Why you should call 999 if your dog is in difficulty in the water

Lifeguards News Release

The RNLI advises dog walkers that it is important to keep themselves safe and not enter the water. Please don't become a statistic: in 2017 there were ninety-one lifeboat launches to dog-walking incidents

Rob Cass Coastal Officer

Jake Hay, Lifeguard on Camber Beach with Karen and Bertie safe on land

On Monday 15 July HM Coastguard was alerted by a member of the public who rang 999 of a lady in the water at the mouth of the River Rother. She had been thrown a life-ring and was clinging to the wooden flood defences.

The lifeguards at Camber Beach were tasked to assist her and Josh Gregory and Jake Hay drove from Camber West along the high-tide mark because of the soft sands which can so easily cause vehicles to become stuck. They were directed to the right place by four or five members of the public who were keeping Karen Thompson, the owner of the dog, calm.

Jake set off on his paddle board which is a specialised and rapidly deployable water rescue craft. All lifeguards receive targeted training for these boards. He took Karen and Bertie, her dog, on board and returned safely to the beach where she was treated for minor cuts from the barnacles on the flood defences.

When Karen recalled her experience later that afternoon she said, 'It was my first experience of walking my dog on the Nature Reserve and could so easily have ended in tragedy. I didn't know what to do but as the Press Officer at RNLI Rye Harbour explained, the safest course in these circumstances is to remain on dry land, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. I urge other dog owners to heed this advice. Bertie, a Cockapoo, saw a bird, ran off chasing it and went over the side straight into the water.

I was touched by the kindness that people showed me as I clung to the flood defences. They talked to me and kept me calm. It certainly renewed my faith in humanity. I cannot thank the RNLI lifeguards enough - they were caring and so thoughtful as was Rob Cass, the Coastal Officer, who kindly took us back to the car park at Rye Harbour. It has been a huge learning curve and in future near water I shall be keeping Bertie on a lead.’

RNLI Media contacts

Kt Bruce, Rye Harbour RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer (07789) 818878 Kt@ktbrucephotography.com

• Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk

• For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit http://www.rnli.org/. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre.

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 237 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 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.

Rob Cass Coastal Officer

Karen receiving medical treatment for minor injuries

Rob Cass Coastal Officer

Karen Thompson with Jake Hay her rescuer safe on dry land

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.

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 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.

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