Swimmer rescued from sea at Sandsend near Whitby by RNLI

The shore at Sandsend near Whitby Credit: PA Images

A sea swimmer had to be rescued by lifeboat volunteers after going missing for more than an hour.

Two RNLI lifeboats based at Whitby in North Yorkshire were launched on Tuesday, 27 December, when a 999 call was made reporting a missing swimmer. The man had set off from Sandsend near Whitby and had not returned to shore at the expected time.

Reports suggested he had been at sea for over an hour.

RNLI volunteers, the all-weather lifeboat and the coastguard patrolled the coastline before moving further out to sea to broaden the search.

The man was spotted waving his arm by volunteer Jonathan Marr, who was at the helm of the inshore lifeboat.

Mr Marr said: "We were so relieved to see the swimmer waving to us, at this time of year the water is extremely cold and the effects of the cold can take hold very quickly, we wish the swimmer a speedy recovery.

"This incident highlights the importance of letting someone know if you are swimming in the sea and what time you expect to get out, this can be the difference between a life saved and a life lost as every minute counts when something goes wrong."

The man received treatment on the all weather lifeboat before being taken ashore to the waiting ambulance at the lifeboat station.

Mr Marr added: "Please remember to wear something bright, a tow float is great as this is easy to spot even in the surf, don’t spend too long in the water in winter, and if you do get into difficulty remember float to live - don’t panic, float on your back and raise an arm or shout for help."

A spokesman from HM Coastguard said: “This is a stark reminder of how quickly things can change at sea and can catch out even the most experienced swimmer. The swimmer’s friend did exactly the right thing by calling us as soon as she could. Time is of the essence in these potential life and death situations and we will always respond to those in need.”

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