RNLI lifesavers return to feature in new series of Saving Lives at Sea

Lifeboats News Release

Lifesavers from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) will soon return to TV screens in the fifth series of the successful documentary Saving Lives at Sea which is due to be broadcast on BBC Two from 17th September.

Real life rescue footage captured on their helmet cameras gives a frontline view of how the charity’s lifesavers risk their own lives as they go to the aid of those in danger at sea and strive to save every one.

Now in its fifth series, the 10-part documentary showcases the lifesaving work of the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards from around the UK and Ireland. The series will air on BBC Two on Thursdays at 8pm, as well as being available on BBC iPlayer following broadcast.

For many lifeboat crew, volunteering runs in the family stretching back generations, while for others working so closely together means crewmates can often become like a second family. At Swanage lifeboat station, two brothers Matt and Gavin, following in their father’s footsteps, race to rescue a pair of paddleboarders before they’re swept out into the busy shipping lanes. On the North East coast, the tight-knit crew at Withernsea scour the North Sea searching for a local fisherman, and friend of the crew, who’s missing at sea, while on the opposite side of the country in Blackpool, a volunteer’s wedding day is interrupted by an urgent call for help.

Real rescue footage is accompanied by emotive interviews from the volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards, alongside the people they rescue and their families.

During the course of filming, the global coronavirus pandemic struck, which has seen RNLI lifesavers adapt and overcome various challenges to the way they save lives at sea. The charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews maintained a 24/7 lifesaving service during these difficult times and several of the rescues featured in the series were carried out during the pandemic.

Jayne George, RNLI Fundraising, Marketing and Media Director, says:

‘With people rushing to the coast post-lockdown and more people staycationing this year rather than holidaying abroad, demand for the RNLI’s lifesaving services has remained high yet, sadly, fundraising events have been cancelled, our shops, stations and museums have been closed to visitors, and this has resulted in a drop in RNLI income. Public support is now more important than ever and to showcase the work of the charity’s lifesavers through such a well-established programme is a welcome opportunity to demonstrate how our lifesavers really can make a difference to someone’s life.’

Series five of Saving Lives at Sea begins on 17th September at 8pm on BBC Two, and will continue throughout October and November.

To support the RNLI in its lifesaving work, please visit: https://rnli.org/support-us/give-money/donate

Notes to Editors

  • The series is made for the BBC by Blast! Films.
  • Interviews with a selection RNLI crew members who feature in the series are available upon request
  • Selection of RNLI images of lifeboats and volunteers available upon request

Media contacts

For more information please contact Dave Riley, RNLI National Media Officer – David_riley@rnli.org.uk. Alternatively, call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email pressoffice@rnli.org.uk.


RNLI/Nigel Millard

RNLI lifesavers to feature in BBC Saving Lives At Sea

RNLI/Nathan WIlliams

Swanage RNLI volunteer Gav Steeden

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Volunteers at Poole RNLI

RNLI/Nigel Millard

Volunteers from St Davids RNLI heading out to sea

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.

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