A new book has been launched which details RNLI rescuers’ first-hand accounts of some of the most dramatic and heartwarming animal rescues they have carried out in the UK and Ireland.
Saved from the waves takes the reader on a journey with RNLI lifeguards as they face myriad dangers to save beloved pets, wildlife and livestock. Whether rescuing a walrus in Tenby, a stranded black cat in Chiswick or a baby seal caught between the rocks in Port Talbot, this book shows how the RNLI crew will stop at nothing to save lives.
This remarkable book highlights the bravery of RNLI lifeguards and the necessity of these rescues, not only to save animals in danger of drowning, but to prevent people from putting themselves in danger trying to save a four-legged friend Dear. Each mission requires courage, determination and a relentless commitment to help those in danger.
The new book goes on sale Thursday, April 14, 2022, with royalties from all sales supporting the life-saving charity.
RNLI chief executive Mark Dowie said: ‘Saved from the waves is a collection of heartwarming stories that highlights the bravery of our crew when it comes to saving lives, whether it’s a person or their pet. As a dog owner, I can relate to anyone who would instinctively head into the water to save their pet and we know all too well there’s a chance their fellow dog might get into the water. water to attempt a rescue themselves. This can and has led to tragedy. As such, many of the rescues featured in this book have indirectly saved human lives.
The new book includes incredible stories, like that of Phil John, a coxswain at the RNLI’s Tenby Lifeboat Station. Phil was shocked when a walrus took up residence in the hold of the station for over a month in 2021. Wally the walrus became a local celebrity after moving to the station. Although the locals were delighted to spot it, it made things very difficult for the crew when they had to get going.
Phil John said: ‘As soon as I saw the walrus on the slipway at the station I knew how much trouble it could cause us. We didn’t know how we would launch if there was a scream, or how to move it. Any delayed launch time puts lives at risk.
“I had read that walruses are affected by noise, so after consulting the RSPCA we tried scraping a long metal pole over our slip.” It caused quite a stir and quickly worked! However, he quickly got used to it and we eventually had to use an air horn to get him moving!
“We had a lot of screaming while he was on the slipway. We were constantly worried about how we were going to get to a drowning child or a sinking boat with a 600 pound animal blocking our way. Eventually, more than a month after its first appearance, it simply disappeared. Until then he was spotted near the RNLI Padstow lifeboat station!
It also includes a story about the crew at RNLI Lifeboat Station Chiswick, who helped rescue a black cat from a rapidly shrinking shingle patch at the foot of a 6m high river wall.
The black cat greeted the crew with a growl and a spit, then tried to scale the wall steeply. They finally managed to catch the cat, only for it to start swimming. After some wading and some gentle encouragement, they managed to wrap him in a blanket and take him to the lifeboat. The cat was brought ashore and released unharmed. In true Tom and Jerry style, the cat then fired after being chased by a dog.
Steve Backshall, explorer, presenter and writer, wrote the foreword to the book. He said: “I have always been grateful to the RNLI. My career as a wildlife broadcaster and my passion for marine life has often taken me on and in the water around our shores. Knowing that there are these skillful and brave volunteers ready to take off at a moment’s notice is incredibly reassuring and humbling when you’re afloat or diving. I also deeply admire the RNLI lifeguards who are prepared to save the lives of animals as well as human beings.
‘Saved from the waves is a fascinating range of stories, showing how RNLI crews and lifeguards have rescued all sorts of wildlife over the years, from seabirds and deer to a humpback whale. If you love animals, I know you will really enjoy reading this book. It’s also wonderful to know that it will help raise funds to equip and train rescuers, ready for the next rescue.
Saved from the waves is available for purchase from the RNLI online store: https://shop.rnli.org/products/rnli-saved-from-the-waves-book
It will also be available to order online on Amazon and in all good bookstores.
Notes to Editors
• Phil John: RNLI Helmsman Tenby Lifeboat Station
• Chiswick Lifeboat Station Crew
RNLI Media Contacts
For more information, please contact Becky Cheers at [email protected] or contact the RNLI press office on 01202 336789.
The charity RNLI saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service along the coasts of the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The RNLI operates 238 lifeguard stations in the UK and Ireland and over 240 lifeguard units on beaches in the UK and the Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of the coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its lifesaving service. Since the RNLI’s inception in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved more than 142,700 lives.
Find out more about the RNLI
Contact the RNLI – public inquiries
Members of the public can contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.