RNLI Penlee and RNLI Sennen Cove to feature in TV documentary series

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer lifeboat crews of Penlee and Sennen Cove RNLI will be on TV screens next week (Tuesday September 12) as they feature in an episode of the BBC TV series Saving Lives at Sea, which showcases the lifesaving work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.


Both lifeboats had towed the Lady Alida over four miles to safer waters in fairly poor weather conditions

The 12-part documentary series is being shown on BBC Two on Tuesday’s at 8pm and features real rescues carried out by the charity’s lifeboat crews and lifeguards around the UK and Ireland, including Penlee and Sennen RNLI.

From the remote and rugged coastline of Aith in the Shetlands, to the packed sands of Woolacombe in Devon, the series gives a unique insight into the lives and work of the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crew members and lifeguards, who rescue thousands of people and save hundreds of lives around our coastline and on the River Thames every year.

The episode on Tuesday 12 September sees Penlee and Sennen Cove lifeboats, which spent 11 hours at sea, assisting the 88m 3,600-ton Coaster 'Lady Alida'. The vessel had suffered engine failure three miles south of Gwennap Head. It was 3am in the morning and with a strong SW force six wind it had started to drift towards the shore.

Following the success of the four-part first series, which was broadcast last year, this series of Saving Lives at Sea features more episodes and more real-life rescue footage, accompanied by heart-warming and emotive testimonials from the crew, lifeguards and the people they rescue.

The series has been filmed over the past year, with lifeboat crews and lifeguards carrying special cameras and welcoming film-makers into their day-to-day life. Rescues from the RNLI’s archives are also revisited.

Last year alone, RNLI lifeboat crews around the UK and Ireland rescued 8,643 people, saving 431 lives, while the charity’s lifeguards responded to 17,414 incidents and saved 127 lives on some of the UK’s busiest beaches.

Notes to Editors

  • RNLI crew members who feature in the series are available for interview. Please contact RNLI PR on the numbers below to arrange interviews.
  • Pictures and captions attached. Credit RNLI
  • Saving Lives at Sea is broadcast weekly on Tuesdays on BBC Two at 8pm. The series is made for the BBC by Blast! Films.
  • The forthcoming episode also features crews at RNLI Dart and RNLI Salcombe.

Media contacts

For more information please contact Elaine Trethowan, Penlee Lifeboat Press Officer - 0770 466 9406 or email elaine.trethowan@btinternet.com or Amy Caldwell, Public Relations Manager (South) - 07920 818 807 or amy.caldwell@rnli.org.uk

RNLI online

For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre www.rnli.org.uk/press.


Falmouth Coastguard launched both lifeboats in the hope that they could attach tow lines to stop the vessel drifting ashore


RNLI crews towed the Lady Alida to safety


Sennen Cove and Penlee lifeboat crews were involved in the 11 hour rescue

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.