A CANOEIST was the subject of a rescue operation off the South Devon coast after he was spotted being dragged out to sea in near storm force winds.
Brixham Coastguard coordinated the rescue after receiving a 999 call at 1.45pm on Thursday.
The caller said it looked as if the canoe had capsized and was in difficulty just off the west coast of Burgh Island.
The wind at the time was Strong Gale Force 9, gusting to Violent Storm Force 11 (64–73 mph).
The Bigbury Coastguard Rescue Team, Plymouth and Salcombe RNLI lifeboats and the coastguard rescue helicopter based at Portland were all sent to the scene, but the canoeist managed to get himself to shore.
Dave Scullion, Watch Manager at Brixham Coastguard, says: “We strongly advise not to go out in these stormy conditions, particularly in small craft such as canoes or kayaks. Sending units to rescue people in these types of avoidable incidents will put the rescue teams at risk.
“Even though he managed to self recover, we were concerned about the possibility of secondary drowning which can occur with as little as a tablespoon of fluid in the lungs."