Marnie, a Hungarian Biszla, got stuck in the River Rother at Rye Harbour. She was in the water for an hour before she was rescued.


Marnie had gone into the River Rother shortly after low tide and was soon in difficulty as a result of the high training walls.

These hold back the river bank and the deep mud near the river entrance on the East Sussex coast.

The Rye Harbour RNLI were alerted to the gun dog’s distress by the harbour master, James Bateman.

The volunteer crew launched at just before 1pm on 11 July, and quickly located Marnie.

She was 200 yards from the dangerous harbour entrance.

The crew rescued the dog and took her safety to shore, where she was reunited with her owner, Sandy Blakman.

Although she was exhausted, the gun dog was not injured as a result of her ordeal.

Rye Harbour RNLI lifeboat operations manager, Richard Tollett, said: “Marnie was clearly in distress and shivering before the crew managed to wrap her in a blanket and console her.”

“Her owner, Sandy Blackman of St. Leonards, did the right thing in contacting the emergency services and not trying to enter the river herself, which could have been very dangerous due to the mud and currents in the harbour entrance,” he added.

Marnie’s owner, Sandy Blackman was full of praise for the volunteer crew calling them “her heroes”.

She promised to return to Rye Harbour RNLI Lifeboat Station for its open day on 23 July to help raise funds for its new lifeboat.

This is the third time this year that Rye Harbour’s inshore lifeboat, Alexander, has been launched to rescue a dog from the River Rother.

The RNLI is currently running a national safety campaign called Respect the Water.

This aims to reduce the number of accidental drownings around the coast of the UK.

One of the campaign messages is aimed at making people think carefully and assess the potential dangers of entering the water without the necessary preparation or equipment.

“We would advise people to keep away from the edge of the water and stick to designated paths and safety signs,” stressed Tollett.

“If exploring the coastline, always get local advice on the tide and the sea conditions and be mindful of tides, waves and rip currents. We would urge pet owners not to enter the water in this type of situation too, but to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard,” he added.