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Burnham-on-Sea D Class Lifeboat tasked to assist distressed dog

Lifeboats News Release

Whilst on exercise in the area south of Brean Down, the volunteer crew of lifeboat Burnham Reach were tasked by Milford Haven Coastguard, to assist members of the public after their dog had disappeared over the edge of the Down today (29 January).

They immediately made their way to the casualty area, searching around both sides of the Down, until they spotted the dog owners, not in immediate danger, but close enough to observe the distressed animal.

Helmsman Tim Walters nosed Burnham Reach onto the rocks, whilst a crewmember clambered up to assist the animal. Consequentially, the dog decided to slide down the rocks into the water, and swam towards the lifeboat.

The animal and crewmember were both recovered onto the lifeboat, and the casualty transferred to the care of a waiting Coastguard recue team, plus grateful owners, on the beach at the South side of the Down.

Lifeboat Helmsman Tim Walters said of the rescue; ‘This was a well executed fast response, taking no longer than three minutes or so. The owners were extremely grateful.’

Local Coastguards gave the following advice:-

A timely reminder that dogs should be kept on leads at all times when on Brean Down, often we are told by the owners that their dogs are well trained and don't run off. There have been several incidents around the coast in recent weeks involving dogs of cliffs, sadly the majority have died from the fall. This dog was lucky and came away just cold and shaken, but do you really want to risk the life and safety of your beloved pet?

Our safety advice is always keep pets on leads when on high ground no matter how well trained or obedient it is. Plus, never try and self recover the animal as you may put yourself and others in danger, especially on days like today where the weather is drizzly and the rocks are wet and slippery.

Lucky for these owners the RNLI were out training. If you or your pet gets into danger along the coast, cliff edges or beaches dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

RNLI media contacts

For more information about this release please telephone Mike Lang, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07889 815860 or email

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland