Surfer rescued during Storm Nelson by RNLI near Peveril Point

During the height of Storm Nelson, an experienced surfer had to be saved from the rough seas by the Swanage lifeboat crew and the coastguard, when he got dragged by the tide over the Peveril Ledges in Swanage, Dorset.

With strong gusts and a sea swell of between two to three metres, the man was with other surfers in Durlston Bay when he got separated from the group, just after 6 pm on Thursday 28th March 2024.

Storm Nelson hits Shore Road
Swanage Coastguard

The waves overtop the Swanage sea wall by The Mowlem during Storm Nelson

Swept round into Swanage Bay

Swanage’s all weather lifeboat launched at 6.31 pm and was able to quickly spot the surfer not far from their boathouse slipway, helped by the Swanage Coastguard team who were watching him from the headland.

The surfer had tried to get to shore at Peveril Point, an area of rocky ledges, but had been swept round into Swanage Bay.

A second surfer had managed to get to shore and was checked over for any injuries by Swanage Coastguard.

Swanage lifeboat rescues a surfer
Swanage Coastguard

Swanage all weather lifeboat rescues the surfer, guided by the coastguard who kept an eye on his location from the shoreline

Cold but not seriously injured

Although they were cold, neither were seriously injured, so the lifeboat continued round to Durlston Bay to check that the rest of the group was safe.

As they were all now out of the sea and on the beach, the crew was able to return to Swanage Lifeboat Station.

Storm Nelson hits Shore Road
Swanage Coastguard

Concrete blocks defend against flooding during the winter but they had been removed a few days earlier for the Easter holidays

Storm Nelson hits Shore Road
Swanage Coastguard

There are plans to install permanent sea defences along this stretch of Swanage seafront which will mean it’s defended all year round from flooding

Swanage Coastguard during Storm Nelson
Swanage Coastguard

Swanage Coastguard liaised with the Environment Agency and the local councils while a risk of flooding was possible but fortunately the storm did not cause that much damage in Swanage

“Lucky that the lifeboat was there to pick him up”

Swanage Coastguard station officer Ian Brown said:

“The sea was very angry during Storm Nelson and this just goes to show that you can be a professional surfer and still get into trouble out there. The Peveril Ledges are treacherous and he was lucky that the lifeboat was there to pick him up.

“Fortunately, this was the only major incident during Storm Nelson but the cliffs, especially to the north end of Swanage Bay, are completely waterlogged and liable to collapse, so I’d urge everyone to stay well away from them.

“There were a few slippages overnight and the footpath at Burlington Chime is blocked. More rain is forecast, so even if there are sunny moments over the Easter holidays, don’t be fooled and get too close.”

Storm Nelson causes rock falls
Swanage Coastguard

A large lump of concrete, which slipped down the cliff, has now blocked the path near Burlington Chine to the north of Swanage Bay

Cliff fall signs
Swanage Coastguard

New signs are warning people to stay away from the cliffs as there is a high risk of landslides

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