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Rye Harbour RNLI lifeboat launched to save exhausted gun dog in harbour entrance

Lifeboats News Release

Volunteer lifeboat crew member from Rye Harbour RNLI were called out by Harbour Master, James Bateman, to rescue a dog in distress 200 yards from the dangerous harbour entrance.

The dog, Marni, a Hungarian Biszla, had gone into the river shortly after low tide on Monday (11 July) morning and was soon in difficulty due to the high training walls, which hold back the river bank, and deep mud near the river entrance.

The crew launched at 12.56pm and she had been in the water for well over an hour before the RNLI volunteer crew quickly located her and managed to get her safely onboard the lifeboat.

It was the third time this year that Rye Harbour’s inshore lifeboat Alexander has been launched to rescue a dog from the river.

Richard Tollett, Rye Harbour RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘Marni was clearly in distress and shivering before the crew managed to wrap her in a blanket and console her. Her owner, Sandy Blackman of St. Leonards, did the right thing in contacting the emergency services and not trying to enter the river herself, which could have been very dangerous due to the mud and currents in the harbour entrance.’

The RNLI is currently running a national safety campaign called Respect the Water in a bid to reduce the number of accidental drownings around the coast of the UK. One of the campaign messages is aimed at making people think carefully and assess the potential dangers of entering the water without the necessary preparation or equipment.

Richard continued: ‘We would advise people to keep away from the edge of the water and stick to designated paths and safety signs. If exploring the coastline, always get local advice on the tide and the sea conditions and be mindful of tides, waves and rip currents. We would urge pet owners not to enter the water in this type of situation too, but to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

Mrs Blackman was full of praise for the volunteer crew calling them ‘her heroes’ and will return to Rye Harbour RNLI Lifeboat Station for its open day on 23 July to help raise funds for its new lifeboat.

Notes to editors

• Rye Harbour RNLI open day takes place on Saturday 23 July from 10am to 3pm

RNLI media contacts

• Steve Griffin, RNLI Rye Harbour Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
07710 297606/
• Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/South East/East)
0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 /
• Sophie Coller-Neilsen, RNLI Press Officer (London/South East/East)
0207 6207416 / 07824 416615 /
• For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland