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Silloth RNLI lifeboat in dramatic rescue of non-swimmer trapped on vehicle roof

Lifeboats News Release

Silloth RNLI volunteers rescued a woman who could not swim from the roof of her car after the vehicle was sumberged by the incoming tide.

The lifeboat, as well as Maryport Inshore Rescue, Maryport Coastguard Search and Rescue Team and Cumbria Police were alerted to the incident by the UK Coastguard at 10.41am on Saturday (3 February).

Reports were of a women stranded in a submerged vehicle on the beach between Beckfoot and Mawbray.

Silloth RNLI lifeboat crew launched their Atlantic 85 class lifeboat Elaine and Don Wilkinson at 10.46am and made their way at best speed to the scene.

Upon arrival, the crew could see the casualty had climbed on top of a vehicle, with the sea water already higher than the level of the roof.

They quickly established a safe route around the car in order to rescue the casualty. As the lifeboat could not get close enough to the car to pick the woman up and she could not swim, one lifeboat crew member entered the water to reposition the casualty in order for the lifeboat to recover her.

Silloth RNLI shore crew who were on scene at the beach requested North West Ambulance Service backup through the UK Coastguard. The casualty was brought on board the lifeboat and was treated for mild hypothermia by the charity's volunteer crew. Fortunately she had no other injuries. She was returned to Silloth RNLI lifeboat station to await a pending ambulance paramedic, who checked her over and gave her the all clear.

Silloth RNLI Senior Helm Steve Henderson said: 'The lady was very lucky, especially with the fast incoming tide. If it had been a few later we could have been looking at a different outcome.

'The UK and Ireland have some of the biggest tidal ranges in the world and getting cut off by the tide contributes to a significant number of RNLI rescues every year.

'Our advice to anyone heading to the coast to walk or for another activity is to avoid getting cut off by the tide by checking the tide times before you go and planning your trip accordingly. While you're out always be aware of your surroundings, look for safety signage or information and notice the tide’s direction. Let people know when and where you are going and when to expect you back and always carry a means of calling for help should you get into trouble

'You can find out more information about tides in your area through tide tables, apps, weather news or local websites. You can also get local tidal information from local Harbour Masters, tourist information centres and some seaside retail outlets and you can also find tide tables and surf reports for the UK and Ireland at'

Notes to editors:

The attached video shows the rescue by Silloth RNLI. Credit RNLI/Silloth

The attached picture is a screen grab from the video showing the casualty on the roof of the submerged vehicle before she is rescued. Credit RNLI/Silloth.

For more information please contact Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Media Officer, Wales and north west England, on 07748 265496 or


The woman on the roof of the submerged vehicle before she is rescued by Silloth RNLI lifeboat volunteers

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