Dunbar RNLI assist dog walkers caught out by high tide

Lifeboats News Release

Dunbar RNLI lifeboat volunteers rescued two people and their dog from the foot of steep cliffs after they were cut off by a high tide and in strong winds on Saturday (August 31).

Dunbar ILB races through rough conditions to locate casualty. Blue skies overhead and excellent visibility. The azure blue sea is rough and capped with many white horses. The bright orange boat with it's bow risen in the surf travels from right to left and is followed by a heavy wake that is broken by the strong wind creating a lot of spray. 4 crew members are visible on board.

RNLI/Nick Mailer

Dunbar ILB - Jimmy Miff

UK Coastguard requested the assistance of both Dunbar’s inshore (ILB) and all weather (ALB) lifeboats at 2.45pm after the walkers found themselves stranded on the rugged coastline near Bilsdean, southeast of Torness.

The volunteer crew quickly arrived at Dunbar lifeboat station and began coordinating their rescue efforts. The ILB launched from the harbour just five minutes after the initial call and the ALB left its mooring at Torness Power Station ten minutes later.

The two dog walkers had raised the alarm after becoming stuck on steep ground with the rising tide and very strong winds hindering their ability to make it safely back to dry land.

Against a strong northerly winds, the ILB made the eight mile journey through very rough conditions, joining the ALB at Torness just as they were launching. Both boats travelled further south to Bilsdean and after a short shoreline search by the ILB the casualties were spotted and the crew began planning the safest route for recovery.

The ILB helm skilfully dropped two of his crew ashore to assess and reassure the casualties. With both casualties and their dog being unharmed and able bodied they made a short traverse of the shore to a safe and more sheltered spot to recover onto the ILB.

Grateful to be out of immediate danger, the casualties were transferred to the awaiting ALB and transported to Dunbar Harbour where they met with Coastguard teams from Dunbar, Eyemouth and Berwick for further checks to their health and well-being.

With both casualties and their dog safely ashore and in good health the ILB and ALB were stood down and happily returned to station to dry off.

A spokesperson for Dunbar RNLI said, 'We have a lot of beautiful and dramatic coastline along the south east coast which is a joy to explore most of the time. However, today’s incident highlights that, even when prepared with tide times and knowledge of the area, many external factors can have an impact upon your safety. “The strong winds today provide a prime example of this, as in effect, the wind pinned the casualties to their somewhat precarious location while the tide quickly rose around them. Thankfully they were able to recognise their limits and called the Coastguard for help: two factors that greatly added to the happy outcome to today’s callout.'

Dunbar ALB races through rough conditions to locate casualty. Blue skies overhead and excellent visibility. The azure blue sea is rough and capped with many white horses. The bright orange boat punches through the waves traveling from right to left and is followed by a heavy wake that is broken by the strong wind creating a lot of spray. The coxwain is visible in the upper steering position at the top of the boat.

RNLI/Nick Mailer

Dunbar ALB - John Neville Taylor
Two crew members sit at the bow of the ILB. The crew member on the right has his arm raised and is pointing at the shoreline. In the distance, beyond the white helmets and yellow suits of the crew, the shore is visibly rough and ragged with low cliffs rising straight from the sea. Torness power station is visible in the distance on the far right. The sky is blue and dotted with small cumulonimbus clouds.

RNLI/Kieran Fairbairn

Crew members locate the casualty.
A crew member is seen guiding a casualty over a rocky surface. In the immediate foreground a second crew member hold firmly onto the casualty's hand. The ILB is seen in the distance with it's nose onto the shore, ready to recover casualty onboard.

RNLI/Kieran Fairbairn

Crew assist casualty off rocks.

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 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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.