Burnham-On-Sea Coastguards and an RNLI lifeboat were called to a dinghy “reported to be in difficulty” at Brean Down on Thursday (February 4th).
The small paddle-powered boat, pictured here, had been seen leaving Brean beach for a fishing trip with two occupants onboard not wearing lifejackets.
Burnham-On-Sea Coastguards were called to investigate and they called on Weston RNLI’s lifeboats to assist.
A Burnham Coastguard spokesman says: “Our pagers were activated by the Coastguard Operations Centre (CGOC) when they received 999 calls expressing concerns for two people who were out in a dinghy just off of Brean Beach.”
“They had ventured out in their inflatable craft earlier in the day using nothing but paddle power and the keen-eyed members of public were quick to realise they could be in difficulty once the tide turns.”
“Our team were sent along to investigate and get a visual of the two and to ascertain if they were in need of any assistance or were making moves to come back in before needing any intervention.”
“As the team were watching on it was becoming clear that there were concerns for their safety. We could see that they were not wearing lifejackets and with the tide turning and no engines we didn’t want to leave it too late before intervening.”
“We were quickly on the radio to request a lifeboat to assist us and our flank team from Weston-Super-Mare Coastguard Rescue Team were also requested as we needed a few extra hands to see the boat users into safety.”
“As the tide receded the two were getting a good work out paddling against it to reach the shore. Weston RNLI’s Lifeboat was quick to arrive and made initial contact with them and after a brief chat they stood off at a safe distance to ensure they got back to shore safely where they were met by Coastguards and given some safety advice.”
“We gave them some safety advice which included making sure they had the right equipment. They had lifejackets on board but were not wearing them.”
“Having them is great but if you fall in the water and you’re not wearing it then it’s too late! Please ensure you wear them at all times when using watercraft. Ensure you have a means of emergency contact, either a VHF radio or Mobile Phone.”
“These two weren’t in immediate danger but there was potential for it to unravel quickly with the outgoing tide, the bad weather, no engines, not wearing lifejackets. As a precaution, we escalated the incident to ensure everyone got back safely. Well done to the members of public who phoned the incident in, a very good call.”
A Weston RNLI spokesman added: “The pagers were sounded at 11.30am at the request of HM Coastguard to investigate reports of a small fishing boat reported to be in difficulty at Brean Down, possibly struggling against the tide with no engine.”
“The RNLI volunteers assembled at the station and launched both lifeboats from Knightstone Harbour. The Atlantic 75 lifeboat arrived on scene first and spoke with the two occupants. It was quickly determined that the D-class lifeboat was not required and the crew were stood down to return to station.”
“The Atlantic 75 lifeboat crew stayed on scene while the small boat was assisted back to the safety of the beach where safety advice was given by the crew.”
“Always check the tides before setting off on any journey afloat, or when visiting the sea. It is important to carry a communications device in a waterproof pouch to be able to call for assistance if required.”
Pictured: The scene at Brean on Thursday (Photos Burnham-On-Sea.com / Burnham Coastguard)