Felixstowe: Warning after dinghy rescue

COASTGUARDS today issued a warning about the use of inflatables on the sea after two teenagers had to be rescued when their craft was swept away.

The 14-year-olds, on a daytrip from Ipswich to enjoy an afternoon on the beach at Felixstowe, got into difficulties with the wind and tides.

The Harwich inshore lifeboat was launched at 4.30pm on Sunday to help the dinghy.

Gill Mason, of Ferry Road, Felixstowe, was at her beach hut near the Spa Pavilion when she saw the inflatable dinghy with the boys in it drifting out to sea and rang the emergency services.

“It was a chilling sight to see how quickly they drifted out – on an outgoing tide – but reassuring that the coastguards and lifeboat responded so quickly to pick them up,” she said.

“Although the beach was packed, no-one else saw them in the water and I was extremely glad I decided to ‘interfere’ and get help.”

Coastguard Ipswich sector manager Jo Arlow said inflatables must be tethered to the beach or a rock by a strong rope or fishing line.

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“You could still have 20 to 30 metres of line and bob about on the sea and enjoy yourself quite safely – if you felt a tug and it was tight you could pull yourself back in closer to shore,” he said.

“No amount of paddling will stop you if the inflatable is caught by the wind and tide.

“These boys were lucky someone saw them in time.”

An RNLI spokesman said the craft was about half a mile from the beach without paddles or any lifejackets.