BOATERS are being urged to respect the water after lifeboat crews had to rescue a man stranded in thick mud.

Holbrook Coastguard Rescue Team was paged at 3.20pm on Thursday following reports of a man in a dinghy “floating off with the tide” in the Mistley area.

The inshore lifeboat from Harwich Lifeboat Station was also called to the help with the rescue.

Crews raced to the area and managed to locate the dinghy on the southern shore of the River Stour.

The man was attempting to walk ashore by trudging through a lot of soft mud but he was unable to get there.

As the tide was rapidly going out, he was unable to relaunch his dinghy and the inshore lifeboat was unable to reach him.

Due to the man’s location, the state of the tide and lack daylight hours remaining, a mud rescue had to be carried out.

Coastguard teams from Felixstowe and South Woodham arrived with their mud rescue kit and after getting it over some difficult terrain, two officers went out to rescue the stranded man.

Once brought ashore, the victim was handed into the care of the ambulance service and taken to Colchester Hospital for further assessment and treatment.

The teams were then tasked with bringing back the rescue equipment and washing it down.

In a statement, Holbrook Coastguard said: "All teams then set to work bringing back the rescue equipment, washing it down and stowing it for return to station. 

"This took a long time and the mud equipment will take days of re-cleaning to get rid of all the mud."

The rescue started at 3.20pm on Thursday and Holbrook Coastguard Team finally locked up its station at 10pm.

An East of England Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “A community first responder and ambulance attended the marina on Anchor Lane in Mistley at 7.25pm to treat a man who had been rescued from a dinghy.

"The patient was transported to Colchester General Hospital for further assessment and treatment.”