South West Wales

Water safety campaign for people and pets

Jan Godfrey-Coles and Blodwen Image copyright Jan Godfrey-Coles
Image caption Jan Godfrey-Coles with Blodwen

A new water safety campaign aimed at keeping people and their pets safe on the Welsh coast has been launched.

It comes after more than 218 dogs were rescued in the five years from 2011 to 2015 - about 68% of all animals rescued over the period.

Among them was Staffie cross Blodwen who was swept 70m (230ft) out to sea in Burry Port, Carmarthenshire.

"Water safety never used to be a major consideration," admitted her owner Jan Godfrey-Coles.

Image copyright Jan Godfrey-Coles
Image caption Blodwen was rescued after getting caught in strong currents at Burry Port beach in Carmarthenshire

She said she regularly walks on the beach and Blodwen loves splashing in and out of the water, but on this occasion strong currents got hold of her.

Seeing her pet unable to swim to shore, Ms Godfrey-Coles called the coastguard and minutes later Burry Port lifeboat came to Blodwen's rescue.

She said "panic set in" when she saw Blodwen her drifting out to sea.

"I thought I was going to lose her."

Praising Blodwen's rescuers, she added: "I can't thank them enough. Not only did they save Blodwen but their presence also prevented me from trying to swim out to her and potentially putting myself at risk".

Alun Wells from Burry Port RNLI, who are working with Vets4Pets on the campaign, said Ms Godfrey-Cole did what they encourage any dog walker to do if their animal gets into difficulty in or near the sea.

"It can be tempting for dog walkers to enter the water and attempt to rescue their beloved animals, but by doing so they can put themselves in serious danger," he said.

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