A fishing boat skipper had to be rescued in gale force weather after the vessel started taking on water and ran aground off Margate in Kent.

A fisherman has been airlifted to safety after his boat ran aground in gale force conditions off Margate, Kent.

The UK Coastguard received multiple 999 calls from the public after the vessel hit rocks.

Coastguard officials made immediate contact with the boat, using the designated emergency channel 16.

The lone skipper, who was wearing a lifejacket, informed them the vessel was taking on water.

Although the boat was only a short distance from the shore, the lifeboat was unable to be tasked due to the vessel’s precarious position on the rocks and the gale force 9 weather and rough seas.

The UK Coastguard helicopter at Lydd in Walpole Bay, Kent was immediately sent to the scene, along with the Margate Coastguard Rescue Team who tried to stabilise the vessel with ropes.

The boat, which had left Canvey Island and was heading to Ramsgate before it grounded, eventually had to be abandoned due to the bad weather.

The skipper was winched on board the helicopter and taken safely to shore.

Despite his ordeal he was uninjured and required no medical treatment.

The captain for the UK Coastguard Lydd search and rescue helicopter, Al Dale, said: “The person appeared to have been caught out by some atrocious conditions and as a result, the vessel had run aground just off Margate.”

“Despite his misfortune, the tide was on its way out and by the time Rescue 163 arrived on scene, there was a one hour window offering permissive conditions to recover him and for the Margate Coastguard Cliff Rescue Team to get a line to the boat,” continued Dale.

“The person was winched to safety and it serves as a timely reminder to have a correctly fitted life-preserver and the importance of clear distress calls when speaking to the UK Coastguard.,” stressed the captain.

The duty controller for the UK Coastguard, Bev Allen, said it was a challenging call out in “very bad weather”.

“Thankfully, the person on board was wearing a lifejacket in case the worst should happen, but our helicopter and coastguard rescue teams arrived quickly on scene and were able to bring him to a place of safety,” stated Allen.

“We’d like to thank all the members of the public who vigilantly reported this incident to the Coastguard – as their actions undoubtedly saved his life today. Margate Coastguard Rescue Team have now stabilised the vessel and made it safe,” continued the duty controller.

“We would urge people who are in difficulty, to call us immediately using Channel 16 or 999 and asking for the Coastguard. Don’t wait for things to improve because the situation could worsen and vital rescue time could be lost,” advised Allen.

The incident happened just before 9am on 7 November, 2016.