1. Move dogs away from the area

Seals are often anxious and easily spooked when people or dogs venture too close while they’re on land. If you have a dog, move it well away.

2. Observe from a safe distance

A seal’s barrel-like body is deceptively bendy and they can twist their heads right around behind them! So beware; a seal bite is more powerful than that of a large dog and carries a nasty infection that must be treated correctly.

Even if the seal is not warning you off with a bark, be mindful that they may try to nip at your feet and ankles without warning. Keep a safe distance - and ask others to do so too.

3. Take notes

Help rescuers by noting down what kind of condition the seal appears to be in. If it is an unweaned pup, check the sea regularly for signs of a mother in the area.

Other information that will help a rescuer: 

4. Call BDMLR

If in England, Scotland or Wales, call:

BDMLR will contact the RNLI if further assistance is needed or there is a potential concern for safety.

If in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, see the end of this article for other organisations that may be able to help.

5. Prevent it from entering the water

It may surprise you to know that seals need to spend about two-thirds of their time hauled out and so shouldn't be chased back into the water.

If you believe a seal pup needs help, try to prevent it from entering the water by standing between it and the shoreline. Under no circumstances put a pup back into the sea - younger pups are not strong swimmers and older pups are likely hauled out for a reason.

Do not try to pick it up or move it. Not only can this be dangerous for you but it could cause a healthy pup to become permanently separated from its mother and colony.

6. Stay to guide rescuers

Stay as long as you can to help guide medics to the location.