THE Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Team is pleading with the public to avoid the use of inflatable toys and boats at the coast after they rescued three people after being blown over one mile off shore.

The team was called out at 10.30am following a 999 call made from a yacht advising they had found three adult males on an inflatable toy boat out at sea, two of which were requiring medical attention, with the yacht bringing the casualties back to Ardrossan Harbour as quickly as possible.

The team responded immediately with Troon Lifeboat also being launched to assist with the yacht arriving at Ardrossan Harbour a short time later.

After helping the vessel coming alongside, team members quickly boarded the vessel and began providing immediate casualty care for the injured parties, with one suffering from an arm injury and another suffering from the effects of the cold having been in the water for some time.

It then came to light that one male had been in the water for around 30 minutes in attempt to swim back ashore pulling the inflatable toy boat and its two occupants with him.

An ambulance arrived a short time later with the team providing a full medical handover to paramedics with the three men involved being left in the care of our colleagues from the Scottish Ambulance Service.

Kevin Paterson, Station Officer of the Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Team, said: "Today's callout highlights the increasing trend of people being blown out to sea on inflatable toys or boats in an off shore wind.

"This was an extremely lucky escape once again, as it was only by chance a passing yacht spotted the inflatable toy boat and were quickly able to render assistance and contact the Coastguard. If the yacht hadn't been passing the outcome would likely have been far worse.

"The persons involved were completely ill equipped for setting out to sea on any sort of vessel with inadequate clothing, no lifejackets or buoyancy aids and no means of calling for help.

"Over the past two weeks we have been involved in a number of rescues involving inflatable toys or boats being used at the coast where people have had a lucky escape - it's only a matter of time until this luck runs out.

"We are pleading with the public to never use these inflatable toys or boats at the coast - they are designed for swimming pools and not the sea."