Drunk man ‘trying to win bet’ rescued after inflatable drifts out to sea

The beach patrol team at Clacton, where the drunk man was rescued in his inflatable. Picture: TENDRI

The beach patrol team at Clacton, where the drunk man was rescued in his inflatable. Picture: TENDRING DISTRCIT COUNCIL - Credit: TENDRING DISTRCIT COUNCIL

A drunk man whose inflatable drifted a third of a mile out to sea at Clacton after “trying to win a bet” had to be rescued by the beach patrol team.

Seafront rescuers were deployed at 5.15pm yesterday after receiving three 999 calls with concern for the man, who was battling in vain against the waves.

Upon reaching the man the jet ski team realised he was intoxicated and learned he had been attempting to row out to a marker buoy after a bet, said Tendring District Council (TDC).

The council said he was part of a group of Londoners who had all been drinking at a beach hut.

Beach Patrol returned the man safely to shore as he would have been unable to paddle back, after staff stayed on past their shift end of 5pm due to the seafront being particularly busy.

The council does not usually operate beach patrol in term times, but is running extra coverage in recognition of the coast’s popularity during partial lockdown and with the recent good weather.

Alex Porter, TDC cabinet member for leisure and tourism, praised the efforts of the beach patrol team.

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He said: “Our Beach Patrol teams do sterling work every summer season, responding to all sorts of incidents along our coastline.

“Sadly rescuing inebriated people who foolishly think they are stronger than the tide is nothing new for the team.

“However, this misadventure – a third of a mile out to sea on an inflatable – was particularly dangerous, and at a time when public and emergency services are stretched dealing with Covid-19.

“I hope this serves as a warning to everyone to take the sea seriously; and that alcohol and the sea do not mix well.”

Nick Ayers, RNLI water safety lead for the north and east, said: “The recent easing of lockdown restrictions has brought with it a huge rise in coastal activity and increased the onus on everyone to take responsibility for their own safety.

“That’s why we’re repeating our message to please leave inflatables at home, look out for your family at all times and have a plan that includes checking the weather forecast, tide times and beach safety signs.

“And most importantly, if you or someone you see is in difficulty, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

People who do decide to use inflatables at the coastline – which is not recommended by Coastguard, the RNLI or TDC – should use a line to anchor them to the shore, should not go too far out, and should be mindful of the tides.

If people do find themselves being swept out to sea, they should stay with the inflatable and shout for help, waving arms if possible. Do not attempt to swim for shore if out of depth. Ideally make sure that someone ashore is keeping an eye on you.

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