It was a perfect sunny day in beautiful Lyme Regis bay, there was hardly anyone on the beach and the sea was perfectly calm. As I zipped my son into his wetsuit he couldn’t wait to try out his tiny rubber dinghy so he could be like the other boys he’d seen on the water the day before.
He climbed in and I watched proudly as he floated out a little way, a big grin on both our faces. But my expression quickly turned to horror as I realised the tide was stronger than I’d thought. The dinghy was floating out to sea.
Realising there was no one around to help, there was only one thing for it. There was no time to strip down to my swimsuit. ‘Stay there,’ I wailed as I waded into the sea, fully clothed, and doggy paddled my way to the dinghy, managing to catch up with it just as it was starting to head in the direction of France.
My son laughed at ‘Silly Mummy All Wet’, oblivious to his brush with danger, and as I steered the dinghy back to dry land (to the sound of clapping from the small group of strangers who had gathered on the beach to watch), gradually my heart rate returned to normal.
That was a few years ago, but it still makes me go cold to think about it. If you’re heading off to the seaside this Whitsun and your kids nag you about getting them a rubber dinghy, my advice is to ignore them… or at least, make sure they’re wearing a life jacket.
written by Liz Jarvis