The volunteers at Sunderland RNLI were called upon today (Saturday 28 December) to rescue a dog which had become stranded at Seaham Harbour.


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Author: Ben Mitchell

Sunderland RNLI; like all the 236 Lifeboat stations, have crews on call all year round and the festive season is no different. The Lifeboats have already been called into action on Christmas Day and today saw the coastguard request the launch of Sunderland’s ‘Atlantic 85’ lifeboat after reports of a dog going into the sea at Seaham (approx. five mile south of Sunderland Harbour).




The call came in at 1253 and the lifeboat made its way South to assist the coastguard team who were arriving on scene. Once on scene it became obvious that although the dog (a Staffordshire bull terrier) had come off the Northern pier and went into the water it had managed to swim to relative safety. The volunteer crew found the dog on a tiny piece of exposed stone foundation, foundations that are mostly underwater along the side of the pier. Here she had become stranded and obviously would have been in danger of going back in the water.

Whilst the coastguard team from Seaham liaised with the understandably concerned owner, one crewman, Luke McGill, was put onto the ledge to lift the dog to another crewman aboard the lifeboat. The crew were then able to take the dog to the slipway within the Harbour to be reunited with its owner.

Ian Rowan Helmsman on today’s service call said,

‘Although primarily we are here to rescue human life we are happy for our assistance to be extended to animals, particularly as it can be so tempting for owners to enter the water putting themselves in a great amount of danger,’

This rescue comes less than a week after a 46 year old man lost of his life trying to rescue his dog in the river Lemon in Newton Abbot. In that situation the dog escaped from the water unharmed.

The RNLI would always encourage people who are concerned along the coastline or inland waterways to contact the emergency services in the event of an emergency unfolding.

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