How to have a fabulous, but safe time at the coast with your dog

There is nothing better than enjoying a lovely walk with your dog at the coast taking in sea air, grabbing some exercise and enjoying time with your friends and family.  However, lifeboat crews and Coastguard Rescue Teams (CRT) are frequently called out to rescue dogs that have entered the water for one reason or another or fallen over the edge of a cliff.  Sometimes their owners will enter the water to try and rescue them too. In 2019 RNLI crews were launched 157 times to incidents involving dogs.

What should I do to keep myself and my four legged friend safe?

So, to help keep yourself safe whilst enjoying a lovely walk with your doggie here are some safety tips:

  • Let someone know where you are going and what time you will be back
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times, tides can sweep in very quickly
  • Read and take on board warning advice displayed at beach entrances
  • Keep your dog on a lead if you are walking close to cliff tops/edges or fast flowing rivers.
  • Check the tide times and weather before you head out. Thanet’s tidal cut-off high risk areas : Dumpton Gap, Botany Bay, Kingsgate Bay; and Stone Bay and environs
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  • Always carry a ‘calling for help’ device such as a fully charged mobile phone which is stored in a waterproof case which is easily accessible
  • If your dog enters the water or gets stuck in mud, don’t go in after them. Re-locate to a place of safety and call them – it is highly likely that your dog will get to safety themselvesCOVID19 CoronaVirus knowwhotocall respectthewater RNLIwatersafety RNLICommunitysafety RNLIseasafety Ramsgatelifeboat Margatelifeboat Bewateraware Broadstairsbeach margatebeaches ramsgatebeaches COVID19Thanet COVID19 Coronavirus
  • If you’re worried about your doggie, dial ‘999’ or ‘112’ and ask for the Coastguard straight away, every second counts.

On August Bank Holiday weekend a dog was rescued by Rhyl lifeboat after swimming too far out to sea whilst trying to catch seagulls.  There was initial worry the owner would attempt to rescue the dog, but on the Coastguard’s advice, remained on the beach, keeping the dog in sight.

The lifeboat was launched within eleven minutes of the call, together with the volunteers from the Rhyl Coastguard rescue team.  The dog was happily reunited with it’s very grateful owner uninjured. 

Ian Lockyer, one of our Community Safety Team who is a huge dog lover says “there is nothing like a walk along the coast with my dogs and family, but I always make sure that I have a plan should things go wrong.  If you do hear or see an animal or person in difficulty in the water don’t hesitate call ‘999’ and ask for the Coastguard”.

Coastal Dog Safety Events

From time to time our Community Safety Team run coastal dog safety events around the Thanet coast sharing safety advice by giving out free doggie treats and tennis balls. Keep tuned to our social media channels to find out when they are taking place. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Thank you for reading and stay safe!

Other useful links:

Half-term fun and dogs

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Royal National Lifeboat Institution

HM Coastguard