Lifeboat rescues dad and son as fishing trip almost ends in disaster

Lifeboat at sea

Ilfracombe lifeboat - Credit: Neil Perrin

A dad and son's fishing trip off a North Devon beach almost ended in disaster.

The Ilfracombe RNLI all-weather lifeboat was paged just after 3.30pm.on Sunday 8 August after a report to the Coastguard of an inflatable dinghy in difficulty near Watermouth Cove.

The alarm was raised by a member of the public when they saw two people in the dinghy, attempting to row against the tide, being swept out of Watermouth Harbour and along the coast eastwards towards Combe Martin.

The Ilfracombe Coastguard Search and Rescue team were in the area patrolling and were tasked by the Coastguard to locate and check on the dinghy. The team confirmed the dinghy was in difficulty and the RNLI lifeboat was tasked to assist.

The volunteer crew quickly launched the station’s Barry and Peggy High Foundation lifeboat. It soon spotted the dinghy at Wild Pear beach approximately one mile beyond Combe Martin.

As the lifeboat arrived on scene, the dinghy entered the surf line next to the beach and capsized. The two people onboard were tipped out into the water and washed on to the beach.

The lifeboat manoeuvred the lifeboat as close to the beach as possible for a crew member to enter the water and swim ashore to check on the casualties.

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The two people, a man and his son, were unharmed and were wearing wetsuits. They explained that they had been trying to go fishing in the two- metre long, child’s inflatable dinghy when they realised that they would be unable to row against the tide and the wind.

The lifeboat crew floated a line to the crew member who secured it to the front of the dinghy. The man and his son then climbed back into the dinghy and were pulled clear of the surf into open water with the crew member holding on to the back of the dinghy.

The dinghy was pulled alongside the lifeboat, and the man and his son taken aboard. The crew member was then recovered, and the dinghy pulled onboard. The lifeboat then made its way to Watermouth Cove.


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