Porthcawl RNLI lifeboat ‘Rose of the Shires’ was launched at 9:25am on Saturday 22 February to the rescue of a day fishing craft with engine failure and a capsized dinghy a quarter of a mile east of Porthcawl Breakwater. The volunteer crew were then diverted to a second call when a surfer had been reported in danger and being swept out of Sandy bay.

The broken down small fishing boat was taken in tow and returned safely to Porthcawl’s new marina where Porthcawl Coastguard Unit confirmed that the causalities onboard were ok. The RNLI’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat then returned to sea and located the capsized dinghy. During the return tow and just within the shelter of the breakwater the report of a surfer shouting for help was passed to the crew. The decision was made to immediately release the tow and go to the assistance of the surfer.

Helmsman Simon Emms said, ‘Crewman Etienne Cronje managed to swim onto the slipway with the tow line and with the aid of shore helpers the upturned dinghy was pulled safely into the marina. We located the surfer who was caught in a rip current and being swept alongside the Eastern Promenade wall towards the breakwater. We managed to get the male surfer on board the lifeboat and returned him to the station’.

Back in the safety of the lifeboat station the surfer was checked over and offered a shower to warm himself up after what he said was his first attempt at surfing and unfortunately had turned out to be a frightening experience.

Spokesman Ian Stroud said, ‘We have been to the assistance of several surfers and swimmers who have been caught in the rip current alongside Eastern Promenade in the past eighteen months. The water flow appears to have changed and been causing these incidents in this part of Sandy bay. We would ask all swimmers and surfers to be aware of this change to what is normally regarded as a safe beach for water sports’.