New Brighton’s Atlantic 85 B-837 Charles Dibdin launches in maelstrom sea
Author: Bob Warwick
At 12:43 RNLI New Brighton were alerted by HM Coastguard that there was a dog in the River Mersey and the owner was going in after it.
The 9.6 metre spring tide had reached its peak and combined with a strong north westerly wind sea and river conditions resulted in a boiling and dangerous sea. New Brighton’s Atlantic 85 B-837 Charles Dibdin was launched into this maelstrom and headed for the area of the reported casualty.
Soon after launch contact was made with Marine Fire One, Merseyside Fire & Rescue craft, who had also been tasked to the incident and had reached the scene first and taken the dog on board. It also turned out that the dogs owner did not go in to the sea and had been taken by HM Coastguard to the Pier Head in Liverpool where the dog was being taken to a pet ambulance and vet.
The lifeboat proceeded to the slipway by the Egremont Ferry where conditions were less difficult and recovered the lifeboat there. They returned to the lifeboat station to the delight of a group of children from Heathfield Junior School, Ripponden who were visiting the lifeboat station and had been priviledged to witnesswhat happens when a ‘shout’ comes.
Dave Hicks Helmsman in charge of the lifeboat commented ‘ This was probably one of the most difficult launches I have experienced and full credit goes to our Head Launcher Ian Warburton whose skill in driving of the tractor got us safely to sea. We were very close to the sea wall and taking a real battering by the incoming waves. When we are called out information is often sketchy and the full picture does not unfold until we are actually in the water, this was one of them. Its conditions like this when the RNLI training really comes into its own and enable our crews to successfully negotiate and handle potentially life threatening conditions’.
Lifeboat Operations Manager at New Brighton Graham Sale commented ‘ I have nothing but praise for our team in handling the awful conditions today.’
He continued ‘Again we have had the situation of the probability of a pet owner going into the water to rescue a pet. Fortunately in this case it appears that they resisted otherwise it was likely to have resulted in tragedy. Can I stress again to dog owners please, please, please do not go into the water to try and rescue your pet as it has a far better chance of survival than you will – call for help. In many cases they get back safely to shore and the human doesn’t’