Burnham-On-Sea Coastguards were called out to help a first-time sailor who got into difficulty on the town’s beach on Sunday (May 15th) as he tried to launch his boat for the first time.

Coastguards were called out at 1.45pm after a call from the Jetty Attendant reporting a man with a VW transporter was unsuccessfully trying to launch his boat next to the slipway.

“The vehicle was becoming trapped in mud and sand with an incoming tide,” said a Burnham Coastguard spokesman.

“There was concern for the boat owner and his vehicle. Our team arrived on scene just after he was towed out by a 4×4 owner and recovered to a safe place.”

“It was decided that some of our team should speak to him and issue safety advice if needed.”

“It was discovered that the person had purchased the boat on Saturday and had no previous experience in using a boat.”

“After a quick visual inspection it was found his winch was not working and his jockey wheel was broken. He had also asked the Jetty Attendant to tune his VHF radio as he didn’t know how to and did not know that the tide time changes every day.”

“This is a classic example of an under-prepared and under skilled water user. Safety is vital when out on the water as if you don’t know how to use your equipment such as VHF radios etc then you are potentially putting yourself and others in danger.”

“Always check you have the right equipment and know how to use it – luckily this person didn’t manage to launch and had a narrow escape from the incoming tide in which he could have lost his van too.”

“If you purchase a boat but are unsure of using it and the safety equipment properly speak to your local RNLI station as they will be able to give a full run down of do’s and don’ts that will keep you safe. If you see someone if difficulty along the coastline, dial 999 and ask for the coastguards.”

Also paged, but not used on this occasion, were BARB Search & Rescue and Burnham RNLI.