Search for Dinghy
Exmouth RNLI were tasked by Portland Coastguards on Sunday 6th June to search for a missing dinghy with two persons on board. Sidmouth Independent Rescue boat and the RAF rescue helicopter R-167 from Chivenor also joined in the search.
The two men, from Exeter, had gone out on their dinghy at around 12 noon, launching from Budleigh Salterton. As they had only about two hours worth of fuel, a friend became concerned when they had not returned some hours later and raised the alarm.
Both Exmouth RNLI lifeboats launched at 4.20pm. The inshore lifeboat George Bearman carried out a shoreline search and the all weather lifeboat Margaret Jean carried out a parallel search a mile out to sea. The dinghy was spotted approximately 3.2 miles off Sidmouth, by one of Exmouth’s newest lifeboat members Andy Williams. Andy was on his first shout with Exmouth lifeboat and managed to spot the small 11 ft dinghy, approximately two miles away from the lifeboat.
Roger Jackson, lifeboatman at Exmouth RNLI said; “The sea conditions were slight to moderate and the winds picking up from force 3-4 to occasional 5. Visibility was getting difficult so they were very fortunate to have been spotted. Their boat was drifting rapidly out to sea and it could so easily have ended in tragedy.”
The two men were relieved to be found and had been trying to row against the tide and wind but finding they were unable to make any progress. One of the men described his arms as feeling like jelly. They had no means of communication and were only wearing buoyancy aids, not lifejackets.
The volunteer crew took the men and dinghy on board the lifeboat, and returned them to Exmouth lifeboat station where anxious relatives were waiting for them.
Roger Jackson added: “Hindsight is a wonderful thing but we do urge all boat users to carry some form of contacting the emergency services, ideally a VHF radio and flares.”