TWO amateur fishermen were rescued from the sea off Jaywick… after drifting offshore in a homemade boat.
The small boat, which cost the pair just £9 to construct, was made from loft insulation boards, scrap plywood, laminate flooring and wire coat hangers, all glued together with silicone adhesive.
Clacton RNLI’s D Class inshore lifeboat was launched to the aid of the two men, aged in their late 20s, after the pair called Thames Coastguard for help from their mobile phone at 2.20pm yesterday.
The pair were left drifting offshore in the “hastily constructed” boat after their oars snapped. They had been trying to make it back ashore at Jaywick’s Martello Beach Holiday Park.
One of the men, Jamie, a 27-year-old builder from Austin Avenue, Jaywick, said: “The boat itself was solid and stable – it was just the oars that snapped.
“We bought them from a shop on the seafront. My mate built the boat about a week ago. We started testing it on Sunday and then took it out the following day, but got into trouble.
“We went out about 30 or 40 metres and caught a few fish. We then pulled up the anchor and decided to go further out.
“It was only when we decided to come back and it was getting choppy out there that the paddle snapped.
“If the oar hadn’t snapped we would have been fine - it was a successful fishing trip.
“The lifeboat crew got us ashore. At that moment we were just grateful to get back on dry land and agreed the boat could be destroyed. We are very grateful to the lifeboat crew.
“We would do it again, but with more planning and the correct safety gear.”
Clacton RNLI crewman Joff Strutt said the pair were found in the boat about 200 metres from the beach.
“They had been out fishing when their oars snapped leaving them helpless,” he said.
“The men were taken aboard the lifeboat and checked over before they were taken ashore to Clacton Coastguard for some safety advice.
“The men are very lucky that they were found or things could have been a lot worse.
“Going to sea in homemade boat is certainly one we've never seen before.”
The men, both from the Clacton area, were left cold following their ordeal, but did not require medical treatment.
Mr Strutt added it is vital that people only take to the water if they have the correct equipment.
“Neither of the men had lifejackets on and one of them couldn't swim,” he said.
“It is very important that people use the correct equipment, including a seaworthy boat.
“They had made the boat at home and were out fishing in it on Sunday.
“They went back out on Monday, but soon the wind and current defeated them by snapping the oars.
“I asked them how much they spent on the boat and they said they got the boards free, so they spent just £9 on the silicone.”
After rescuing the pair, the lifeboat returned to collect their fishing equipment. The unseaworthy boat was later destroyed with the men's permission.