Tuesday 20 February 2018

Man who tried to paddle across the Irish Sea in a blow-up dinghy rescued

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

A WOULD-be adventurer who intended to sail from the UK to Ireland in nothing more than a six-foot inflatable dinghy has been rescued.

The 40-year-old American was treated for severe sunburn after he was brought ashore.

He had set sail from Osmington Mills on the Dorset coast in south west England at 9am heading west and bound for an undisclosed location in Ireland.

However he was spotted almost three miles out to sea at 3pm by a number of craft which then alerted the Portland Coastguard.

After initially saying he did not need assistance, he was later brought ashore by a dive boat and landed at Lulworth Cove, around five miles east from where he had started out and even further away from Ireland.

John Braisher, watch officer at Portland Coastguard, said the man was “extremely lucky to be found when he was”.

His six-foot blow-up dinghy had two paddles - one of which was being used as a mast with a plastic sheet strapped to it as a sail, while the other was acting as a rudder.

He had only a limited amount of food and drink with him at the time.

“With no suitable communications equipment, limited life saving equipment and inadequate food and drink resources for his passage to Ireland, the outcome could have been very different,” said Mr Braisher.

“If you're planning to head out to sea, the key is to be well prepared. Inflatable dinghies, such as this, are unsuitable and not recommended for coastal passages of this nature.”

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