Surviving the Storms: New book showcases incredible rescues by RNLI lifesavers

Lifeboats News Release

A new book providing a collection of first-hand accounts of some of the most dramatic rescues carried out by RNLI lifesavers around the UK and Ireland over the past 20 years is now on sale.

A copy of Surviving the Storms book on a wooden table alongside a cup of coffee

RNLI

Surviving the Storms book

Surviving the Storms recounts 11 of the charity’s most remarkable rescues from the last two decades. These are stories of extraordinary courage and compassion at sea, providing a rare insight into the life-or-death decisions the RNLI’s lifesavers have to make when battling the forces of nature and saving lives.

From volunteer lifeboat crew members in Scotland rescuing those on board a sinking ship, to lifeguards in Cornwall saving the lives of people just moments away from drowning, this book has an abundance of drama told from the unique perspective of the RNLI lifesavers, as well as those they rescue.

The new book goes on sale on Thursday 11 June 2020, with royalties from all sales supporting the lifesaving charity.

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, said: ‘Surviving the Storms is a wonderful account of selflessness and bravery although there is no book big enough to do justice to every RNLI rescue and rescuer. We have hundreds of lifeboat stations and thousands of crew members and lifeguards all dedicated to saving lives. Between them, they’ve helped so many people survive the storms and I’m proud of every one of them.’

Vicky Murphy, 37, was rescued by RNLI lifeguards in 2009 when she was just moments away from drowning after becoming cut off by the tide with her partner Marc at Chapel Porth beach in St Agnes, Cornwall. Her story is featured in the new book. Vicky, who was 35 weeks pregnant when the dramatic events unfolded, said: ‘Even though the rescue took place over a decade ago, I still get so emotional remembering the feeling of relief I had when I saw the lifeguards coming to our rescue.

‘We set off that day to enjoy a nice walk along the beach. But the tide came in so fast and before we knew it, we were neck deep in the water and getting pounded by the waves. I was 35 weeks pregnant and completely terrified. We were pummelled against rocks by the strong, unrelenting waves and I was so worried for the baby inside my tummy. At one point, Marc and I were convinced we weren’t going to make it. But then the lifeguards came and saved our lives.

‘I can’t thank the RNLI enough for saving me and Marc. Seeing lifeguards Damian and Chris appear on their rescue boat was the most amazing feeling. They are the reason Marc and I are alive today, along with our daughter Rae.

‘I’m in awe of the bravery of the RNLI’s lifesavers. To see our story told in this book, alongside so many other incredible stories of amazing rescues by the charity’s lifeboat crews and lifeguards, is a real honour.’

Mark Criddle, 52, was coxswain on Torbay RNLI’s Severn class lifeboat when it launched in storm force conditions in January 2008 to go to the aid of the huge cargo ship, the Ice Prince. This incredible rescue story also features in the book.

Under Mark’s expert command, the Torbay RNLI crew rescued 8 of the 20 crew members from the 132m cargo ship in total darkness and in atrocious conditions, with the other 12 being rescued by a HM Coastguard helicopter before the 44-tonne coaster capsized and sank.

Mark, who was awarded the RNLI’s Silver Medal for Gallantry for his role in the rescue effort, said: ‘I’ll never forget that night. The weather was awful, with storm force winds and driving rain. As soon as we arrived at the scene and saw the dire state that the Ice Prince was in, I knew just how serious the situation was.

‘We needed to get in so close to rescue the stricken crew, with the massive ship rolling wildly in the rough weather. This meant every approach carried a huge element of risk. I can remember vividly as one of their crew was thrown into the sea as their huge tanker crashed into the lifeboat as we tried to get him aboard. Thankfully he was able to scramble back onboard the ship and we then managed to get him aboard the lifeboat safely and take all eight casualties back to shore. I’ve never been involved in another rescue like it.

‘I’m proud to see this story featured in the book, alongside so many other incredible rescues by the RNLI’s lifeguards and lifeboat crews right across the UK and Ireland.’

The book, which has a recommended retail price (RRP) of £14.99, is available to buy now.

As well as being available to order online from Amazon and Waterstones, the book is also due to be stocked at supermarkets across the UK including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda stores, as well as independent book shops and Waterstones stores. It is also available on Kindle, Apple Books and as an audio book.

To order a copy of Surviving the Storms visit https://shop.rnli.org/surviving-the-storms

 

 

Notes to editors

Vicky Murphy and Mark Criddle are both available for media interviews. To request an interview, please contact Luke Blissett on the details below.

 

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Luke Blissett, RNLI National Media Manager on 01202 336497 or Luke_Blissett@rnli.org.uk or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789. Or contact Isabel Prodger at HarperCollins on 0208 307 4436 or email Isabel.Prodger@harpercollins.co.uk.

Close up of Torbay RNLI Coxswain Mark Criddle looking straight at the camera

RNLI/Nigel Millard

Mark Criddle, Torbay RNLI Coxswain
A photo of the Ice Prince ship sinking into the sea

RNLI/Torbay

Ice Prince
RNLI crew lean over the side of the lifeboat reaching for crew aboard a ship in the darkness and rain

RNLI/Chris Slack

Reconstruction image of Torbay RNLI rescue
Vicky and her 10-year-old daughter Rae stood in front of the sea with waves behind them

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Vicky Murphy and her daughter Rae
Vicky Murphy holds her baby daughter Rae with her husband and two lifeguards beside her

Vicky Murphy

Vicky Murphy with husband Marc and daughter Rae with lifeguards Chirs Lowry (left) and Damian Prisk (right)

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, in a normal year, 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 by email.