Saved from the Waves: New book showcases amazing animal rescues from the RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

A new book has launched which details first-hand accounts from RNLI lifesavers about some of the most dramatic and heart-warming animal rescues that they have carried out across the UK and Ireland.

Saved from the Waves takes the reader on a journey with RNLI lifesavers, as they face a myriad of dangers to save beloved pets, wildlife and livestock. From saving a walrus in Tenby, a stranded black cat in Chiswick to a seal pup caught between the rocks in Port Talbot, this book demonstrates how the RNLI crew will stop at nothing to save lives.

This remarkable book shines a light on the bravery of RNLI lifesavers, and the necessity of these rescues, not only to save animals at risk of drowning, but to prevent people putting themselves in danger when trying to save a cherished furry friend. Each mission requires courage, determination and an unrelenting commitment to helping those in danger.

The new book goes on sale on Thursday 14 April 2022, with royalties from all sales supporting the lifesaving charity.

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, said: ‘Saved from the Waves is a heart-warming collection of stories which highlights the bravery of our crew when it comes to saving lives, whether that is a person or their pet. As a dog owner, I can identify with anyone who would instinctively head into the water to rescue their pet and we know only too well there’s a chance their fellow humans will enter the water to attempt a rescue themselves. This can and has led to tragedy. As such, many of the rescues featured in this book have indirectly saved human lives.’

The new book includes incredible stories, like Phil John’s, a Coxswain at the RNLI’s Tenby Lifeboat Station. Phil was shocked when a walrus made the station slipway his home for over a month in 2021. Wally the Walrus became a local celebrity after he made himself at home at the station. Although locals were excited to spot him, it made things very difficult for the crew when they needed to launch.

Phil John said: ‘As soon as I saw the walrus on the station slipway, I knew how many problems this could cause us. We didn’t know how we would launch if there was a shout, or how to move him. Any launch time that is delayed puts lives at risk.

‘I’d read that walruses are affected by noise, so after consulting with the RSPCA, we tried scraping a long metal pole across our slip. It made quite a racket and quickly worked! However, he soon got used to it and eventually we had to use an air horn to get him to move!

‘We had a lot of shouts whilst he was on the slipway. We were constantly worried about how we would get to a drowning child or a sinking boat with a 600lb animal blocking our way. Finally, over a month after he first showed up, he just disappeared. Until he was next sighted near the RNLI Padstow Lifeboat Station!’

It also includes a story about crew at RNLI Chiswick Lifeboat Station, who helped rescue a black cat on a rapidly diminishing patch of shingle at the foot of a 6m high river wall.

The black cat greeted the crew by snarling and spitting, and then tried to climb the sheer wall. They finally managed to get hold of the cat, only for it to start swimming away. After wading in and some gentle encouragement, they managed to wrap it in a blanket and took him onto the lifeboat. The cat was brought ashore and released unharmed. In true Tom and Jerry-style, the cat then shot off after being chased by a dog.

Steve Backshall, explorer, presenter and writer, wrote the foreword for the book. He said: ‘I have always been grateful to the RNLI. My career as a wildlife broadcaster and my passion for marine life have often taken me on and in the water around our coasts. To know that there are these skilful, courageous volunteers ready to launch at a moment’s notice is incredibly reassuring and humbling when you’re afloat or diving. I also deeply admire the RNLI lifesavers who are prepared to preserve the lives of animals as well as human beings.

Saved from the Waves is a fascinating range of stories, showcasing how the RNLI’s crews and lifeguards have gone to the aid of all sorts of wild animals over the years, from seabirds and deer to a humpback whale. If you love animals, I know you’ll really enjoy reading this book. It’s also wonderful to know that it will help to raise the funds that equip and train the lifesavers, ready for the next rescue.’

Saved from the Waves is available to buy from the RNLI online shop: https://shop.rnli.org/products/rnli-saved-from-the-waves-book

It will also be available to order online from Amazon and all good book shops.

Notes to editors

Interviews available:

• Phil John: Coxswain RNLI’s Tenby Lifeboat Station

• Crew from Chiswick Lifeboat Station

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Becky Cheers on [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.


Wally the Walrus at Tenby RNLI Lifeboat Station

Gareth Davies Photography

Wally the Walrus at Tenby RNLI Lifeboat Station
Moelfre RNLI Lifeboat station rescue Flossy from the cliffs

RNLI/Vince Jones

Moelfre RNLI Lifeboat station rescue Flossy from the cliffs

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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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.