A broken down boat had to be rescued after it was dragged more than a mile out to sea by the outgoing tide.

The speedboat had left Two Tree Island yesterday but suffered engine failure when it got close to Mulberry Harbour.

The Southend coastguard was informed of the problem via its counterparts in Dover and was asked to keep an eye on the vessel while the RNLI began a rescue operation.

It launched a lifeboat from Southend Pier and was able to intercept the broken speedboat which was being swept out to sea by the outgoing tide.

A coastguard spokesman said: “The two persons on board were then transferred over to the safety of the lifeboat and then taken undertow back to Two Tree Island.

“We would like to thank the skipper of vessel ‘La Pecheur’ which was in the area and stayed alongside the casualty vessel whilst waiting for the RNLI.”

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The coastguard was also called out to reports of swimmers in distress around 9.30pm yesterday.

The swimmers were spotted a mile offshore near Barge Pier in Shoebury but were found safely ashore when the coastguard arrived.

It was later discovered the people in the water were qualified paddleboarders and had been enjoying a late night paddle.

The coastguard was stood down and the incident classified as a false alarm.