LIFEGUARDS in Littlehampton are urging beach-goers to take care when using inflatable boats on the coast after two women were saved from the River Arun yesterday (Monday, July 21).
The pair, one of whom suffered from asthma, were enjoying a day at the seaside when an offshore wind blew the inflatable dinghy they were playing in away from the beach and into the busy River Arun, at about 2.30pm.
On finding themselves in the busy channel, which is popular with jet skiers and boaters, the two women in their twenties jumped off their inflatable and tried to swim for shore. However, a combination of a strong current and offshore wind left them struggling in the water.
On seeing the women in distress, RNLI beach lifeguards launched their inshore rescue boat from nearby Littlehampton beach.
Meanwhile two men in a passing motor boat stopped and managed to get the swimmers on board.
Lifeguards soon arrived and transferred the women to their boat before taking them to shore. Back at the beach, lifeguards medically assessed the women.
Oliver Cona, lifeguard supervisor, said: “The two women were very shaken but thankfully did not suffer injuries. This goes to show how quickly playing in the water with an inflatable can turn into a dangerous situation.
‘We’ve been called out a number of times this year to rescue people who have been swept out to sea in an inflatable dinghy. Our advice is not to use inflatables at the beach, particularly when there is an offshore wind. If you do use them, don’t go out of knee-depth water.”