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Transforming a Former Lifeboat Station into a Seal Rescue Center

Seal caught in a fishing net
Seal caught in a fishing net. Image generated by Animals Around the Globe using DALL-E

The South Gare lifeboat station, once a hub for maritime rescue operations, is poised to become the Teesmouth Seal Rescue Centre. This initiative represents a crucial step towards conserving and rehabilitating seals, a species that faces numerous threats in today’s environment.

Harbour Seal
Common Seal (Phoca vitulina vitulina), off Lismore, Argyll. By Charles J. Sharp – Own work, from Sharp Photography, sharpphotography, CC BY-SA 4.0,

A New Purpose for an Old Structure

The decision to convert the South Gare lifeboat station into a seal rescue center is a testament to the innovative use of existing structures for environmental conservation. The lifeboat station, which has served its purpose in saving human lives, will now extend its mission to save marine lives. This transformation is about changing the physical space and repurposing the station’s legacy of rescue and protection.

Former Lifeboat Station The Teesmouth lifeboat station closed in 2006. Hartlepool and Redcar lifeboats now cover the mouth of the Tees.
Former Lifeboat Station The Teesmouth lifeboat station closed in 2006. Hartlepool and Redcar lifeboats now cover the mouth of the Tees. By Mick Garratt, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The Plight of Seals

Seals, particularly harbor seals, are increasingly vulnerable due to various environmental threats. These marine mammals are affected by habitat loss, climate change, and especially plastic pollution. Plastics in the ocean pose a significant risk to seals, leading to entanglement, ingestion, and, ultimately, a threat to their survival. The establishment of the Teesmouth Seal Rescue Centre is a critical step in addressing these challenges, providing a dedicated space for the care and rehabilitation of injured or sick seals.

The Harbour Seal
This harbor seal Phoca vitulina lives in a community of about 20 animals in Magdalen fjord in the north of Svalbard. By AWeith – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The Role of the Teesmouth Seal Rescue Centre

The Teesmouth Seal Rescue Centre will serve multiple functions in the conservation efforts for seals. Key activities will include:

  • Rescue Operations: The center will be equipped to carry out rescue missions for seals found in distress along the coastline.
  • Rehabilitation Services: It will provide medical care and rehabilitation for seals, ensuring they are healthy and strong enough to return to their natural habitat.
  • Conservation Education: The center will also play a role in educating the public about the importance of seal conservation and the threats they face, promoting more responsible behavior towards marine environments.
  • Research and Monitoring: By monitoring the health and numbers of the seal population, the center will contribute valuable data to ongoing research on marine conservation.
Harbor seal (Phoca vitulina vitulina)
Harbor seal. By Marcel Burkhard – Fotografiert von Marcel Burkhard, CC BY-SA 2.0 de,

Community and Environmental Impact

The transformation of the lifeboat station into a seal rescue center is expected to positively impact the local community and the environment. By engaging the community in conservation efforts, the center will foster a sense of stewardship for the natural world.

Common seal (Phoca vitulina) on the island of Norderney. By Thorsten Denhard – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

A Call to Action

The establishment of the Teesmouth Seal Rescue Centre is a call to action for all of us. It reminds us of the urgent need to address marine life’s environmental challenges. By supporting such initiatives, whether through volunteering, donations, or simply spreading awareness, we can all play a part in protecting our planet’s precious wildlife.

Image By Foto: Jonn Leffmann, CC BY 3.0,

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Latest posts by Cayla de Souza, M.Sc. Ocean Sciences & Marine Biology (see all)