West Kirby volunteers experience a flurry of shouts in the last days of 2019

Lifeboats News Release

West Kirby Royal National Lifeboat Institution volunteers report a busy end to 2019.

The charity’s D class lifeboat Seahorse was launched four times in five days over the festive period, three in the latter days of 2019 and one on the first of 2020.

A combination of factors that included excellent sunny calm weather and high spring tides over the holiday period resulted in an increase in visitors to West Kirby and the Hilbre islands.

Three of the launches resulted in rescues, the number of people and animals saved over the rescues totalled six adults, one child and a large dog. One of the launches was recalled as the people who were reported to be in distress managed to chance the incoming tide and fortunately waded to the safety of the shore.

The grateful people rescued from two of the launches visited the boathouse afterwards and made donations to the RNLI charity.

If you are intending to visit Hilbre Island please consider the following advice.

Check the weather it can change in minutes and wear or take with you, appropriate reserve clothing and sustenance for the journey and a means of communication as there are no services in terms of refreshment or shelter other than a toilet.

Check the tide time with a reliable source e.g. local media or HM Coastguard.

Be aware of the danger time that is three hours either side of High Water, therefore please do not embark on a trip to or leave the island during this time.

Follow the route advice posted by the promenade; walk directly out to Little Eye from the car park at the North End of the Marine Lake, walk behind Little Eye towards Middle Eye, either walk over the top of Middle Eye following the marked route, or remain on the eastern shore-side of the island then directly over the causeway between Middle and Hilbre Island. Take care with foot placement as the rocks can be wet muddy and slippery. Then proceed directly onto Hilbre Island following the lane over the island. Please stay away from the extremities as the edges are prone to erosion and therefore unstable.

If you are leading a group, or the most knowledgeable person in the group, please consider the ability or limitations of the most vulnerable person in your company. The entire walk from the car park at the North end of the marine lake to the disused lifeboat station on the North end of the island is a 45-minute strenuous trek for a fit person each way.

If you find yourself in trouble, confused or anxious that you may have left it too late to return to the mainland safely, stay where you are and contact HM Coastguard on 999.

NEVER blindly follow other people out to the island as they may not be aware of the dangers, find out your own information and plan your own trip considering the capabilities of the group you are travelling with.

NEVER try to race the incoming tide as without extensive local knowledge of how the tide floods and whether the tides are on the spring or neap cycle you could find yourself stranded then engulfed by the incoming tide that can advance faster than walking speed on springs and even faster with a following wind.

That said, please don’t be discouraged from visiting the islands, they are a magical and beautiful location with amazing wildlife and fauna to experience, just take care and follow the advice.

RNLI media contact

For more information contact Ed Rowland, West Kirby RNLI Deputy Launching Authority and Lifeboat Press Officer on 07429277294.

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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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.