Coastguard alert over inflatables after Swanage rescues

Rescues of people swept out to sea have prompted Portland Coastguard to warn of the dangers of using inflatables.

The incidents, within an hour on Wednesday, involved four people fishing for crabs and two girls, aged 8 and 10, who were on a toy inflatable.

An inshore lifeboat crew rescued the four, off the coast of Swanage, while a kayaker took the girls to safety.

A coastguard spokesman warned of the danger of wind and tides and to tether inflatables to something on the beach.

'Awful threat'

The alarm was raised by a beach warden who saw they were in difficulty and were being taken out to sea.

Parents of the girls, who were sitting on the beach were apparently oblivious that the pair was missing on the water, the coastguard said.

Meanwhile, a pedalo with a woman and two children on board got out of range of Swanage beach and were picked up by a passing motorboat.

Another family saw their inflatable blow off the beach at Studland into Poole Bay, they informed the coastguard to avoid a search and rescue being carried out.

Portland Coastguard watch officer John Braysher said: "Although these things are for enjoyment, they can pose an awful threat - they can be picked up by the wind and taken out to sea very quickly indeed.

"There are lots of people on the beach who enjoy the use of these items but do not appreciate how dangerous they can be if not used with caution."

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