A FISHING boat was assisted by the Swanage RNLI lifeboat after it became tangled in gear off the Dorset coast.

The fishing vessel, with two crew members on board, called for help after getting tangled up around 3.5 nautical miles off Old Harry Rocks.

The vessel was essentially helpless, left drifting after the incident.

An RNLI spokesman said: "The lifeboat's volunteer crew gathered in the boat park to maintain social distancing and the boat launched minutes after arriving.

"The fishing vessel was quickly found. The two crew on board were happy to secure a tow and a line was passed to them.

"A tow towards Poole Harbour commenced and it was immediately apparent that the gear tangled with the fishing vessel was creating significant drag and made it difficult to control."

Because of this progress was slow, taking two-and-a-half hours to arrive at Poole Quay.

"Poole Harbour control found a space for the boat and at around 2.40pm the vessel was secured with help from Poole Coastguard volunteers," the RNLI spokesman said.

The lifeboat launched at 12.36pm on Tuesday and the vessel was recovered just before 4.30pm.