Dog and owner rescued from ‘hidden drop’ below water at ‘Winter Gardens’ slipway

Cassie and Prince had to be helped out of the water by passers-by

A Thanet hairdresser says action needs to be taken after her dog became submerged in a ‘hidden drop’ under a deceptively shallow-looking water area at the slipway behind the Winter Gardens in Margate. She then became trapped trying to rescue him yesterday (February 9).

Cassie Davey, who lives in Ramsgate, was walking her rescue dog Prince along the area behind the Winter Gardens when he slipped on the ice.

Cassie, 25, said: “He went over the edge, it was quite a drop, and I ran over screaming and looking for him.

“He isn’t a very good swimmer and was already petrified of water. I saw his head go under and knew I had to go and get him. I jumped in and it was like a huge hole, there is no way of getting back out.

“I was trying to push him out and was lucky that there was a couple there and they tried to drag him by his collar and then help me out. It was horrific.”

The deceptive ‘puddle’ has caught out numerous people. Last year The Isle of Thanet News told how a little boy plunged under the water and had to be dragged out by his mum. Shortly after a distraught dog owner told how her rescue dog died after he went into water at the bottom of the beach slipway, but then got into trouble.

Sadly the experience proved too much for the dog and the water he had ingested resulted in kidney failure.

Cassie, who has had French Bulldog Prince for four years after rescuing him when she lived in Marbella, says signs will not be effective enough and the ‘hole’ needs filling in.

She said: “The council need to get it filled in. A dog has died and a little boy nearly drowned there already. If no-one had been around then I don’t know what would have happened to me and Prince.

“If the council doesn’t do it maybe, when covid is over, the community can come together and fill it in ourselves.”

The drop is under the water at the bottom of the slope. Toddler Jay’me (with brother Kayden) disappeared into the huge dip last year

Cassie said she is so grateful for the help of the couple and another woman who was at the beach with her dog.

She added: “The couple asked me where I lived but I said I had my car and just said thank you. I was so cold and in shock. I’d really like to say thank you to them properly. They were in their 30s, both had brown hair and the man had a bobble hat.”

Thanet council says the impact of the waves hitting the sea wall can cause holes in the sand to be regularly scoured out, but with a change in wind direction and tidal changes, this hazard will disappear and repeat elsewhere, in a constant cycle of erosion and deposition. Therefore it is very challenging to foresee the areas that will develop this hazard and at what depth.

A council spokesperson said: “This location was last reviewed by our team of Coastal Officers in June 2020 as part of their risk assessments along the Thanet coastline. New signage, which will be reviewed annually, has been added to the railings at this area to warn people of the risks.
“The team is exploring other ways to increase the prominence of signage in this particular area, as well as a review of coastal safety signage more generally. It is particularly important to ensure that anything that’s added can withstand the impact of the sea. The team is also reviewing whether other options, such as extending the railings to the bottom of the slipway, are a viable possibility.

“Due to the nature of our coastlines, hazards can present themselves without notice. We advise people to ensure they consider the risks that might be involved when walking along our beaches, particularly during the winter months when daylight hours are reduced and there are changeable temperatures. People should also always be aware of the tides and use caution when exploring the coast, both in Thanet and any part of the UK.”

A petition asking for action to make the site safe has been launched and can be found at

Devastated Eileen calls for action after dog dies following plunge into ‘hidden drop’ at ‘Winter Gardens’ slipway


  1. This was a horrendous experience for this young woman and her dog. There could have been a fatality if an older person had been involved. The council must take action to fill this hole as an immediate priority before a tragedy occurs.

      • I agree with Peter. You can’t defy nature. This is a sandy bay that is covered at every tide so is perpetually being eroded. It is probably caused by the slip itself upsetting the normal tidal flows, so only removing the slip would permanently remove the pool.

  2. There is often a similar pool at the end of Stone Bay slipway. I nearly went in one over my wellies this morning at -6 degrees

  3. As Peter says, Filling the hole would be a waste of time. The sea will do as it wants moving sand when it wants. Hence we have amazing things as sand banks etc. that moving about. But a warning sign would not go amiss by the slipway.

  4. If she lives in Ramsgate, why did she drive to Margate? Was her journey essential?
    If her dog was petrified of water, why walk it, off the lead, right next to the sea?

    • For better or worse, there aren’t specific rules on how far one can drive for exercise. My personal view is that, while not strictly essential, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to drive a few miles for a change of scenery.

      • “Staying in your local area means stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live.”

        I was recently threatened with a fine and court by the police for going from my town to the next to exercise in a quiet area.

    • agree with Phyllis this was not an essential journey so shouldnt have been on that beach.

      as someone who has lived here all my life and walks dogs along the beaches why after 65years has this become a problem. Its common knowledge the puddles around the slip ways and steps have a deep bit. But now its a problem , its always somebodies else fault, but perhaps its just nature and we need to have your whit’s about you.

      i mean why havent we got signs up now telling us that the ice is slippery ? or this puddle might be deep ? This rain is wet ? The wind might be strong ? This sand might be soft or deep ? The tide comes in and goes out ? The rocks might be slippery ? The seasweed is slippery ? The grass is slippery when wet ? it seems we need signs for everything as human’s have forgotten to look out for themselves , we need telling everything.

