Burnham-on-Sea RNLI volunteer crews were paged by Milford Haven Coastguard after a small 8ft rubber dinghy was spotted making out to sea at Brean. Burnham’s D Class lifeboat Burnham Reach was speedily launched and the crew proceeded to the casualty area. The station’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat Doris Day and Brian was also launched to provide support.
The rubber dinghy was quickly spotted, about a mile out from the beach and a half-mile south of Brean Down. When challenged, the three adult male occupants of the dinghy said they were trying to paddle to the nearby Steepholm Island. The tide was approaching low water with calm conditions, so the journey had not looked hazardous to the occupants.
The dinghy was not a seaworthy design plus the occupants were scantily clad and not wearing lifejackets. Suitable advice was delivered by the volunteer crew to the casualties who were placed on board the lifeboat, with their craft, before being transported to Brean beach and the arms of a waiting Coastguard rescue team.
RNLI Helmsman Nick Prout said; ‘ They did not think they were in danger, but were poorly equipped without lifejackets, and in a completely unseaworthy craft. We transported them to the rocks, and two of our crew assisted their passage across the rocks to the waiting Coastguard rescue team on the beach, where no doubt they were given further safety advice. Standard safety advice is always to wear a lifejacket, ensure your craft is seaworthy, and thoroughly investigate local conditions before making to sea. They were very lucky to have been rescued’. ‘Mission completed, we were stood down by Milford Haven and returned to Burnham-on-Sea for a muddy wash-down by our shore crew volunteers.’