty controller requested NSRI Kommetjie's sea rescue craft to go to the aid of the HBYC rowing boat while the NSRI Hout Bay sea rescue craft responded to search for the paddlers who were in distress.

It then came to the attention of NSRI that the private ski-boat Nautikitten, who were departing out of Hout Bay Harbour while all of this was unfolding, had come across the paddlers and they rescued 3 paddlers (2 females and 1 male) and they recovered their 2 sea-kayaks and they brought those casualties to Hout Bay where they required no further assistance.

It was about at this stage that the earlier sudden increase in wind speeds suddenly died down to a gentle breeze.

NSRI believe that another 3 sea-kayakers, who had been in distress, had managed to paddle safely to shore without assistance and they were safe.

All of the paddlers were accounted for and safe.

During this time NSRI Kommetjie's sea rescue craft reached the HBYC rowing boat Leopard finding them close to the rocks on the shoreline. Their anchor that they had earlier deployed prevented them from being swept ashore.

In strong onshore winds NSRI Kommetjie crew cut and released their anchor line and took them under tow and managed to get them a safe distance away from the rocky shoreline.

Our NSRI Hout Bay sea rescue craft rendezvoused with the NSRI Kommetjie sea rescue craft and we transferred 3 of the casualty crew onto our sea rescue craft and brought them to our NSRI Hout Bay rescue base where they were treated for hypothermia.

These 2 ladies and 1 man were released following treatment for hypothermia as they required no further medical attention.

NSRI kommetjie towed the row boat Leopard to HBYC with the remaining 2 crewmen onboard and once at HBYC they required no further assistance.

NSRI commend all of those who raised the alarm and we commend the skipper and crew of Nautikitten for their assistance.

NSRI are appealing to boaters, paddlers and sailors to download and use the free NSRI RSA SafeTrx mobile app.

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