Lifeboat resolves dinghy drama

SIDMOUTH Lifeboat was called to a dinghy in distress on Monday, July 26.

The lifeboat was launched at 3.30pm to help an outboard powered Mirror dingy, which had broken down off Salcombe Regis and requested help via mobile phone. While en route, the crew spotted the vessel 1.5 miles offshore and rapidly approaching the horizon due to the offshore wind.

With no sails or mast, the two dinghy crew, from Sidmouth, had tried to paddle ashore after the engine failed, but were being blown further and further out to sea.

Lifeboat PR officer Mark Roden said: “They were drifting quite quickly offshore and much further out than the coastguard had anticipated. If we hadn’t have found them so quickly, the coastguard would’ve had to scale up the search and rescue operation.”

The pair were taken on board the lifeboat, and the dinghy was towed back to Port Royal beach where lifeboat shore crew and coastguard were waiting.

Mr Roden said: “They were safe and well, if a little sheepish as the coastguard gave safety advice about the dangers of going to sea without lifejackets, flares or VHF radio.”

Lifeboat Helm Phil Shepperd said “Unlike mobile phones, VHF radios are not subject to reception black spots, and can be located by coastguard direction-finding masts”.