Chiswick RNLI lifeboat crew rescue two people cut off by the rapidly rising tide

Lifeboats News Release

The swift rise of the flood tide on the Thames caught out two young men walking on the foreshore in Barnes. At its peak the flood tide can rise three feet in 30 minutes on the upper tideway of the Thames. Rescue by RNLI lifeboat was the only option.

Chiswick Lifeboat approaches two men cut off by the tide

RNLI/David Clarke

Chiswick Lifeboat approaches two men cut off by the tide

While on exercise Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat crew were called to a report of people cut off by the tide in Barnes. When they arrived the found two young men wedged against the river wall on the few remaining inches of dry surface. Although fire-fighters were attending above, they were unable to assist because of the overhang of the river wall and the sloping surface which made it impossible to use their ladders.

The lifeboat crew were able to evacuate the young men onto the lifeboat just before the tide came over their feet. They were fitted with lifejackets and after the crew assessed that they were uninjured the men were landed safely at the steps by the White Hart pub.

Chiswick RNLI Helmsman Steve Alexander commented ‘Many people who go on the foreshore are not aware that the Thames is tidal this far from the sea, and certainly are not aware that the tide floods twice as quickly as it ebbs, meaning that the dry foreshore can disappear very rapidly. If in difficulty on the river call 999 and ask for the coastguard. The lifeboat can be there in a few minutes’

Chiswick RNLI lifeboat station is the second busiest in the UK and Ireland. Since The RNLI search and rescue service on the Thames started in 2002, Chiswick Lifeboat has attended one 3,200 incidents and rescued over 1,620 people. The RNLI is entirely funded by public donations.

RNLI media contacts

  • David Clarke RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer (Chiswick), 07951 21 0500 David_Clarke@rnli.org.uk
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207416, 07786 668825, paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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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 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.

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