Lifeguards have urged people to take care when using inflatable toy boats at the beach after two women were blown into a river mouth.

The beach-goers, one of whom suffered from asthma, were enjoying a day at the seaside in Littlehampton when an offshore wind blew the inflatable dinghy they were playing in away from the beach and into the busy River Arun on Monday afternoon.

On finding themselves in the busy channel, which is popular with jet skiers and boaters, the two women in their twenties jumped off their inflatable and tried to swim for shore and they were left struggling to stay afloat.

On seeing the women in distress, RNLI beach lifeguards launched their inshore rescue boat from nearby Littlehampton Beach.

Meanwhile two men in a passing motor boat stopped and managed to get the swimmers on board.

Oliver Cona, RNLI lifeguard supervisor said: “The two women were very shaken but thankfully did not suffer injuries.

“This goes to show how quickly playing in the water with an inflatable can turn into a dangerous situation.

“We’ve been called out a number of times this year to rescue people who have been swept out to sea in an inflatable dinghy.

“Our advice is not to use inflatables at the beach, particularly when there is an offshore wind.

“If you do use them, don’t go out of knee-depth water.”