An Irish Coast Guard helicopter and RNLI lifeboats had to be dispatched after a commercial kayaking company disregarded Met Éireann forecasts, an investigation has found.

The kayak company, which is not named, went ahead with a trip from Bulloch Harbour to Dalkey on 13 September 2020, despite a Small Craft Warning.

The group included inexperienced participants who were trying to paddle against the wind.

The kayak company organiser told investigators that she did not follow "traditional" sources, such as Met Éireann or the Dublin Bay Buoy, and preferred other services, such as and

Three separate 999 calls were made by members of the public to Marine Rescue, as two of the kayaks were observed drifting off course towards Dublin Port in challenging conditions.

One of the kayakers in this group capsized three times and swallowed sea water, as three instructors tried to help her during an incident that went on for 40 minutes.

"The participant recalled being terrified, not being able to speak and having to try to attract the attention of the instructors by waving her hands," the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) report stated.

This group of three people in two kayaks were taken aboard by a fishing boat with an outboard motor whose owner had heard about the emergency.

Irish Coast Guard helicopter (file pic)

The rescue helicopter and lifeboats had arrived as this stage, while all three instructors were now helping the smaller group.

The company organiser paddled out to the larger group of nine kayakers to bring them ashore near Loreto College, but she said the participants were in danger because of the rescue services, not the conditions.

"My concern for their safety had nothing to do with my tour or the conditions.

"It was caused in its entirety by the disruption to their equilibrium with the sudden and unnecessary arrival in our space of the ICG Search and Rescue helicopter, the RNLI ALB and the ILB life boats and the ICG land-based vehicle," she stated in emails to investigators.

"The approaching tsunami of rescue services swarming around my guests suggested an urgent and imminent danger where none existed."

An Irish Coast Officer asked the group that had made it ashore to rocks to wait for the lifeboats, but the company organiser told the group to climb over the rocks.

View of Dalkey (file pic)

She told investigators that there had not been any emergency, no-one was drifting in danger and there was no "incident".

She criticised the Irish Coast Guard officer who met them on the rocks, saying: "He alarmed my group of guests by undermining my authority as their group leader and shouting/ordering me to 'stand down'."

The organiser failed to provide records, including the names of the participants and instructors, as well as their experience and qualifications following the incident.

The MCIB report concluded that the trip should not have taken place and that weather warnings were disregarded.

It recommended that the Department of Transport and Canoeing Ireland should consider tighter oversight and controls of safety standards for commercial providers of coastal sea and river paddle facilities.