Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Wednesday, 28 April 2010 13:43 UK

Man rescued off Isle of Sheppey after sailing blunder

Map showing Isle of Sheppey

A lost sailor has had to be rescued after running out of fuel circling a small island when he thought he was sailing around the UK coast.

The Sheerness lifeboat and the Thames Coastguard assisted the man who ran aground off the Elmley Marshes on the Isle of Sheppey on 19 April.

With only a road map for directions, he set off on the river Medway, from Gillingham, and headed for Southampton.

But the RNLI said the man had "ended up travelling round the Isle of Sheppey".

A spokesman said: "This guy had run aground after running out of fuel. He was attempting to travel around the UK from Medway to Southampton and somehow lost his bearings and ended up travelling around the Isle of Sheppey.

"He didn't have the usual maritime charts or navigation equipment."

The man told the rescue team he had been keeping the coast to his right and had ended up sailing in circles around Sheppey.

The motor cruiser was towed to Queenborough and officers gave him advice on fuel usage.

Neville Crane, of the Isle of sheppey HM coastguard rescue team, told BBC Kent the man had owned the boat for less than a day and seemed very surprised that its fuel consumption was greater than his car.

He added: "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."

Mr Crane said: "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."

It is understood the man later attempted to continue his journey to Southampton.

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