RNLI warns of rising tides over Easter weekend after saving group of dogwalkers

Despite checking the tide times before their walk, unpredictable spring tides left the women and their dogs stranded on an island after wading through neck-deep water Credit: RNLI

A group of volunteers from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) are urging people to be cautious this Easter weekend after they saved a stranded group of women and their dog.

The lifeboat crew at West Kirby RNLI rescued the walkers, two from Merseyside and one from north Wales, after a rapidly rising tide had left them submerged up to their shoulders.

As spring tides arrive in the UK, rescues like this become more common. Throughout March, tide times and heights vary with the water coming further up the shore.

The RNLI are urging people to be careful this year, with Good Friday (29 March) falling just after a spring tide.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Read more of our coverage on the historic charity and the work it does across the North West:

For Christine Potter, from Southport, the varying tide times left her, her friends, and their dogs up to their necks in water on 14 February 2024.

She said: "We had checked the tide times prior to our walk over to Hilbre Island, which advised to turn around two hours before high tide. We turned around within this time, but the tide came in behind us whilst on Middle Eye."

Christine and her group turned around to get back to the shore, only for the water to rise "from ankle depth to neck depth."

Christine had to carry her Labrador to safety after the tides began to rise. Credit: RNLI

She said: "My Labrador swam initially but then struggled, was shaking and began crying."

Christine made it to Little Eye Island but were stranded by the tides. She called 999 and was put through to the coastguard, who requested help from the RNLI.

West Kirby's D-class lifeboat was launched and made its way to Little Eye Island at 12:21pm. The crew were told some of the stranded group could not swim, and so knew their assistance was needed rapidly.

On arrival at the scene, the dogs were lifted onboard the D-class and were escorted back to shore with their owners. Despite being shaken by the incident, the group was in good spirits when they arrived back at the lifeboat station to warm up with a cup of tea and some biscuits.

Volunteers at RNLI West Kirby rushed to rescue the women. Credit: RNLI

The party of women were from Southport, Gresford near Wrexham, and Bebington on the Wirral.

Chris Gatenby Helm at West Kirby Lifeboat Station said: "The party were aware of the tidal movement and had researched the tide times but had been misinformed.

"Even a short miscalculation can make the biggest difference, especially when there are bigger than usual tides. Fortunately, they had a means of calling for help via a mobile phone.

"Had we not been able to get to them as quickly as we did, they would have been stranded on the island, freezing and without shelter. They would have faced a wait for as long as five hours to be able to walk to safety.

"This incident proves how quickly the direction of the tide can change and flood in. Always carry a means of calling for help, you never know when you might need it."

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