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Lucky escape for woman trying to rescue dog at Scarborough

Lifeboats News Release

A 40-year-old local woman was lucky to escape with her life when she entered the sea to try and retrieve a dog on 28 February.

The coastguard called out Scarborough RNLI at 5.43pm in response to reports of a woman in the water near the Spa, at the peak of a high spring tide.

Fortunately, the sea was calm and the inshore lifeboat was already out on exercise.

The lifeboat was on scene within minutes and found the woman holding on to a lifebelt which had been thrown to her by a member of the public.

She was also clutching her small dog, which she had been trying to rescue.

'The casualty was clinging to the lifebelt and starting to go under because of the backwash from the Spa wall,' said helmsman Matt Marks, on his first shout.

The crew of three pulled the woman and her dog into the lifeboat and took them to the nearby beach, where an ambulance was waiting.

John Senior, lifeboat operations manager, said: 'We are delighted that this service had a positive outcome but we can’t stress too much or too often how important it is not to try and rescue animals that have entered the sea, as they nearly always manage to make their own way out unaided.

'The crew's actions were exemplary and their calm professionalism and quick thinking means that a life was saved tonight.'

RNLI media contact

Dave Barry, Scarborough RNLI press officer, 07890 322992

Notes to editors

Scarborough RNLI’s all-weather Shannon-class lifeboat Frederick William Plaxton came into service on 19 December 2016.

It took over from the Mersey-class lifeboat Fanny Victoria Wilkinson and Frank Stubbs, which after 25 years’ service had reached the end of its operational life.

The £2m Shannon lifeboat was funded by donations from the FW Plaxton Charitable Trust.

The trust was set up following the death of Frederic ‘Eric’ Plaxton to ensure that the proceeds of his estate be applied to charitable purposes for the benefit of the inhabitants of Scarborough, in memory of his father.

Frederick William Plaxton was the founder of Scarborough-based coach building firm Plaxton Ltd, and the new lifeboat has been named in his memory.

The Shannon lifeboat

• The Shannon lifeboat is the first modern RNLI all-weather lifeboat to be powered by water jets and not propellers.

• Capable of 25 knots, the Shannon is 50% faster than the lifeboats it replaces – ensuring that those in need are reached even faster.

The following stations also have, or will be getting, a Shannon-class lifeboat: Amble, Dungeness, Exmouth, Fleetwood, Hoylake, Ilfracombe, Lowestoft, Montrose, St Ives, Swanage, Montrose, Lough Swilly, Douglas, Llandudno, Skegness, Selsey, Wells and Workington. Other stations are yet to be confirmed.

Launch and recovery

• The Shannon needs a bespoke launch and recovery system. It is designed to be mostly launched and recovered from a beach, but can’t do it without the right launching equipment.

The RNLI has developed a system capable of launching and recovering the Shannon lifeboat from the beach at all states of tide.

• The total cost of the Shannon launch and recovery system is £1.5m. Scarborough’s was part-funded by two legacies. An appeal raised the remaining £200,000.

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


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