A WOMAN was rescued by a fellow swimmer after she got into difficulty at sea.

The woman, in her late 20s, was swimming off Charmouth beach but got into trouble due to a strong undertow.

People on the beach threw lifebuoys towards her but she was too far out - in the end another swimmer came to her aid.

Volunteers from the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) were first alerted to the incident and coastguards were informed.

The inshore lifeboat from Lyme Regis RNLI and the coastguard helicopter from St Athan were sent to the scene.

A spokesperson for the NCI Charmouth said: "Early afternoon, Friday, a member of the public reported a swimmer in difficulty to the watchkeeper on duty in the lookout, NCI Charmouth and the coastguard were informed.

"The beach attendants had thrown lifebuoys towards the casualty but without success, as the swimmer was too far out.

"Our understanding is that the waves were striking the sea wall, thus creating a strong undertow on their return, which prevented the swimmer from being able to return to the beach.

"The casualty was aided ashore with the assistance of a fellow swimmer, suitably kitted out in a wetsuit, before any emergency services arrived.

"Fortunately, the swimmer did not require first aid or medical attention.

"It’s an appropriate time to remind members of the public to ‘Respect the Water’ and stay safe at the coast."

A spokesperson for the Marine Coastguard Agency said: "HM Coastguard responded to reports of a swimmer in difficulty off Charmouth on Friday, January 19.

"We were alerted at around 12.45pm, the inshore lifeboat from Lyme Regis RNLI and the Coastguard helicopter from St Athan were sent to the scene. The swimmer was assisted to shore."

The NCI Charmouth has issued the following advice on keeping safe if you go swimming at sea:

  • Check weather and tides especially wind conditions before you head out and be aware of rip tides around you
  • Tell someone else where you’re going and when you’ll be back
  • Carry a phone in a waterproof pouch and keep it on you
  • Choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the flags
  • Wear a suitable lifejacket or buoyancy aid
  • If you’re in trouble in the water, remember - float to live
  • If you get into difficulty dial 999 and ask for the coastguard