BOATERS are being urged to respect the water after lifeboat crews had to rescue a man stranded in mud.

Holbrook Coastguard Rescue Team was paged at 3.20pm yesterday (Thursday, October 1) following reports on a man in a dinghy floating off with the tide in the Mistley area.

The inshore lifeboat from Harwich Lifeboat Station was also called to the incident.

On arrival crews managed to locate the dinghy on the southern shore of the River Stour.

The man who owned the dinghy was attempting to walk ashore by trudging through a lot of soft mud - but he was unable to get there.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Stranded - the man stuck in the mud on the River Stour in the distance Pictures: Holbrook Coastguard Rescue Team

As the tide was rapidly going out, he was unable to relaunch his dinghy and the inshore lifeboat was unable to reach him.

Due to the man's location, state of the tide, temperature and lack daylight hours remaining, a mud rescue had to be carried out.

Felixstowe Coastguard Rescue Team and South Woodham Coastguard Rescue Team arrived with their mud rescue kit and, after getting it over some very difficult terrain, two officers went out to rescue the casualty.

Once brought ashore, the man was handed in to the care of the ambulance service.

The teams were then tasked with bringing back the rescue equipment and washing it down.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Mission - many crews were involved with the rescue 

An RNLI spokesman said: "This took a long time and the mud equipment will take days of re-cleaning to get rid of all the mud."

The Holbrook Coastguard Team finally locked up its station at 10pm.

Veteran sailor Rod Shaw, who ran Harwich RNLI for 30 years, has urged people to respect the water following the mud rescue.

He said: "Around everywhere we live, from Walton to Mistley, we have mud flats and everyone going out on the water at any time needs to check the tides.

"It's as simple as that.

"Anyone who is competent should know they need to check the tide times and the weather if they are going to go out on the water."

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Rescue - crews were able to get to the casualty on the mud 

He said the Harwich Haven Authority provides tide times online, and so does Tendring Council.

Mr Shaw added: "During my time volunteering for the RNLI, I always had call outs linked to tide problems, but most local people are sensible enough and knowledgeable enough to know when to go out on the water.

"If you are a stranger to the local area you need to seek local knowledge - it's necessary.

"The sea can be dangerous and people need to respect the water."

In the event of an emergency along our coastline or estuaries or in mud call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.