A MAN had to swim for his life after his kayak capsized at sea.

The incident happened on Saturday evening at around 7.15pm.

A spokesman for West Bay Coastguard Rescue Team said: "The team was alerted to a 999 call reporting an upturned kayak drifting in the sea to the east of West Bexington.

“Coastguard Officers from West Bay including the team’s Station Officer (SO) and Deputy Station Officer (DSO) quickly made their way to the station to pick up their equipment and vehicle then headed straight for the area.

“The RNLI Lyme Regis Lifeboat was also scrambled and started making its way to the scene. Officers headed to Abbotsbury then turned west onto the beach front road stopping occasionally to perform a binocular search of the sea to try and locate the drifting kayak.

“Whilst doing so, a member of the public on the beach was identified as being the casualty who had been on board the kayak.

“Solent Coastguard and the Lifeboat were updated and officers gathered details from the casualty who appeared to have had a lucky escape.

“Whilst at sea fishing, the kayak had started taking on water and the owner was forced into the sea a reported 400m from the shore. With no option but to swim to safety, the casualty made it back to beach shaken, tired and cold.

“Thankfully he was wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) which he commented likely saved his life. Officers performed a welfare check and gathered details.

“With no other persons at risk, the Lifeboat was then stood down to return to station.

“Team members then recovered the Kayak which had now washed up on the beach further down the coast and returned it to its grateful owner.”

Coastguard have since issued a statement about the importance of wearing a life jacket.

The coastguard spokesman said: “This incident had a very positive outcome and shows the importance of wearing a life jacket or floatation device when going out to sea.

“The coastguard also recommend wearing the appropriate clothing for the weather conditions, and having a method of calling for help which could be a marine VHF radio or a mobile phone when operating close to the shore.

“The use of a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) would also notify the emergency services that you’re in distress and help transmit your position to those responding.

“We want to thank the member of the public who notified the emergency services, and for safeguarding the kayak when it washed ashore.

“Stay safe this half term, but If you find yourself in difficulty or if you see something which gives you cause for concern, do not hesitate... Dial 999 and ask for the COASTGUARD.”