A MAN was rescued from the sea after attempting to sail to America during a busy day for the coastguard.
The Mudeford RNLI Inshore Lifeboat was launched at 4.17pm on Saturday after a 12ft dinghy was spotted to the south of Hengistbury Head with one person on board, after a passing yacht noticed that the dinghy’s skipper was seasick.
On arrival, the sailor was reluctant to accept help from the RNLI but was eventually persuaded to be brought back to Christchurch Harbour by the lifeboat, as he did not appear to be displaying ‘proficient sailing’, said Portland Coastguard.
Coastguard rescue officers and Dorset Police were there to meet him at the harbour as he was suffering from the cold, along with the ambulance service, which took him to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital for treatment.
It later transpired, said the Coastguard, that the man was a Bulgarian national who had set off with the intention of sailing to the USA.
Pete Dadds was one of the crewmen onboard the lifeboat which attended to the man. He said that if the lifeboat had not been contacted by a passing yacht, the man would certainly have died.
“He did not have any safety equipment, no mobile phone or VHF radio, no lights, he had a buoyancy aid instead of a lifejacket, which would have kept him afloat, and no way to raise the alarm. The dingy also wasn’t built for the purpose that he intended it for.
“He had two bags with him, one filled with his belongings and one filled with food, and just the clothes he was wearing.
“He would not speak to us and was un-responsive, apart from saying, “Leave me, I am heading west”, but there was a south-westerly wind and so I told him he would never make it.
“You could tell he was sick and was in the first stages of hyperthermia, as he was cold, he was being sick and he was being quite difficult, which we have learnt to recognise in connection to hypothermia.”
Pete said that after the man was taken ashore, police officers went through his bags to find identification and found that he was a 30-year-old Bulgarian national, who had an American visa with him.
“If the man on the passing yacht had not contacted us, I don’t think anyone would have known that this ever happened.
“Nobody would have been searching for a body because they would not have known he was there and the boat would have almost definitely sunk.
“If we weren’t there, he would have definitely have died. In my 20 or so years of volunteering with the RNLI, I can honestly say that I may only have actually saved, not just assisted, maybe four or five people and this is one of them.”
Earlier in the day, the Poole RNLI Inshore Lifeboat was tasked to assisted with a capsized catamaran in the water off Sandbanks Beach.
Two people were recovered and were taken ashore before the lifeboat crew following a call made to the emergency services at 2.45pm, before the lifeboat returned to recover the catamaran dinghy, which had suffered a split hull.
Less than two hours later, the Poole RNLI Inshore Lifeboat attended reports of a capsized sailing dinghy and one person in the water in Poole Harbour.
A call was made at 4.15pm, leading to the lifeboat visiting the Wills Cut area of the harbour, where they rescued the person and took them to Baiter Park, before later returning to recover the dinghy.
Four people were reported in the water off Salterns Marina in Poole Harbour leading to the Poole RNLI Inshore Lifeboat visiting the scene.
On arrival, following the call made at 4.27pm, two people were found from a capsized dinghy and two were from a capsized jetski, who were all taken to Baiter Park, where they were met by Poole Coastguards.
The lifeboat returned to recover the dinghy and jetski after attending another incident.
The Poole RNLI Inshore Lifeboat was also called to attend two people who were in the water in Poole Harbour following a capsized Hobie Cat.
A call was made at 5.37pm leading to the lifeboat crew rescuing the people and their vessel, which was brought ashore where they were met by Poole Coastguard.
Dorset Police were assisted by the coastguard in the search for a missing 67-year-old man last night who was visiting Sandbanks on a day trip.
A call was made to Poole Coastguard Rescue Team at 8.05pm to help with an extensive search for the man who had not returned to his coach after a trip out from a residential care home in London.
The man was soon found by police officers in Poole Park.
An emergency call was made to Southbourne Coastguard with a report of an unusual vessel secured to a buoy in Christchurch Bay.
The coastguard were alerted at 8.09pm and made a broadcast with a responding vessel able to confirm that the craft was an Atlantic rowing vessel with one person on board, who was remaining for the night to test his equipment.
Swanage Coastguard rescue officers were called to investigate reports of a canoe containing two people from a beach party who were out in dangerous conditions.
The call was made just after 9pm and the coastguard found that two men from the party, which was on Swanage Beach, had been fishing in the canoe. Both men had returned to the beach and did not intend to set off again that night.