AN out-of-control, jet powered surfboard needed to be retrieved by Flamborough Lifeboat after its owner lost control off the Bridlington coastline.
The Flamborough inshore lifeboat, the Elizabeth Jane Palmer, was launched at 10.05am on Saturday, June 4, after the owner of the board had swum ashore to notify coastguards that he had fallen from the board around a mile offshore, and it was still running in the water.
Initially, the craft was believed to be a jet-ski, but was in fact a type of jet board – a six-foot surf board with a motor attached – which was apparently around 20 years old.
The craft had no kill switch fitted, so it could not be stopped once its owner had lost control, and had around 2 gallons of fuel in its engine which meant it could have continued to travel unsupervised for four or five hours.
Flamborough RNLI Helmsman Simon Robson said: “It was difficult to locate the craft as it was white in colour and lay low in the water so we had to be guided to its position by the Coastguard.
“It had no safety cut off switch so the board engine was still running and moving under its own steam, which could have caused a danger to other sea going traffic in the area, especially as it was hard to see.
“This man was lucky and has now realised that he needs to fit an engine kill switch before venturing out on it again.”
The jet board was lifted aboard the lifeboat by the volunteer crew and taken back to shallow waters near the chalets at North Beach Bridlington.
The owner then waded back out to sea to be re-united with his craft, at 10.20am.
There were no injuries to the man, who left before giving his name or address to coastguards, or anyone else at sea.
Graham Dawson, Coastguard Watch Manager at the Humber Control Centre, said that he had never heard of this type of craft and warned anyone using one in the future to be more careful.
He said: “We would recommend that anyone using such a device have an engine kill switch fitted, as having something like that unmanned and out of control at sea can cause serious damage and injury if it was to collide with others.
“Using something like that would not be illegal as unfortunately there are no regulations as to what crafts people take to sea, but I would believe that manufacturing that kind of craft and selling it may be – which leads me to believe it may have been homemade.”