A DRUNK man trying to win a bet had to be rescued after his inflatable began drifting out to sea in Clacton.

Tendring Council's Beach Patrol was called into action by the Coastguard after receiving numerous calls with concern for the man, who was part of a group of Londoners who had all been drinking at a beach hut on Tuesday afternoon.

The seafront rescuers' jet ski travelled 500 metres off of Clacton beach to rescue the man, who was battling in vain against the waves.

Upon reaching him the team realised the man was intoxicated, and learned he had been attempting to row out to a marker buoy after a bet.

Beach Patrol returned the man safely to shore as he would have been unable to paddle back.

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

Alex Porter, the council's cabinet member for leisure and tourism, praised the efforts of the beach patrol team.

“Our teams do sterling work every summer season, responding to all sorts of incidents along our coastline,” he 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.”


  • Busy - Clacton's Martello Beach was busy on Saturday, although people mostly respected social distancing guidelines

The incident happened at 5.15pm. Beach Patrol usually finishes at 5pm, but the team had decided to stay on as the seafront was busy.

The council does not usually operate the patrol in term times, but it is running extra coverage due to the coast’s popularity during the partial lockdown and with the recent good weather.

People using inflatables at the coastline are advised to use a line to anchor them to the shore and should not go too far out, and should also be mindful of the tides.

Nick Ayers, RNLI Water Safety Lead for the North and East, said: “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.

"And most importantly, if you or someone you see is in difficulty, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”