Drunk man 'trying to win bet' rescued after inflatable drifts out to sea off Essex coast

Clacton beach in summer 2018. Credit: PA

A drunk man had to be rescued after his inflatable drifted a third of a mile out to sea off the Essex coast.

The man had bragged to his mates that he could row out to a marker buoy and was trying to win a bet.

However, he got into difficulty about 500 metres from the shore at Clacton beach and had to be saved by the coastguard who sped to help him in a jet ski.

According to the local council, the rescued man was part of a group from London who had been drinking at a beach hut on Tuesday.

The beach patrol at Clacton normally finish their shift at 5pm, but had decided to stay on a bit later because the beach was so busy.

The Clacton beach patrol team. Credit: Tendring District Council

The incident happened at around 5.15pm.

“Our beach patrol teams do sterling work every summer season, responding to all sorts of incidents along our coastline,” Cllr Alex Porter said.

“Sadly rescuing inebriated people who foolishly think they are stronger than the tide is nothing new for the team.

“However, this misadventure – a third of a mile out to sea on an inflatable – was particularly dangerous, and at a time when public and emergency services are stretched dealing with Covid-19.

“I hope this serves as a warning to everyone to take the sea seriously; and that alcohol and the sea do not mix well.”

Nick Ayers, RNLI Water Safety Lead for the North and East, added: “The recent easing of lockdown restrictions has brought with it a huge rise in coastal activity, and increased the onus on everyone to take responsibility for their own safety.

“That’s why we’re repeating our message to please leave inflatables at home, look out for your family at all times and have a plan that includes checking the weather forecast, tide times and beach safety signs."