Whilst Hartlepool RNLI volunteer crew members were preparing to head out to sea for a training exercise from the Ferry Road boathouse recently they were joined by a seal pup that hauled itself out the water and laid out on a nearby concrete block to watch the proceedings whilst sunning itself.
Volunteer crewmember Mark Barker said 'The seal pup just laid there watching us getting the boat ready for the exercise and was still there when we returned later that morning. We decided to call it 'Snowy' as it had been snowing earlier in the day. We see quite a few seal pups around the area and they usually swim off if we get too close but this one was obviously not too bothered about us. Despite its cuteness we kept our distance and left the pup to have a rest and soak up the sun before it returned to the sea'.
Pics by Tom Collins
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.