A LIFEGUARD supervisor from Scarborough is to be awarded one of the RNLI’s highest honours – the Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum – after saving the life of a kayaker last year.
Shaun Messruther, 40, 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, Mr Messruther realised he had inhaled a lot of water and was very poorly.
He managed 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.
He climbed onto the board behind the man and started paddling with his arms in order to return to shore through the heavy surf but at this point the inshore lifeboat arrived.
The heavy surf made it difficult for the lifeboat to reach them but, on the third attempt, the crew managed to recover the man into the lifeboat, taking him back to shore.
Mr Messruther made his own way back to the beach, where he took charge of the lifeguard team.
They administered first aid and then transferred the casualty by truck to the slipway, where an ambulance was waiting to take the man to hospital.
The lifeboat launched from the beach to return to station but encountered several large broken waves and almost capsized. Lifeguards Daniel Wordsworth and Calum Norman and three members of Whitby RNLI lifeboat crew – helmsman Hugh Ramsden and crew members Jamie White and Stephen Boocock – will also be recognised for the part they played in the rescue on August 30 last year.
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.”