A man who had fallen overboard from a small boat in strong winds was rescued by an off-duty RNLI lifeguard who was out kitesurfing.

Casey Burges spotted the capsizing boat from the beach 600m away. Using his kite, Casey managed to ‘body drag’ the casualty to safety using his kite. The rescued man was competing in a sailing event in Christchurch when his boat capsized.

From Highcliffe Beach, Casey saw the small one-man sailing boat had capsized with no-one visible nearby. Thanks to his training and water sports knowledge, the qualified kite-surfing instructor knew whoever was on board would now be taken out to sea.

Casey, who is a member of the Boscombe RNLI lifeguard team, says: ‘I was just really lucky to be there and able to help out. It was great to put the RNLI training into practice and make a difference to someone.’

Casey’s mum even helped out with the rescue. Casey added: ‘Mum was on the beach that day too so she looked after the man and gave him a lift back to the sailing club while I let everyone looking for him know that he was safe. She was really brilliant.’

Using his kite to travel over to the boat, Casey spent five minutes searching for the sailor. He found the man fully conscious but very tired.

Immediately ditching his board in the water, Casey got the man to hold onto the back of his harness and, for 10 minutes, used his kite to drag the two of them back ashore to safety.

Mike Winter, lifeguard supervisor for Boscombe, said: ‘What Casey did was extremely brave and he did a brilliant job – and to save a life using just kite-surfing equipment is nothing short of spectacular.’

The RNLI are running a national campaign encouraging people to Respect The Water. For more information on how to stay safe by or in the sea, visit www.respectthewater.com