NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Sister of kayaker who died backs RNLI safety campaign

Dominic Jackson Image copyright Jackson family
Image caption Dominic Jackson died in February

The sister of a kayaker whose body was found after a major search operation has backed a safety initiative for other kayakers by the RNLI.

Dominic Jackson, 35, was reported missing after leaving from Portsoy in Aberdeenshire in early February.

His kayak was found near Lybster in Caithness and his body was later found in the same area.

Ellie Jackson is calling on kayakers to keep their phone somewhere they can access it quickly at sea.

Mr Jackson - originally from Uckfield in East Sussex but who later moved to Fettercairn in Aberdeenshire - was wearing a buoyancy aid.

However, he was unable to call for help when he got into difficulty because his phone was stored in his kayak in a place he could not access while paddling.

'Extra steps'

His sister said: "Dom was always adventurous and very fit so was keen to take up sea kayaking.

"It was very hard to know that he was out there somewhere and there was nothing I could do about getting him back.

"I will be forever grateful to the brave and wonderful people who helped to find him.

"I wouldn't want anyone else to go through what our family have been through.

"I want people to learn from Dom's death and understand that taking a few extra steps before going on the water can make the difference between life and death."

Image copyright Jackson family
Image caption Dominic Jackson's kayak, pictured previously

RNLI community safety manager Jon Oxenham said: "We are very grateful to have Ellie's support with our safety campaign to try and prevent kayakers from getting into the potentially life-threatening situation of being in the water but having no way of calling for help.

"Our lifeboat volunteers and lifeguards are there to help, but we can't come to the rescue if we don't know you're in trouble."

He explained: "Our advice for kayakers is to always carry a means of calling for help, and keep it on you at all times when you're kayaking.

"This means that if you capsize and get into trouble, you can call for help and increase your chances of survival.

"Remember also to wear a personal floatation device (buoyancy aid) and check the weather and tides before you go out.

"Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back, and get the appropriate training or experience so you can enjoy your time on the water and stay safe."

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