A SEASONED sailor who was knocked into the harbour by his mobility scooter is thanking ambulance crews and boat owners who rescued him.

Brian Wilkins, 84, of Weymouth, took a plunge when his scooter - affectionately known as 'Humphrey' - reversed into him while he was climbing aboard his yacht, Avalon.

Mr Wilkins, who lives on Old Castle Road, is an honorary member of Castle Cove sailing club along with wife Joan, and usually drives his scooter along the pontoon to access Avalon without a hiccup - and even has a special step built to help him onto the 32 ft yacht.

However, on this occasion, he accidentally grabbed the reverse handle, knocking him into the marina.

"I was shouting as loud as I can", Brian said.

"I heard somebody say "I think there's someone in the water."

"I didn't have the strength to get onto the bottom of the ladder - three or four people grabbed hold of me and pulled me onto the pontoon.

"I didn't feel the cold - I was just embarrassed - my red face must have kept me warm.

"Someone brought me a cup of tea, and with that a paramedic ran along the pontoon and said "no he can't have that!"

"It was a moment of stupidity - if I'd turned the engine off I wouldn't have had this problem and half the world wouldn't be saying "have you been swimming Brian?"

Mr Wilkins praised the quick response and expressed gratitude to the many people who came to his rescue.

"I'd like to thank the chaps from the boats who pulled me out; the harbour master's crew and the ambulance team, who got both me and Humphrey into the ambulance and drove us home.

"The response was brilliant - it just shows what a super town we live in."

Despite having recently suffered a seizure, Mr Wilkins kept a sense of humour about the situation.

"I went to skittles this week and every player - about 15 of them - wanted to know if I enjoyed my swim. So it's all been quite fun", he said.

"The worst bit is I lost my false teeth - that'll cost £350."

Brian's wife Joan Wilkins said: "I got a phone call and Brian said, "hello - I'm in an ambulance.

"He's got so many health problems - people couldn't believe he'd fallen in the water.

"When they came into the house the paramedic drove his scooter up the lane and said "I hope I do something like that when I'm that age"".