Dog walkers rescued from mud and rising tide by Hoylake RNLI hovercraft

Lifeboats News Release

A walk on the beach turned into an emergency for two dog walkers on Wednesday 9 December after they found themselves stuck in the mud and up to their waists in water in Leasowe Bay.

The dog walkers had taken their eight dogs out across the Wirral beach when they found themselves in difficulty. They were unable to move in thick mud and with the tide flooding in, the UK Coastguard were alerted and requested that the Hoylake RNLI hovercraft launch to assist.

Hoylake RNLI’s volunteer crew were paged at 2.01pm and quicky launched their Inshore Rescue Hovercraft Hurley Spirit. The hovercraft and her crew headed to the scene and found the casualties sat down chest-deep in the water about 20 metres away from the sand, where their dogs were being looked after by a member of the public and Merseyside Police officers.

With the tide rising and the casualties stuck fast, hovercraft crew members entered the water and worked quickly to free the dog walkers from the mud. The casualties were supported in the water by the Hoylake RNLI crew and brought on board the hovercraft. The crew carried out a medical assessment and other than feeling the effects of the cold, the casualties fortunately required no immediate medical attention.

The dogs were understandably keen to be with the casualties and four made their way out to the hovercraft. They were brought on board by the RNLI crew while the others were secured with help from Merseyside Police. The hovercraft then flew the casualties and their canine companions to the shore, where they were transferred into the care of North West Ambulance Service paramedics and the Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team.

Hoylake RNLI hovercraft commander Harry Jones said: ‘This was a challenging rescue for the hovercraft crew, where every second counted to free the casualties from the mud. With the tide still flooding in quickly, it was lucky that the hovercraft could reach them in time for our crew to free them and bring them to safety – otherwise the outcome could have been very different.’

‘Leasowe Bay can be a dangerous stretch of beach so if you are heading out, please always check the tide times and local safety signage and know your route to safety. Keep an eye on your surroundings and always carry a means of calling for help. In an emergency, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

Harry added: ‘If you get stuck in the mud, try to spread your weight as evenly as possible across the surface, avoid moving and stay as calm as you can. It’s also important to discourage others from trying to rescue you as they may become stuck too.’

It has been one of Hoylake RNLI’s busiest years on record for emergency call-outs, where the easing of Coronavirus restrictions saw many people heading to the Wirral and Merseyside coasts.

The RNLI advises the public to check safety advice and information about the risks around our coast, which can be found at

Hoylake RNLI

Hoylake RNLI's volunteer hovercraft crew freed the dog walkers from the mud and rising tide

Hoylake RNLI

Hoylake RNLI hovercraft found the casualties sat chest-deep in the rising water

Hoylake RNLI

The dogs were keen to be with the casualties and some headed out to the hovercraft

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.

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