Unusual service for Port Talbot RNLI to help beached dolphin back to sea
Port Talbot RNLI lifeboat was tasked at 8.58am on Tuesday (18 July) to assist in the rescue of a stranded dolphin.
The six foot dolphin had been spotted by a dog walker at approx 6.30am, stranded on the small side of the beach close to the River Afan, approx 400 metres from the sea.
Local residents together with Port Talbot Coastguard Rescue Team were first on scene and the dolphin was covered with wet towels and was kept doused with buckets of water.
At the request of marine mammal officer and a representative of the RSPCA who had arrived on scene the lifeboat and shore crew were called out to assist.
It was decided that they best way to get the dolphin back to the sea was to use the lifeboat's ambulance pouch together with the oars off the lifeboat through the handles. The first job was to get the mammal onto the ambulance pouch, which was quite difficult as it was quite lively, but this was eventually achieved.
After the vet had given the mammal a check over it was picked up and carried to the water's edge.
The lifeboat, which was just off shore was brought into the beach and the ambulance pouch was tied up to the side of the lifeboat with the mammal inside it. The lifeboat, with a marine official on board, then proceeded out to deep water where one side of the pouch was lowered and the dolphin entered the water.
At first, for about 15 minutes, it just floated alongside the lifeboat but then with a flick of its tail it headed out to sea.
Notes to editors:
The attached pictures, which should be credited to RNLI/Port Talbot show:
- The dolphin being released back into the sea by the Port Talbot RNLI lifeboat crew and a marine mammal officer
- The dolphin in the lifeboat's ambulance pouch which was used as a makeshift stretcher.
- The dolphin on the beach being cared for by members of the Port Talbot Coastguard Rescue Team and members of the public.
- The dolphin heads back out to sea apparently none the worse for his time on the beach
For more information please contact Mel Cooper, Port Talbot RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07814 985057 or Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West, on 07748 265496 or 01745 585162 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.