Man thought he was sailing around Britain

A hapless motorboater has had to be rescued by a lifeboat after repeatedly circling the Isle of Sheppey thinking he was sailing around the UK coast.

The unnamed man left Gillingham on April 18, armed only with a road map and a VHF radio, which he did not know how to work.

He was attempting to get to Southampton in the boat, which he had owned for less than day, and thought to get there he would simply have to keep the land on his right.

But after exiting the River Medway, his method led to him sailing round the eight-mile wide Kent island.

He went in circles around Sheppey, until 36 hours later he ran out of fuel and had to be rescued by the Sheerness lifeboat, after running aground off the Elmley Marshes.

Neville Crane, of the Isle of Sheppey HMS Coastguard team, said: “He was very short on expertise, even shorter on safety equipment and had no navigational equipment whatsoever on board.

“He was absolutely aghast that he had used three tanks of fuel to get from Gillingham to Elmley, which was only the very first part of his journey to Southampton, when he could do the whole journey by car in less than one tank.

“He had no idea of the magnitude of the journey he was undertaking. We did tell him where places to refuel his boat will be situated, but we did impart the invaluable advice that in our opinion he’d be better off making the journey by train.”

Despite this advice, it is thought the man was planning on refuelling his boat and trying again, although he asked another of his rescuers, Ian Goodwin, “if it is left or right when I get out of the Swale”.

BBC Kent has more information on the motorboater’s trip around Sheppey, including the full interview with Neville Crane.