I thought I was going to drown, says woman rescued by RNLI in Fleetwood

A Fleetwood dog walker says she thought she was going to die when she got cut off by the tide and couldn't swim back to shore - with the water at chest height.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 9:33 am

Anne Brookes, who was rescued by the local RNLI volunteer crew last week, was on Fleetwood beach and thought she was perfectly safe because she could see the tide well ahead of her.D

But she didn't realise that as she walked towards the sea with her two dogs, cockapoos Lili Pup and RuffRock, behind her the water had already snaked around and cut them off.

When she turned around to go home, she was shocked to find the sea had beaten her to it and she would have to wade back.

Anne Brookes with her two dogs Rockruss (black) and Lilypup (white) on Fleetwood beach. Anne was rescued by the RNLI whilst out walking with her dogs after the tide caught up to her. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

The trouble was that the water was already too deep and the tide too strong for her to make it.

The incident happened on the beach near Fleetwood's boating lake on Friday April 16.

Mum-of-two Anne, 40, of Westfield Avenue, Fleetwood, said: "I'm not someone who panics easily but there came a point where I realised I wasn't going to make it.

"I had to carry the dogs because they were exhausted and suddenly the water was up to my chest and I realised there was a good chance that we were all going to drown. I was frightened.

Anne Brookes two dogs Rockruss (black) and Lilypup (white) on Fleetwood beach.

"I'm a single mum, I have two children of school ages and I'm their sole carer, so that was in my mind too.

"I fumbled with my phone and it was wet and I was trying to make a call when suddenly I saw the Lifeboat coming towards us.

"I have never been so pleased to see a boat! The RNLI do an absolutely brilliant job."

It turned out that the alarm had already been raised by the Coastwatch team at Rossall Point and the inshore lifeboat Harbet was dispatched to rescue her.

The Fleetwood Lifeboat crew heads towards Anne Brookes, who is struggling in the water.

Anne, who is mum to daughters Ruby, 12, and seven year old Seren, wants to warn others about the dangers.

She said: "I moved to Fleetwood from Suffolk a year ago and I usually use the beach at Rossall, so I didn't know about the tides.

"I would just advise people to check the tides and the weather before going out there, because unless you know about it the sea can just catch you out."

Fleetwood RNLI lifeboat helmsman Skip Frith said: "Whenever we are called to a dog rescue, we don’t quite know how they are going to react.

"You can only hope they aren’t going to be too distressed and snappy being picked up by strangers and put into a lifeboat.

"These dogs were great and almost looked as relieved as Anne when we returned them safely to the shore."

RNLI statistics show people getting cut off by the tide caused almost 10 per cent of all RNLI lifeboat launches over the last decade - more than double the UK average. Lifeguards rescue hundreds more stranded people every year.

The RNLI is warning people in the North West to take beach safety seriously ahead of some of the highest tides of the year over the coming days, which often see people becoming cut off and requiring the charity’s help.

The tide will build this weekend and the Spring tide will peak on Wednesday April 28. The lifesaving charity is urging people to check the weather and tides before visiting the coast.