BOTH of Swanage's RNLI lifeboats launched for the first time this year, to rescue two ramblers who had been cut off by the tide along the Purbeck coast and were sheltering in a cave.

Initially only the inshore lifeboat was requested, amid reports the pair were trapped between Ballard Point and Old Harry Rocks, near Swanage.

However, because of tricky sea conditions the all-weather lifeboat was also requested to provide support.

Both of the people were rescued safely, but only after the inshore lifeboat crew adopted a special technique to overcome the conditions.

A Swanage RNLI spokesman said: "The inshore lifeboat used a technique known as 'veering' to approach the casualties, who were sheltering in a cave.

"The inshore lifeboat's anchor was set and the boat driven astern towards the cliffs, in tricky conditions, using the anchor to prevent the boat surging backwards in the waves.

"The casualties were soon picked up and the anchor recovered.

"The casualties were then transferred to the all-weather lifeboat to keep them warm and given them a more comfortable ride back to the boathouse."

The incident unfolded around around 4.40pm on Saturday, and both lifeboats were back in the boathouse at Swanage by 5.25pm.