A duo who sparked an RNLI rescue effort when their catamaran ran aground off Exmouth were given a stern talking to by police over ‘social distancing rules’.
Officers were called to the town’s marina on Saturday evening (April 4) after a lifeboat crew had fetched the men from the stricken 30ft vessel.
The force said the pair, who ‘appeared under the influence of alcohol’, were taken back to their homes in Exeter.
Police said no boating offences had been committed, but the men were ‘warned against further breaches of Covid-19 social distancing rules’.
The incident saw boat users advised by emergency services that the hobby is ‘non-essential’.
Exmouth RNLI was alerted when the catamaran was spotted sailing ‘erratically’ and seen colliding with several buoys on the River Exe.
The George Bearman II inshore lifeboat was launched at around 7.10pm.
A short time later the crew found the catamaran – with two men on board – had run aground on Pole Sands.
Its occupants were taken to Exmouth Marina where they were met by Devon and Cornwall Police officers.
A force spokesperson said: “Police were called to assist the RNLI who rescued two men from the River Exe where their boat had run aground at around 7.20pm on Saturday 4 April, and brought them back to Exmouth Marina.
“Both men appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.
“When officers ascertained that no boating offences had been committed, and when the RNLI crew had recovered their belongings, officers took them back to their home addresses in Exeter.
“The men were warned against further breaches of Covid-19 social distancing rules.”
Exeter Port Authority Harbour Master Grahame Forshaw issued an open letter to river and canal users following the Government’s coronavirus lockdown legislation earlier this month.