Littlehampton’s Atlantic 75 lifeboat Blue Peter 1 launched after reports of a small dinghy ½ mile off Worthing, with the occupants waving for help. The lifeboat launched at 8:08am, four minutes after the crew were paged, and headed for the reported position. Coastguards were tasked to the location of the informant, and guided the lifeboat to the position, which turned out to be 1.8 miles from the coast.
Helmsman Andy Harris and crew Paul James and Rob Devo found the 7ft inflatable toy dinghy with three men aboard. They had been afloat since 9pm the previous evening, and were dressed in beach clothes – shorts and t-shirts, with no lifejackets, no means of communication and one paddle. They were disorientated having spent the night in darkness at sea, and were suffering from hypothermia.
The three men were recovered to the lifeboat and treated for hypothermia by the crew, who proceeded to Worthing where they were met by coastguards and awaiting ambulances.
Littlehampton’s volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager commented “These three gents were extremely fortunate to be seen by a vigilant member of the public, and so lucky to have survived overnight with no protection and no lifejackets. It would have been so easy for the dinghy to have been capsized by the smallest of waves. The RNLI’s first aid training is to a very high standard, so once we had recovered the men, they were in good hands.”
Video of this call shot from the lifeboat’s on-board camera can be seen here.