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Whitley Bay RNLI lifeguard rescues a woman and her dog struggling in the water

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI Seasonal Senior Lifeguard Mitchell Mccallum rescued a woman and her dog from being pulled out into the water on Friday 25 August at Whitley Bay.

An RNLI lifeguard in the water on a rescue board

RNLI/Nathan Williams

An RNLI lifeguard on a rescue board

Around 2:30pm at Whitley Bay, Mitchell Mccallum was alerted by a member of the public that a woman had swam into the water going after her dog and was struggling to stay afloat.

Mitchell said: ‘‘It had been raining on and off that day, but there were no big or subversive waves.

‘The dog, a spaniel, had chased a bird and followed it out to sea.

‘The dog went about 400 to 500 metres offshore outside the red and yellow flag and lifeguard patrol zone.

‘The woman being the dog's owner went in after, trying to retrieve the spaniel.’

While swimming after her dog she began to slow down and tire.

Mitchell swiftly grabbed his rescue board and paddled out to the woman who was approximately 300m offshore.

Mitchell added: ‘When I reached the casualty, she was tired, cold and struggling to continue to swim.’

The casualty’s dog was another 150m ahead of them.

Mitchell asked a nearby kayaker, who had started to head towards the woman when they noticed she was struggling, if they could see the dog and get to it. He asked the kayaker to wait with the dog until he could return for it, after safely taking the casualty back to shore.

As the charity’s lifeguard headed back towards the beach with the casualty, the kayaker managed to get the dog onto their watercraft and follow Mitchell by paddling back to the beach.

Both the woman and dog were ensured to be safe and did not require aftercare or medical treatment.

To reduce the number of incidents involving dogs on the UK’s coast, Dogs Trust and the RNLI have published some guidance to help dogs and their owners enjoy the seaside safely together this summer.

  • Keep your dog on a lead if you are close to cliff edges or fast-flowing water

If you are on the beach and your dog has not yet mastered the art of recall, make sure you keep them on a lead. Long training leads will give your dog the freedom to explore while helping to keep them safe.

  • Always check the tide times and weather conditions

Before you head out for a walk with your dog on the coast, always check the tide times and weather conditions to plan your trip accordingly and ensure you don’t get stranded. Tide times and heights fluctuate throughout the month so an area that was accessible throughout the day last week may get completely cut off today.

  • Dogs shouldn't drink sea water as it can cause sickness and saltwater poisoning

Also keep a close eye on them to make sure they're not eating anything they shouldn't such as seaweed or plastic. Call the local vet if they do.

  • If your dog gets into trouble, don’t go after it

If your dog goes into the water, over a cliff edge or gets stuck in mud, don't go after them. Move to a place your dog can reach safely and call them. If you're worried about your dog, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard. The RNLI treats stricken pets the same as it does humans and will always launch to assist if they can.

Notes to editors

If you find yourself in trouble in the water, remember to Float to Live:

  • Tilt your head back with your ears submerged

  • Try to relax

  • Control your breathing

  • Use your hands to help you stay afloat

  • Once calm, then try call for help or swim to safety if you can.

In a coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 for the Coastguard.

RNLI lifeguards are currently operating on the following Tyne and Wear beaches seven-days-a-week between 10am and 6pm:

  • Whitley Bay

  • Whitley Bay North

  • Cullercoats

  • Tynemouth Longsands

  • Tynemouth Longsands North

  • King Edward’s Bay

  • Sandhaven (Centre Beach)

  • Sandhaven (Mowbray)

  • Seaburn

  • Cats and Dogs

  • Roker

RNLI picture caption

The photograph shows An RNLI lifeguard on a rescue board. Photo credit: Nathan Williams.

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact Toni Carr, RNLI Media Engagement Placement on 07890 402106 or [email protected] or Clare Hopps, Regional Media Officer on 07824 518641 or [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

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.