Lifeboat saves gun dog

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Mrs Blackman with a slightly sheepish-looking Marni

Rye Harbour’s lifeboat was launched on Monday July 11 to save an exhausted gun dog in the harbour entrance.

Volunteer lifeboat crew from Rye Harbour RNLI were called out by Harbour Master, James Bateman, to rescue a dog in distress 200 yards from the dangerous harbour entrance.

The dog, Marni, a Hungarian Biszla, had gone into the river shortly after low tide and was soon in difficulty due to the high training walls, which hold back the river bank, and deep mud near the river entrance.

She had been in the water for well over an hour before the RNLI volunteer crew quickly located her and managed to get her safely on board the lifeboat.

This is the third time this year that Rye Harbour’s inshore lifeboat Alexander has been launched to rescue a dog from the river.

Richard Tollett, Rye Harbour RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said “Marni was clearly in distress and shivering before the crew managed to wrap her in a blanket and console her. Her owner, Sandy Blackman of St. Leonards, did the right thing in contacting the emergency services and not trying to enter the river herself, which could have been very dangerous due to the mud and currents in the harbour entrance”.

The RNLI is currently running a national safety campaign called Respect the Water in a bid to reduce the number of accidental drownings around the coast of the UK. One of the campaign messages is aimed at making people think carefully and assess the potential dangers of entering the water without the necessary preparation or equipment.

Richard continued: “We would advise people to keep away from the edge of the water and stick to designated paths and safety signs. If exploring the coastline, always get local advice on the tide and the sea conditions and be mindful of tides, waves and rip currents. We would urge pet owners not to enter the water in this type of situation too, but to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

Mrs Blackman was full of praise for the volunteer crew, calling them “her heroes” and will return to Rye Harbour RNLI Lifeboat Station for its open day on July  23 to help raise funds for its new lifeboat.

Source: RNLI, Rye Harbour

[Editor’s note: This incident reminds me of an occasion a few years ago, when walking my border terrier near the river mouth on the west side of the river. He loved water and, deciding it was time for a swim and ignoring my commands (which were always given more in hope than expectancy), dived in and was immediately caught up in the strong current and swept towards the sea. I was just debating whether to go in after him when, fortunately, a small eddy pushed him towards the shore (it is shingle at this point) and I was able to wade in a few feet and grab him. In this case all ended well, but be warned, the current really is very strong at times and please take the correct and sensible advice given above.]

Photo: RNLI

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