Coastguards from Lowestoft and Southwold verbally abused during operation off Kessingland Beach

Members of the coastguard team from Lowestoft and Southwold were verbally abused by a man they were

Members of the coastguard team from Lowestoft and Southwold were verbally abused by a man they were trying to help off Kessingland Beach. Photo: HM Coastguard Lowestoft and Southwold. - Credit: Archant

A coastguard team were subjected to a tirade of verbal abuse while trying to help a man thought to be in need off Kessingland Beach.

HM Coastguard Lowestoft and Southwold were alerted to reports of a rower drifting with the tide some distance out and potentially facing difficulties on Friday, August 4.

Teams were paged by the Humber Coastguard Operations Centre at 9.21pm.

The man in the rowing boat was seen waving a small light, assumed to be a head torch, towards the shore.

This act was seen as a potential cry for assistance yet the rower made no headway towards the coastguard team on the beach.

Fearing the man was in danger, the RNLI Southwold Lifeboat Station was requested to launch to investigate further.

However, just as they were paged the male occupant started to return to shore so the team were stood down.

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A spokesman for the coastguard said: 'In doing so he was very rude and abusive towards the team for calling him to shore as he was laying his fishing pots.

'He had no lights on the boat, no life jacket and seemed very unprepared.

'Therefore, the first informants were right to be concerned. He continued to be abusive until he returned back to his fishing pots.

'It was deemed that he was in no danger, even though he was very ill equipped and so the team were stood down.'

A member of the coastguard confirmed that this reaction was sadly not totally out of the ordinary.

David Burwood, rescue officer, said: 'Unfortunately this type of thing does happen - most often when we are giving advice to people or warning them of potential dangers.

'The coastguards are not there to be tolerating abuse. We have a duty of care to the public to make sure they are safe.

He added: 'The gentleman was not fully understanding of the danger he was putting himself in. He had no lights on board, no life-jacket and no form of communication.

'Obviously we don't ever hold a grudge and if that man did get himself into difficulties and needed us we would be there to help.'

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