Chapel and Wrangle Coastguards rescue landlocked swimming party at Wainfleet Bombing Range

COASTGUARDS carried out a rare land-based rescue on treacherous marshy terrain after a group of charitable swimmers grounded their support vessel while attempting to cross the Wash.

The fund raisers called for assistance after they became disorientated during their Hunstanton to Skegness journey and beached their 14 foot fishing boat at Wainfleet Bombing Range last Saturday.

Chapel St Leonards Coastguard station manager Mark Smith said: “They were completely disorientated with no local knowledge - in that area you can sometimes think you are going out to sea when really you’re heading further in

“We had to walk for than a mile across numerous creeks and flooded marshland to assist them off the boat and bring them back. The terrains is vast and the water was not even visible by the time we reached them - the boat was high and dry and water had ebbed away a considerable distance from the boat.”

Mr Smith’s team of five Coastguards from Chapel St Leonards were joined by a further two from Wrangle to attend the call out at 7pm on last Saturday night.

The fishing vessel was so landlocked, however, that it was not until 10pm that the group had been located and taken back to shore, while there boat was anchored and left to wait for the tide’s return.

“They were in a reasonable condition but they were becoming rather cold - it’s quite barren out there and you can get quite exposed - they were very grateful to see us,” Mr Smith added.

The group of five swimmers were without several basic items of safety equipment on their journey and Mr Smith has used this example to urge other marine voyagers to ensure they are properly equipped.

He said: “If you are going out always tell someone where you are leaving from and what time you are expected back.

“Make sure you’ve got the correct communication equipment a VHF radio, mobile phone and a hand held flare as well as a life jacked and plenty of waterproof protection.”