Have you ever wanted to be able to give immediate care to mammals when they are washed up onto the shore in your local area or who maybe in distress?  Have you heard of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR)?

The BDMLR is a voluntary network of trained marine mammal medics who respond to call outs from the public, HM Coastguard, Police, RSPCA and SSPCA and are the only marine animal rescue organisation operating across England, Wales and Scotland. Not only are they called upon by the other emergency services, but also train their staff.

BDMLR is a registered charity and is operated entirely by volunteers. Their rescue teams are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The BDMLR are on the look-out for more marine mammal divers to help them carry out their vital response work.

BDMLR’s medic base includes people from all walks of life and occupations.  You don’t have to be a diver to become trained as a medic, but just a positive attitude, don’t mind getting cold and wet and able-bodied.  If you don’t fancy becoming a medic, then there are a variety of other roles such as fundraising and attending local events to publicise the vital work of BDMLR.

Mass stranding exercise Photo credit BDMLR

 

 

From time to time a significant number of seals across the UK come ashore to take refuge because of the weather conditions. People often call the Coastguard and the BDMLR to report seeing them on beaches, mistakenly thinking they might be injured. 

Incase you ever come across a marine mammal who has been washed up on the beach or maybe in distress please put these numbers into your phone (shown below) for easy access.

BDMLR RESCUE HOTLINE:
01825 765546 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
07787 433412 Out of office hours and Bank Holidays

HM Coastguard Dover 24/7 Op’s Room 01304-210008 (dead mammals)

RSPCA 0300-1234-999 (Injured Birds/animals)

Thanet District Council 01843-577000 (out of hours)

If you do have cause to report an injured or washed up mammal please have the following details ready:

  • Please note the place(giving as much information as possible eg which bay or beach)
  • the state of the tide
  • any injuries you can see without getting close

The BDMLR will then advise you on what to do and will get a trained medic out as soon as possible

BDMLR stand at Walmer Lifeboat Station Open Day

Deceased mammals

The deceased mammals measurements will be taken by the Coastguard and information submitted to the Natural History Museum. The local authority in the case of Thanet, Thanet District Council  will then arrange for safe removal.

More useful information

Useful links:

British Divers Marine Life Rescue

How to help the British Divers Marine Life Rescue

RNLI article on what to do if you come across a mammal on the beach

Our top tips on how to avoid getting cut-off by the tide if you are out for a coastal walk

Photo credits:

BDMLR


Andy Mills

Thanet RNLI Community Safety Officer Striving to reduce accidental drownings by 50% by 2024 by spreading key safety messages to Thanet communities and its visitors.