AN RNLI lifeguard is to be awarded one of the rescue service’s highest honours following a daring rescue in very rough seas at Sandsend last year.
Lifeguard supervisor Shaun Messruther, from Scarborough, is to be awarded the Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum after saving the life of a semi-conscious kayaker.
Lifeguards Daniel Wordsworth, Calum Norman and three members of Whitby’s RNLI lifeboat crew - helmsman Hugh Ramsden and crew members Jamie White and Steven Boocock - will also be recognised for the part they played in the rescue on 30 August 2011.
RNLI lifeguard inspector Darren Lewis said: “This was a challenging rescue and the lifeguards and lifeboat crew worked well together in very difficult conditions to ensure this man was saved.
“Shaun’s high fitness level, local knowledge and expertise in the surf all contributed to the positive outcome of the service.
“If he had not risked his own life then the casualty would most certainly have drowned.”
Mr Messruther was on a routine patrol at around 12.30pm when he was informed that a kayaker was in difficulty.
He used a rescue board to paddle out 100m from the shore through large breaking waves to reach the man, who was holding on to his kayak.
A buoyancy aid was keeping his head partially out of the water but, on reaching him, Shaun realised he had inhaled a lot of water and was only partially conscious.
With difficulty, Mr Messruther was able to manhandle the casualty on to his rescue board, a task made extremely difficult due to the casualty’s physical state and the very rough sea conditions.
The lifeguard was being pushed to his physical limits but climbed onto the board behind the casualty and started paddling with his arms in order to return to shore through the heavy surf.
When the inshore lifeboat arrived on the scene, the crew entered the surfline and reached the lifeguard at the third attempt.
The casualty was handed over to the RNLI crewmen, while Mr Messruther paddled back to shore, where he took charge of the lifeguard team.
After being brought to the beach, the kayaker was administered oxygen and transferred to the lifeguard patrol vehicle and then an ambulance, which took him to hospital.
The inshore lifeboat then re-launched from the beach through the surf, where they encountered several large broken swells and almost capsized.
One of the crew was thrown to the stern of the boat by the force of this wave and the crew suffered multiple minor strains and sprains.