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Dart RNLI lifeboat rescues stranded dolphin

Lifeboats News Release

Dart RNLI's D class lifeboat was tasked by the Coastguard last night (Wednesday 26 January) as there were people in the water at Old Mill Creek trying to help a stranded dolphin.

The stranded dolphin was moved to deeper water in an ambulance pouch alongside the lifeboat

RNLI/Dr John Fenton

The stranded dolphin was released back in deeper water

The Dart lifeboat launched at 5.30pm at low tide. A pod of dolphins had been staying around the entrance to the creek during the late afternoon, possibly because a dolphin was in trouble further inshore.

Having established that the swimmers were all out of the water and safe, the lifeboat crew discussed how to proceed with a member of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue team who was with the Coastguard onshore. Usually the rescuers wrap the dolphin in a tarpaulin and then return it to the water. Members of the Dart lifeboat crew had previously worked with the rescue team when they helped to release a humpback whale that had become trapped on two occasions off Blackpool Sands in 2017.

The volunteer helm decided to use the ambulance pouch on the lifeboat to keep the dolphin alongside the boat but still in the water. The adult dolphin was slowly taken into deeper water and released in the middle of the river. It looked strong when released and swam off powerfully up the river.

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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