MUDEFORD RNLI has urged people to abide by government regulations on staying at home after a jet-skier had to be rescued off Hengistbury Head.
The alarm was raised when the jet-skier himself alerted HM Coastguard, reporting his craft had lost power and was drifting half a mile south of the shoreline.
Before launching around 3.40pm, the RNLI team took the precaution of asking the Coastguard to ascertain if there was any virus-related risk. Called on his mobile phone, the jet-skier said there was no known risk or symptoms.
A safe-distancing launch procedure was followed before the crew quickly located the jet-ski.
Having assessed the casualty, they connected a towline and brought both him and his craft back to Christchurch Quay from where he had set off.
The lifeboat returned to the station, which was then cleaned and disinfected by a designated team of volunteers – a process which Mudeford RNLI said made launching and recovery “a bit longer – but safer”.
The incident prompted the rescue team to remind people to adhere by the nationwide emergency measures put in place in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.
“You will be aware that Mudeford Quay is now closed for visitors in vehicles,” a spokesperson said.
“We ask all of you to please do your part and play your role in distancing and following the government’s guidelines.
“We are all in this together and only together can we ‘turn the tide’.”
Dozens of people took to the comments section below a post about the rescue on the RNLI Mudeford lifeboat Facebook page to express their frustration.
One person wrote: “Thank you for all you do but how selfish that jet-skier was to put everyone at risk.
“Hopefully it will be the last selfish person you have to cope with at this difficult time. Hope all involved in RNLI Mudeford keep safe and well.”
One of the other commenters also reported three jet-skiers had been seen performing flips in the surf close to the shore between Mudeford and Highcliffe on Sunday 22nd March.