A father has been praised for saving his family after their boat started sinking off Torbay.

A baby is rescued by a Torbay RNLI lifeboat crew near Torquay. Photo: RNLI TorbayA baby is rescued by a Torbay RNLI lifeboat crew near Torquay. Photo: RNLI Torbay

He ran the 24ft vessel aground on rocks at Torquay allowing his family including a baby and three other children to get to safety.

The family was then rescued by lifeboats and taken ashore.

The man managed to sink the boat near the natural feature on the coast known as London Bridge.

A total of six people were reported to have been rescued in the incident on Tuesday afternoon.

RNLI Torbay coxswain Mark Criddle said: “This man did absolutely the right thing in running their boat onto the rocks where they all managed to scramble to safety.

“We launched both RNLI Torbay lifeboats to the scene because their position was unsure and we knew we had to find them quickly.

“When we arrived on scene our volunteers ferried the young children one by one to the safety of our all-weather lifeboat, followed by the adults.

“The family were distressed but otherwise unharmed although their vessel could not be saved. This man’s quick thinking saved his family’s life.”

Two boats from the Torbay Harbour Authority went to the scene to recover debris and disperse spilled fuel.

A light diesel slick 25m by 150m was reported to be spreading from the vessel, reported to be a former commercial fishing boat called Sea Breeze.

The boat was due to be recovered yesterday by a contractor called in by the harbour authority.

The Torbay Council team was also issuing a Notice to Mariners to warn them of the hazard from the sunken boat.