The Medway estuary was the scene for a dramatic air rescue today after a boat got stuck in the mud.
Coastguard crews were alerted at 2.30pm when an eight-tonne fishing boat blew off-course into the shallow Stoke Creek.
On board was a 60-year-old man from the Hoo area, who was thought to be taking his first trip back on the water after a recent stroke.
He was accompanied by his son-in-law but had left medication on dry land, so two coastguard officers rowed out with the tablets in a small boat.
One of the officers, Medway Coastguard deputy station manager Richard Rodgers, said: "Normally we would have waited for the tide to rise but given the health condition, we didn't want to leave them out there for 10 hours.
"We donned dry suits with lifejackets, borrowed a small tender from a boat owner and rowed out while we waited for the helicopter."
All four of the men were then winched into the coastguard's Rescue 104 helicopter which had flown from Lee-on-the-Solent, near Portsmouth (pictured).
It slowly lifted them from the fishing boat one by one, then landed in a field near Lower Stoke, with the whole operation ending just after 5pm.
The men on the boat were uninjured and did not need medical attention.
The boat will be re-floated tomorrow.
Mr Rodgers said: "The man was a bit embarrassed but there's no need to be. People get blown onto the mud all the time, that's what we're here for."
He added: "It was quite an unusual afternoon for us."