Half term safety message from dog walker rescued by Rhyl RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

As schools across Wales prepare for the half term break next week, the RNLI is urging coastal visitors to be extra cautious due to higher than usual tides this weekend.

This makes it very easy to become stranded in gullies and on sandbanks, which is a common cause of call out for RNLI volunteer crews across the country.

Susan Beetlestone from Denbighshire knows from first hand experience how a trip to the coast can soon take an unexpected turn. The mobile dog groomer was out walking her two dogs Jerry and Bazz along Barkby beach when spaniel Jerry, decided to end the walk by chasing seagulls along the water’s edge. Susan was so preoccupied with retrieving her treasured two-year-old pet, she was oblivious to the tide coming in around her.

Susan says:

‘I’ve lived just outside Prestatyn for 24 years and regularly walk the dogs at Ffirth beach but fancied a change this day. This is the first time I’ve ever in my life had to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. I was so focussed on getting Jerry back, I completely forgot about the tide.

‘I couldn’t run quicker than the water which was surrounding us. Walking became very heavy as my feet were sinking into the sand with every step. In one moment Jerry was on sand the next he looked like a statue facing out to sea. He was petrified and shaking uncontrollably. When I finally reached him, I was trapped with the water up to my thighs.

‘Panic set in and I started to have an asthma attack and was not carrying an inhaler. I was told I did the right think in calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard straight away. I’m just so grateful I had my mobile phone with me, I honestly do not know what would have happened if it had become submerged. They stayed on the phone with me as I was in a complete panic and my breathing was so erratic. Safe to say what a relief it was to see the RNLI lifeboat coming towards me. They monitored my heart rate and gave me oxygen until my condition stabilised. I’m still shook up but wow what a service. I already give to the cause but hopefully sharing my story will also help by spreading the message about tides and the need to be extra cautious.’

With the peak Spring tide this Friday 22 October, high tides will be higher and low tides lower than usual over this weekend 23 – 24 October. The RNLI predicts an increase in people out enjoying the coast during this weekend, in the run up to the school break. The lifesaving charity is urging people to check the weather and tides before visiting the coast.

RNLI statistics for Wales show people getting cut off by the tide caused almost 10% of all RNLI lifeboat launches over the last decade - more than double the UK average. Lifeguards rescue hundreds more stranded people every year.

RNLI Water Safety Lead Chris Cousens says:

‘RNLI lifeboats around the Welsh coast are ready to respond to emergency situations, but we are urging people to think very carefully about beach safety. People becoming cut off by the tide makes up a greater proportion of lifeguard and lifeboat rescues here in Wales than other areas of the UK. We’d urge people to think carefully before setting off on a coastal walk, especially during the big Spring tides.

‘The tide comes in and out twice in each 24 hour period, and while tide times can be accurately predicted, they vary at each location and change each day. A beach or coastal area may appear a safe place for a walk, but incoming tide can quickly leave you stranded. On bigger tides like we will see in the run up the holiday, places will be cut off by the tide quicker than normal and places usually unaffected by the tide may also be cut off. We are expecting more visitors to the coast ahead of the half term, so the message is more important that every.

‘Checking the weather and tides using a trusted online source, such as magicseaweed.com, the BBC weather or a tidal prediction app before setting off on any trip is essential. However, we realise that people setting out on a walk may not have that understanding of what the tide time means to them. For this reason we were keen to share time-lapse footage to clearly illustrate how sandbanks and gullies can very quickly become flooded by the tide.’

The RNLI is urging anyone choosing to visit the coast to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice

· Wherever you are, check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks

· If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float.

· Always carry a mobile phone or other means of calling for help,

· In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Notes to Editors

Susan recently returned to Rhyl RNLI Lifeboat Station to meet her rescuers and image and film were captured.

RNLI media contact

For more information contact Danielle Rush on 07786 668829 or 01202 336789 or email PressOffice@rnli.org.uk.

RNLI/Callum Robinson

Susan and her dogs meet with her rescuer Vinnie Jones at Rhyl RNLI for the first time since the incident


Susan is handed an inhaler by RNLI crew during the rescue

RNLI/Callum Robinson

Susan and Vinnie reunited at Rhyl RNLI are calling on people to think carefully about their own safety this half term.

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.