No activity, be it water based or land based, can be totally risk free. However, we do our best to provide you with the best equipment and knowledge so that you can enjoy your time on the water in the safest way possible. Either on the kayaks or on the RIB.
The kayaks are virtually unsinkable and will float when fully swamped. You will be provided with a Crewsaver buoyancy aid correctly fitted for your size. These are tested each year in accordance with BCU (British Canoe Union) guidelines to ensure they retain their buoyancy. A visual check is also carried out to make sure there is no adverse wear and tear. A record is kept of all testing.
The kayaks are inherently stable, that's not to say you won't fall in if you try hard enough! Being sit-on kayaks you will not be trapped inside. Either re-board the kayak or swim to the shore, which you should never be far from. You will be provided with a dry bag so you can take a mobile 'phone with you. You will also have a simple chart of the area. Take a look at the Kayak Guidelines, Conditions of Hire and Kayaking Chart pages for further information.
Paramour is a 6.5 metre (21ft) RIB (rigid inflatable boat). She was hand built new in 2010 by XS RIBs in the UK. XS are renowned for their build quality and have boats in service with many commercial organisations around the world, such as Coastguard, Navy, Police and many sailing schools and powerboat training centres (St Mawes Sailing Club have an XS). She is powered by a bullet proof Yamaha outboard (new for 2012), whose 150hp is more than enough to get her out of any situation. The engine is serviced by DL Marine, the local Yamaha main dealer, every 100 hours, winterised and prepared again before each season. She is rated at Cat B which is: Winds up to and including force 8 with a wave height up to and including 4 metres! I will not be taking you out in that, but it's good to know the capability is there.
She has all the necessary equipment on board specified by Cornwall Council's Head of Maritime. This includes: lifebuoys, rescue throwing line, first aid kit, flares, fire extinguishers, tool kit, navigation lights, VHF radio, GPS, compass, anchor and lifejackets for all on board. These jackets are of the automatic gas inflation type. As the name suggests, they inflate automatically should you enter the water wearing one. These jackets are expensive and must be tested every year under the maufacturers guidelines. A record is kept of the testing. The jackets we use are all made by Crewsaver, who also supply the RNLI.
Each lifejacket is equipped with an emergency toggle which should only be pulled in the rare event that automatic inflation fails, a mouthpiece for oral inflation, a whistle and a SOLAS (safety of life at sea) approved strobe light for use at night. This is activated by pulling the switch on the light downwards once the lifejacket has inflated.
(As re-arming a lifejacket is costly and time consuming, a £40 fee is payable if a lifejacket is deliberately activated when the wearer is not in danger)
We insist that lifejackets are worn at all times when Paramour leaves the confines of St. Mawes Harbour, i.e: travels faster than 8 knots. Anyone refusing to wear a lifejacket will not be carried.
Persons of a frail disposition, or those suffering from a condition likely to be worsened by high speed manoeuvres and sudden jolting should email or call for advice. You may still be able to have a trip on Paramour, however speed and course may have to be modified depending on conditions prevailing on the day.
I hope the above answers any safety concerns you may have. Please feel free to ask any questions on any aspect of your kayaking or RIB experience.