Coastguard teams and lifeboat crews were called out to a number of incidents on Sunday 26th July 2020, including assisting some members of an organised group of 15 swimmers from London, who got into difficulty as they attempted to swim along the coast to Durdle Door.
The call came in just before 12 noon, to say that a number of swimmers were waving for help and blowing a whistle. With south westerly force 4/5 winds, both of the Weymouth lifeboats were launched and the coastguard teams from Kimmeridge, Lulworth and Wyke arrived at the scene.
Kimmeridge Coastguard said:
“Having liaised with some of the swimmers at Durdle Door, it soon transpired they were part of an organised group of 15 that had set off from Stair Hole, Lulworth Cove and were swimming west around Dungy Head, finishing at Durdle Door.
“After reports coming in of some swimmers stuck on rocks and blowing whistles, Lulworth Coastguard team set about kitting up with water rescue equipment whilst Wyke Coastguard team made tracks to Durdle Door to collect further details and get eyes on from that position of any swimmers in the water.”
The Kimmeridge Coastguard team then went to Lulworth Coastguard Station and collected extensive lists of names and contact numbers from a few more of the swimming group while providing constant information to the Solent Coastguard.
Kimmeridge Coastguard added:
“The next hour or so was spent ticking off names thoroughly between all parties until we were satisfied that all swimmers had been accounted for and were all out of the water. This task was made even more difficult by the fact some of the group had set about returning back to London straight away!”
Last month, a man in his 20s from London died
While the beauty of this stretch of Dorset coast attracts visitors from across the UK and even further afield, many do not realise the dangers of the strong tidal currents along this stretch of coastline.
Only last month, a man in his 20s from London died swimming along this same stretch of coastline. He was one of three, who had set out to swim to some rocks near to Durdle Door and on the way back to shore, he went missing. His body was found two days later.
In a warning to others, Kimmeridge Coastguard said:
“Though this was an experienced group of strong swimmers, they had become surprised at the strength of the tide with some completing the swim, some turning round and heading back, whilst a few others had made it ashore on rocks under cliffs.
“After stern safety advice was issued to the swimming group leader, Kimmeridge and Lulworth were stood down whilst Wyke Coastguard team were then retasked to another incident back in the Weymouth area.”
Both Weymouth Lifeboats were called out to reports of swimmers in difficulty along the coastline near Durdle Door
Swanage Coastguard team and Swanage Lifeboat crews tasked with a number of rescues
While coastguard teams and lifeboat crews were busy at Durdle Door, Swanage Coastguard team and Swanage Lifeboat crews were tasked with a number of rescues along the Swanage and Studland Coastline as the blustery offshore winds caught people off guard.
First a paddleboarder was reported to be in trouble in the Poole Harbour entrance, then there was a sailing dinghy that had capsized with two people in the sea, near to Old Harry Rocks, and next, a kayak with a woman and a child was reported to have been blown out to sea in Studland Bay. All of these incidents were able to be resolved and everyone got safely back to shore.
While the Swanage Lifeboat was coming back from Studland, the crew picked up a radio call from the RNLI Lifeguards on Swanage Beach reporting that they were concerned about a paddleboarder in the bay.
Swanage Lifeboat Station reported:
“Eight minutes later, the Swanage all-weather lifeboat was alongside the paddleboarder, who was tired and emotional. She and her board were brought aboard the lifeboat and she was wrapped in a blanket to dry off, as the lifeboat gently motored towards the shore.
“The Swanage inshore lifeboat arrived alongside and took the casualty ashore to her waiting partner and Swanage Coastguard.”
In addition to all the incidents at sea, Swanage Coastguard also went to assist colleagues at Chapmans Pool, after a woman broke her ankle. They helped lift her on a stretcher up from the cove. At the top, she was then taken by ambulance to hospital.
Swanage Coastguard said:
“It should have been the Swanage Carnival parade today and that is sometimes a busy day for us. Sadly, the carnival was cancelled due to COVID but we still managed to have a really busy day.”