Mablethorpe Coastguard and RNLI issue plea after increase in call-outs over inflatables

Mablethorpe Coastguard and the RNLI are urging people not to use inflatables in the sea after seeing a rise in call outs.
Mablethorpe Coastguard and the RNLI are urging people not to use inflatables in the sea after seeing a rise in call outs.

Coastguards in Mablethorpe have joined forces with the RNLI and appealed to people not to use inflatables in the sea after reporting a worrying increase in call outs this summer.

The two organisations have warned about the potential dangers of taking inflatables onto the open water.

RNLI press officer Karen Hills said they have attended 13 separate inflatable-related incidents in Mablethorpe this year.

With an anticipated busy Bank Holiday weekend approaching, officials from the organisations have stressed how quickly incidents can escalate.

A spokesman for the Mablethorpe Coastguard said: “This has been one of the busiest seasons we have had for quite some time.

“Across the whole East Coast, there has been a dramatic rise in call outs of this nature with inflatables.”

Only last Friday (August 17), emergency services were called out to reports of a 16-year-old male in an inflatable dinghy off the coast at Huttoft Bank.

On this occasion, the teenager’s mother was holding a 200ft-long rope while he was in the inflatable boat.

Despite her efforts, the rope slipped from her grasp and the dinghy was driven out to sea by the wind and tide.

Happily, the teenager - and his dinghy - were rescued by a lifeboat.

The Coastguard spokesman said: “These people thought they had secured the dinghy but ‘mother nature’ had other plans - do not be fooled.”

Mrs Hills also confirmed the RNLI had attended more inflatable-related incidents - including children who have drifted out on them and ‘false alarms’ when emergency services have intercepted inflatables only to find them empty.

She said: “Just lately, we have seen a strong off-shore breeze and people are letting their kids out on them (inflatables).

“The wind blows them straight out to sea and they can easily travel about a quarter of a mile in just 10 minutes.

“The thing is it all seems like great fun at first but these situations can soon turn and people need to educated about the appropriate use of inflatables.”

Both the Coastguard and the RNLI stressed any type of flotation device - including rubber rings, boats and body boards - are not safe to be used in the sea.

The RNLI warns that if anyone does use an inflatable, they should ensure it secured by a rope, tied around the waist of an adult.

Mrs Hills added: “Use the sea area between the lifeguard flags and they will advise and watch over you in these areas.

“And if you lose an empty inflatable, please alert the lifeguards as soon as possible.”

Mrs Hills also revealed the RNLI and Coastguard can only advise and rescue - and cannot ban or confiscate inflatables.

•If you spot anyone in difficulty in the sea, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard and RNLI.