Kayak company attacks Loch Lomond patrons over security concerns

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THE boss of a kayaking company said staff at Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park were not doing enough to keep visitors safe while on the water.

Paul Richardson, owner of Calamity Kayaking, says he was ignored when he asked a ranger to advise visitors to put on a buoyancy aid.

Under Loch Lomond regulations, visitors must ensure their vessel is carrying enough lifejackets or buoyancy aids for everyone on board.

The kayaking instructor recently reunited with The Inghams family on YouTube after posting footage showing their children, aged three to 15, playing on paddleboards across the loch without a safety vest or proper buoyancy gear.

In an email to national park officials, Paul said: “I am very unhappy with something that has happened on your loch and I have the impression that the ground staff are not telling people to put buoyancy aids.

“Friday I was paddling around Inchcailloch with friends and could see people without buoyancy aids.

“As [ranger service manager] Leigh Hamilton asked me not to worry people about this, I asked a member of staff to have a word.

“So while my friends were walking around, I watched the staff member not pull people up.

“I felt it was wrong, and it’s not the first time I’ve seen this on the pitch.”

It comes after Calamity Kayaking denounced another family on social media for taking a baby on a paddleboard without a life jacket.

Paul added, “On Friday I had to step in and have a guy get out of the water because he had a three month old baby strapped to his chest. the right thing to do.

“I think the staff on the ground need to do more to keep people up to date with buoyancy aids.”

A spokesperson for Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park said only national park rangers and Scottish police are authorized to enforce Loch Lomond regulations.

Kenny Auld, Loch Lomond Visitor Services and Trossachs National Park Authority Manager, said: “We place the highest importance on water safety and are working hard to help people benefit from the plans of the national park in the safest and most responsible manner possible.

“Our rangers patrol the terrain and Loch Lomond daily, covering a large area, speaking to thousands of visitors to provide advice and information and, if necessary, to take enforcement action.

“They have extensive training and experience in positive engagement with people to influence behavior.

“We appreciate concerns about people not following water safety advice and welcome sharing appropriate messages.

“However, only our National Park rangers and the Scottish Police are authorized to enforce the Loch Lomond Decree and anyone else attempting to do so, or being perceived to be doing so, is potentially putting themselves in danger, so we would always discourage them. .

“Concerns about water safety should always be reported to National Park rangers at Duncan Mills Memorial Slipway.”

The Balloch launch slipway ranger team can be reached on 01389 722030.

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