A group of teenagers on inflatables were minutes away from being swept out to sea when an Exmouth National Coastwatch Institution member ran down the beach to warn they were in danger.
The youths had been sitting in rubber rings in the water and were unaware they were being swept out to sea by the tide in an off-shore breeze.
They were saved when an Exmouth NCI watchkeeper made a beach mercy dash, running to the water’s edge to raise the alarm with minutes to spare.
Exmouth NCI said moments later, and the teenagers’ fun in the sea could have been a ‘very different story’.
The town’s coastwatch members, based in Queen’s Drive, Exmouth, are warning against using inflatables or rubber rings in the sea, urging water-users to save them for swimming pools.
Station Manager Ivor Jones said: “Visitors are not aware how quickly the river runs out to sea.
“Earlier this week, a watchkeeper had to run down the red-flag beach to alert four teenagers in rubber rings who were being swept out by the tide in an off-shore breeze.
“Fortunately, they heard him and made it to shore.
“A minute or two later and it could have been a very different story.”
He added: “Inflatables are for swimming pools not for the sea. We want Exmouth to be a place of enjoyment not of tragedy.”
Exmouth National Coastwatch Institution’s plea to beach-goers to leave inflatables at home is in response to ‘a series of incidents’ where volunteer watchkeepers have had to alert the RNLI lifeguard patrols, and the lifeboat to launch.
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