Eagle-eyed local skippers raised the alarm after he the sea swimmer was spotted in difficulty off Rillage.

The swimmer is helped on to the Ilfracombe inshore lifeboat. Picture: Lundy Diving.The swimmer is helped on to the Ilfracombe inshore lifeboat. Picture: Lundy Diving.

Ilfracombe RNLI inshore lifeboat rescued a sea swimmer on Saturday morning in dangerous waters off Rillage Point.

The man had begun his swim from Hele Bay, but was spotted in difficulty by local charter fishing boat Kingfisher, whose skipper Paul raised the alarm.

As luck would have it, RNLI mechanic Leigh Hanks was out in his dive boat Obsession II and was able to use his purpose-built vessel pick up the casualty, who was uninjured, and transfer him to the lifeboat.

“Being set up as a diving vessel, on board Obsession II we had the perfect kit to lift the casualty from the water,” said Leigh.

“As he was spotted by Kingfisher, who stood by him as we arrived, I think this was a great team effort from the charter boats at assisting the RNLI.”

Inshore lifeboat helmsman Matt Simpson added: “The casualty was lucky he had been spotted so soon.

“Despite having done some sea swimming before, he was unfamiliar with our waters and did not realise Rillage Point can be unpredictable and dangerous to swim around.

“That being said, this situation has been resolved with the best outcome, and that is all that we at Ilfracombe RNLI can ask for.”

The man was returned to Hele Bay where he was met by the coastguard.