It was just after three in the afternoon when the beach rangers in Weston noticed a dinghy drifting about a mile out to sea from Weston’s Grand Pier. They tried to attract the attention of the people on board to no avail so asked the Coastguard to call out the Lifeboat.
The D Class lifeboat Anna Stock was launched within minutes of the crew pagers sounding even though the crew were at their day jobs.
The casualty could be seen from the launch site at Knightstone Harbour so the lifeboat sped over to find two young men on board, oblivious that they were out of control and at the mercy of the very strong tides. They claimed they had been out in the sea for three hours. The dinghy was a simple blow up one bought on the sea front. They had no proper life saving equipment on board and had not realised how far it was to their intended destination of Steep Holm Island.
They were transferred to the lifeboat and it became apparent the dinghy was leaking and in danger of sinking. The two men were brought ashore by the lifeboat and checked over at the RNLI Temporary station at Knightstone. They were then handed over to the coastguard.
Liam McDermott, the helmsman of the Weston D Class lifeboat said;’ These young men were very lucky. Not only were they being carried out to sea by the tides but their dinghy was completely unsafe for the Bristol Channel. Also it was sinking and if we had not got to them they would have ended up struggling in the water. We want people to enjoy the water, particularly in this hot weather, but take care. Dehydration sets in very easily and the sea is much colder than one might think, particularly offshore. Only use good quality craft if going on the sea, make sure you have lifejackets and a means do calling for help.’