View as PDF

Unusual service for Port Talbot RNLI to help beached dolphin back to sea

Lifeboats News Release

Port Talbot RNLI lifeboat was tasked at 8.58am on Tuesday (18 July) to assist in the rescue of a stranded dolphin.

The dolphin being released back into the sea by the Port Talbot RNLI lifeboat crew and a marine mammal officer

RNLI/Port Talbot

The dolphin being released back into the sea by the Port Talbot RNLI lifeboat crew and a marine mammal officer

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

Heading down to the sea

RNLI/Mel Cooper

The dolphin in the ambulance pouch

RNLI/Chris Cousens

The dolphin followed by the lifeboat heads out to sea apparently none the worse for his stranding on the beach

RNLI/Mel Cooper

The Dolphin Heads Out To Sea

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

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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