  5. It seems to be a constant issue in recent years, whether to do with tides, currents, etc, I am not sure, but filling with heavy concrete blocks or boulders like you get along coasts might help stop the hole from coming back so deep there. Many decades ago this was the solution to dangerous holes in the sand caused by the sea on the exterior west side of the Lido pool.

    If it saves a life then the cost is worth it. There have been several near-misses and a poor dog fatally died because of this hole. Come on TDC put some boulders in and around it.

  6. I think the main topic is that it is a dangerous area which has taken a dogs life and nearly a child, if someone had died then would the fact the dog didn’t like water or that she had traveled from ramsgate be important,no it wouldn’t this isn’t about covid for once it’s about our local peoples safety and it needs to be a priority, like someone said putting large bolders and rocks in the hole would fill it and deter people, children and dogs going over that edge.

  7. Hi. I have started a petition to get the council to do something about this hole. Tide or no tide there MUST be something they can do about it. I see someone mentioned heavy concrete boulders. My son nearly drowned there in the summer which is why I started the petition (he was 1.5yrs and couldn’t swim, he made a run for it across the beach and just disappeared beneath the water).
    Please sign the petition. There have been dogs actually drown and so many near misses I have heard about. What will it take for action? It’s a tragedy waiting to happen!

    • Perhaps you would like to play King Canute and sit on the beach to stop the tide coming back in and scouring another hole ?

      You clearly have not read the other comments. This is a natural phenomena caused by the tidal erosion. Perhaps a couple of warning signs may be appropriate as that would be cheaper than a few million pounds of taxpayers money being spent on sea defences (which would likely just move the problem elsewhere).

        • But humans can.
          We live in a world full of hazards. It is impossible to render them all safe.
          But what can happen is that human beings, having a modicum of common sense, can use their knowledge of a particular hazard to take mitigating steps.
          We all know that roads are dangerous. We have it drummed into us often enough. We wouldn’t let our child (or our dog) dash into the A299, for example.
          We live on the coast. Surely all of us that are over the age of about 10 understand that the sea is dangerous, especially so on the Thanet coast after several days of NE gale.
          No matter how many rocks the council drop into the sea, there will be another bit near by which is dangerous. It would be impossible to make safe every scrap of coast.
          But you could take heed of advice not to venture into *any* water if a) you can’t swim and b) you don’t know what the hazards are.

  8. I’m sorry this lady had this ordeal happen to her and her dog. Just keep away in future from that area. Well done to the couple who came to you rescue. The sea moves the Goodwin sands in storms so it has no problem making deep holes in the sand on the shore. Many dog owners have lost their lives over the years going to help their dog. I wadded into the sea once to pull our Labrador out at Dumpton Gap after he go into difficulties. I never let him off his lead again it taught me a lesson.

  9. I think when discussing this it’s important to understand that (in normal times obviously not right now) there are many people who visit our lovely coastline who do not have the knowledge of the area and it’s dangers. This particular spot has been the site of many problems and something needs to be done about it. Whatever that may be. At the very least there should be way more prominent warning signs around the hole and near it. And re nature taking its course, yes understandably nature is very strong and powerful but humans have always seemed to find a way around that when it suits them. I’m sure there is a solution to this problem to help save future lives. Even people relatively new to Thanet /Margate have reported not knowing the danger of this particular spot. I think just making the presumption that people should be informed enough on coastal tide issues is very narrow thinking. If this happened to a loved one of yours who happened to be walking there I’m sure the nay sayers would feel differently.

    • And common sense would dictate that faced with an unknown quantity, caution is the way forward. Though whether someone lives locally or not anyone oblivious to the hazards that the sea as a natural environment present should probably not be out on their own.
      The fixation with every risk being someone elses responsibility and that they must be eliminated entirely is palin daft. By all means put some signs up. But at this rate there’ll be nothing left natural. Filling the hole in with rocks would no doubt need an environment impact assessment , changes to the wildlife habitats be considered, then when some one jumps in the (hopefully) shallow puddle and twists an ankle on an unexpected rock, there’ll be a new out cry.
      Personal responsibility and common sense have worked for centuries why have they suddenly become insufficient?

  10. Surely people who are “relatively new to Thanet” are more likely to be unaware of local conditions than people who’ve been here for years and years.

    • This pool IS a safe distance from the sea when the tide is out, or at least appears to be. That’s the whole problem…

  11. This person has every respect for the coast.
    Thanet is essentially one area for exercising etc .

    Perhaps raising this situation – reminding us to be cautious is the be all and the end all of the heroic actions she and others deployed having been involved in a natural phenomenon.

    Cassie really hope you are ok , thank you for pointing this out to us –

  12. Just mark the entrance to the slip way and say that people and dogs should not use it. Anyone then who does it will be at their own peril. Leave a locked access to anyone with jetski or boats who need to use it. I agree with previous comments. The tides will pull out anything that is there and that is natural. In this area we are all aware of the tides and the viciousness of them. So common sense or if not signs should be enough warning.

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