Donate now

Minehead RNLI rescue trapped beach walker and his dog

Lifeboats News Release

New warnings about checking the tides before exploring the Exmoor coastline have been issued following the rescue of a walker and his dog by two RNLI Iifeboats on Sunday evening.

The man became trapped among rocks at the foot of 800-high cliffs as he tried to make his way from Hurlestone Point to Minehead.

He was spotted by the skipper of a passing fishing boat who raised the alarm and both Minehead lifeboats were launched.

By the time they arrived on scene a strengthening onshore wind was driving breakers onto the rocks making it impossible for the D class to put ashore.

But crew member Phil Sanderson swam in to the man and guided him back to a small pebble beach so the boat could be veered down to take him off.

Walker and dog were immediately transferred to the station’s Atlantic 85 and landed minutes later at Minehead harbour, wet but unharmed.

Minehead RNLI’s Local Operations Manager Dr John Higgie said the rescue had gone without a hitch despite the challenging conditions – mainly because the crews had dealt with many such incidents before.

“This is possibly the most inhospitable stretch of coastline on our patch: three miles of nothing but rocks and boulders and only a few yards between the sea and the base of the cliffs at high tide,” he said.

“There are only two locations where climbing the cliffs is possible and then only if you have local knowledge. And at one point the tide comes in right to the cliff face, which is where the casualty became trapped.

“If you are fit it is possible to scramble along from Hurlestone Point to Minehead but because of the nature of the beach it is always going to take longer than a map might suggest and I’m afraid the casualty was just one of many who have failed to allow enough time to beat the incoming tide.

“It was a bit of a frightening experience for him and his dog but I’m relieved we were alerted in time to get them out of trouble.”


Further information from: Chris Rundle, Press Office, RNLI Minehead 01984 639026/07786 630523

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 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.