FOUR paddleboarders struggling against windy conditions had to be rescued off the Purbeck coast yesterday. (July 1)

Swanage RNLI all weather lifeboat was initially called to assist three paddleboarders who were being swept out to sea, about half a nautical mile off Old Harry Rocks.

A spokesman for Swanage RNLI said: "A member of the public spotted the paddleboarders who appeared to be struggling with the breezy conditions and were being swept out to sea by the outgoing tide.

"The member of the public called 999 asked for the coastguard and assistance was soon organised.

"The lifeboat crew were paged and the lifeboat launched a short time later. In the time it took the lifeboat to launch a small yacht had responded to the UK Coastguard’s radio call asking for vessels in the area to assist the paddleboarders."

The crew on the yacht managed to pass the paddleboarders a rope, but were unable to get any of the trio onboard.

However, the larger yacht gave the lifeboat a better target and they were able to speak with the skipper to confirm their position.

The spokesman said: "The lifeboat was quickly on scene and the three paddleboarders and their boards were recovered on to the lifeboat.

"All three were checked over, one was cold and tired but the others were OK. It was agreed to take the three back to Knoll Beach where they’d initially left from so the lifeboat made best speed to Studland Bay."

While travelling towards Knoll Beach a forth paddle boarder was spotted struggling in the conditions.

"After a quick chat they were taken aboard the lifeboat too and were dropped 100 metres or so off Knoll Beach with the initial casualties," said the spokesman. "All four were met by the volunteers from Swanage Coastguard after a short paddle/walk ashore as it was too shallow for the lifeboat to get any closer."

The call came in at 11.38 on Wednesday morning.