The golfers’ alertness was praised after alerting emergency services and allowing a distressed kayaker to be rescued near Old Head of Kinsale.
The lone kayaker was rescued from the water near Old Head Lighthouse after golfers noticed he was in distress after his kayak capsized in rough seas.
The Courtmacsherry All Weather Trent Class RNLI Lifeboat was called into action after the alarm was sounded at 5:45 p.m. Friday evening by the Valentia Marine Rescue Coordination Center.
The Waterford Coast Guard 117 Rescue Helicopter was also assigned during the rescue operation, as was the Old Head / Seven Heads Coast Guard Unit.
An RNLI statement said the kayaker left the Speckled Gate Pier earlier in the afternoon and walked through the passage at Hole-Open and was attempting to bypass the lighthouse when the weather deteriorated and the ‘he was thrown from the kayak and was unable to re-mount due to the heavy swells.
Arriving in the area at 6:14 p.m., two of the crew, Ken Cashman and Donal Young, used the lifeboat’s small rubber dinghy to cross the rocky cove below the lighthouse and pull the victim out of the water.
The man was returned to the main lifeboat where he was assessed and warmed up after a “very frightening ordeal”. Unfortunately, the kayak could not be recovered and all of her personal belongings, including her cell phone and keys, were left “at the mercy of the sea”.
The conditions at sea on Friday night were four-meter swells and a strong westerly wind. The victim was then brought to Courtmacsherry Pontoon and was “very happy to be on safe land again”.
The station crew and officers further assessed him at Station House and provided him with a change of clothes and hot drinks before the station officers could bring him back to meet his friends.
Courtmacsherry RNLI manager Brian O Dwyer said the crew were “so relieved the kayaker was rescued so quickly in rough seas off Old Head”.
He also praised the Old Head golfers for “making a quick call to 999 when they realized something was wrong”.