July 19, 2016
Burnham-On-Sea lifeboat called to swimmer close to town's jetty

A new lifeboat helmsman in Burnham-On-Sea was called to check on a swimmer during his first launch.

Matt Edwards was onboard Burnham's D-Class lifeboat Puffin on Monday evening when he was carrying out a sequence of routine manoeuvres as part of his assessment to become an RNLI helmsman.

He was just about to recover back at Burnham jetty when Milford Haven Coastguard tasked the lifeboat crew to investigate reports of a swimmer in difficulties.

Apparently, a well-meaning member of public had seen the swimmer far out from the beach, assumed he was in trouble because of the outgoing tide, and called the Coastguard.

Matt started a search pattern and located the swimmer near to Burnham’s number two navigation buoy. It transpired that the swimmer was not in difficulty and was in fact well used to long distance swimming.

Matt withdrew, kept a weather eye on the swimmer for a good ten minutes to confirm his competence, and then returned to the beach for recovery and wash-down by the shore team.

RNLI Inspector Paul Eastment said: "The swimmer was intercepted by No 2 buoy. We spoke with him to ensure he was OK, and he insisted he was quite capable of swimming back to shore. We monitored his progress for a while, and he was obviously a competent strong swimmer, so we returned to the beach for recovery."

Station Deputy Launch Authority Lyndon Baker said : "Well done to Matt on his first shout as a helm. Thanks to all that helped launch and recover."

Photo: Ian Brown took this image of the lifeboat and swimmer during the incident.

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