The latest evidence of the extreme potential danger of dinghies has been underlined again this week with the rescue of two fourteen-year-olds being swept to sea in an inflatable dinghy in Wales.
Royal National Lifesaving Institution (RNLI) lifeguards launched the inshore rescue boat after spotting two young girls being swept out to sea in a dinghy on the south side of Newgale beach.
The charity's lifeguards spotted the two 14 year old girls in difficulty at 5.30pm.
The teenage girls were 250 metres offshore and rapidly being swept out further to sea. As the lifeguards were launching the inshore rescue boat, one of the girls panicked, jumped into the sea and tried to swim back to shore. She then realised that the tide was to strong and turned back to return to the dinghy.Unfortunately due to strong offshore winds she could not catch up with the dinghy.
RNLI lifeguards picked up the young girl in the water and also brought her friend and the dinghy back to shore. Both girls were checked for any injuries by the trained First Aiders, but they were both fine.
Phil Davies, RNLI Lifeguard Manager said:
'We advise people not to use inflatables if there are offshore winds. If you do find that you're in trouble raise your hand and shout for help and never try and swim back to shore, always stay inside the boat. The RNLI lifeguards did a great job at Newgale yesterday and we're glad to hear that both girls are safe and well.'
Sail-World here repeats the standard advice for the use of dinghies:
1. Always always keep oars and a baler in the dinghy, even if you’re only in it to clean the topsides.
2. Check your motor for fuel before each trip.
3. Never leave your sailing boat in an anchorage without a light (get a LED automatic light and leave it in the dinghy permanently, to save power and save remembering)
4. When there’s a wind, specially if it’s blowing off the shore, have someone aware of your dinghy journey, or, if possible, leave the journey until the wind has abated.
5. Carry a hand-held VHF, charged mobile phone or a satphone as a worthwhile general safety precaution.
As with most emergencies, a dinghy emergency is mostly caused by not one circumstance, but a chain of circumstances coinciding.
For previous case studies of incidents with dinghies, click here