The swift rise of the flood tide on the Thames caught out two young men walking on the foreshore in Barnes. At its peak the flood tide can rise three feet in 30 minutes on the upper tideway of the Thames. Rescue by RNLI lifeboat was the only option.
While on exercise Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat crew were called to a report of people cut off by the tide in Barnes. When they arrived the found two young men wedged against the river wall on the few remaining inches of dry surface. Although fire-fighters were attending above, they were unable to assist because of the overhang of the river wall and the sloping surface which made it impossible to use their ladders.
The lifeboat crew were able to evacuate the young men onto the lifeboat just before the tide came over their feet. They were fitted with lifejackets and after the crew assessed that they were uninjured the men were landed safely at the steps by the White Hart pub.
Chiswick RNLI Helmsman Steve Alexander commented ‘Many people who go on the foreshore are not aware that the Thames is tidal this far from the sea, and certainly are not aware that the tide floods twice as quickly as it ebbs, meaning that the dry foreshore can disappear very rapidly. If in difficulty on the river call 999 and ask for the coastguard. The lifeboat can be there in a few minutes’