Southport lifeboat has recruited a dog to help with search and rescue

Southport lifeboat has recruited a dog to help with search and rescue. William, inevitably dubbed crewman K-9, is being trained to help the lifeboat by searching for casualties along the shoreline, and then barking to bring the crew to the location.

If the tide comes in before the casualty has been rescued, he will be expected to swim backwards and forwards nearby to mark the spot. The 15-month old dog, an Irish water spaniel/labradoodle (labrador-poodle) cross, will wear a dog lifejacket and a high visibility coat fitted with lights so that he can be seen at night.

Southport Rescue is one of around 40 independent lifeboat stations around the UK, and is a declared facility with HM Coastguard. It services the area between the Mersey and Ribble estuaries, and 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of its formation.