WITH high winds and choppy seas expected over the winter period, Lyme Regis lifeboat crew has urged visitors to the coast to take extra care in and near the water.
The warning follows two calls for help to the lifeboat volunteers on Sunday, and an incident on Friday evening which saw a kite surfer injured after he was thrown up by the strong wind and dragged along Cobb Gate shingle beach, with his kite tangled on the roofs of the seafront cottages.
The ambulance service, Devon Air Ambulance and the fire service attended the incident on Friday.
Lyme Regis lifeboat crew were then called to two incidents in the water on Sunday, including reports of someone being swept off the high wall of the Cobb.
The first incident followed a report at 9.30am that a surfer was missing in strong winds and rough conditions after entering the water from Monmouth Beach. The 24-year-old man had not been seen for 30 minutes when the alarm was raised.
The lifeboat crew were already at sea on a training exercise and searched east and west of the harbour but found no trace of the man. RNLI shore crew and coastguards also searched the beaches.
The surfer was eventually found on town beach and taken to hospital for observation.
Later in the day, at 3pm, the lifeboat was launched to a report that two people had been been swept off the Cobb high wall. In conjunction with coastguards ashore the lifeboat crew searched around the Cobb area but no-one was found and the search was called off at 3.40pm.
The RNLI’s volunteer operations manager in Lyme Regis, Nick Marks, said: “Conditions were rough all day and these two calls demonstrate the need for people to be alert to the dangers and to take great care in and around the water at this time of year.
“Only minutes after our second shout people were seen walking on the Cobb wall in high winds and with the sea breaking over it. They seemed oblivious to the danger they were in.”