Safety Spotlight - Double Trouble or ‘safety savvy’? What’s your preference?

There’s nothing quite like a trip to the coast to enjoy the fresh air and give our spirits a lift. But for some people that trip can also mean a less comfortable type of lift -  on a stretcher, up a cliff in a harness or even on the end of a line with a paramedic up to a hovering helicopter.

This week’s incidents around our coasts have included sending help to give a ‘lift’ to those in double trouble, people stranded and shivering, some dangerous dunkings and all sorts of scrapes and scares.

Double Trouble 

At the scene of 'double trouble' Credit Mark Hannaford FEWM

There was double trouble for a dog and its owner at Dorset’s stunning Thorncombe beacon. The dog, ‘Laney’ slipped over the cliff and his owner also found himself in a sticky situation when he tried to climb the cliff but then got stuck in mud.

The West Bay, Lyme Regis and Beer Coastguard Rescue Teams, the Fire service and the RNLI lifeboat went to the rescue, working closely together with the single aim of a successful rescue. The fire service went to help the owner who thankfully got himself out of the mud and to safety so they then joined our expert rope rescue technicians to locate the dog.

Several hours later, ‘Laney’ was lifted to safety and reunited with his relieved owners and no other ‘lifts’ from the emergency responders were needed.

Stranded and shivering

A chilly mist was an unpleasant addition to being cut off by the tide. Credit Mullion CRT

Four people who were stranded and shivering on rocks at Kynance Cove beach were facing even more chilly hours late one afternoon. They’d been exploring and were cut off by the tide that had crept in and a chilly sea mist was also closing in fast.

They called 999 and asked for the Coastguard, so we sent help. Porthoustock and Mullion Coastguard Rescue Teams were able to spot them from a nearby clifftop and we’re able to direct the RNLI lifeboat so they could give the group a lift safely back to shore and they too were lucky enough not to need any further help.

Dangerous Dunkings

Piers and jetties often have strong currents swirling around them. Credit Fleetwood CRT

Tides come in and go out so the depths of water is constantly changing. So while the water may look deep and inviting, it often isn’t. A jump from a height such as piers or rocks can lead to a dangerous dunking leaving you with serious scrapes and abrasions, broken bones or even worse if you hit hidden rocks, the sea bed or sharp structures hidden under the water.

Around jetties and piers, the water will often create eddies and currents of its own and it’s easy if you’re knocked unconscious to get pinned against a post, out of sight and underwater.

Earlier this week Walton and Holbrook Coastguard Rescue Teams and the Ambulance service went to help following a report that someone was injured at Dovercourt beach, Harwich. The casualty had jumped into what turned out to be shallow water and had abrasions to their face and other possible injuries. They were taken into the care of the ambulance service and onwards to hospital for further assessment.  

Credit Sueki Stannard. Holbrook CRT on scene at the incident

Stay Safety Savvy – it’s our preference, make it yours

We’re always on call to send help to people in difficulties but please keep ‘safety savvy’ at the coasts so you can help avoid the need for a lift from our rescue teams and fellow emergency services.

  • Always check weather and tides before setting out. Leave yourself plenty of time to get back
  • Don’t take unnecessary risks
  • Stay well back from cliff edges, they can be crumbly and slippery when wet & easily give way
  • Observe all local safety notices
  • Always keep your dog on a lead
  • Don’t risk yourself if your dog is in trouble on the coast or in the sea. They often get themselves to safety, some owners don’t.

If you see anyone in difficulties around our coasts, please don’t delay, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. We’re on call to send expert help 24/7.

Useful Links 


Dogs and cliffs:

Preparation can be a lifesaver:

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