Newhaven RNLI lifesavers feature in new series of Saving Lives at Sea

Lifeboats News Release

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteer crew from Newhaven RNLI in Sussex will feature in the brand new series of popular BBC Two programme Saving Lives at Sea this week (Thursday 25 August).

Newhaven RNLI crew member Daniel Wittenberg (left) and coxswain/mechanic Lewis Arnold who feature in the episode.

BBC/Blast! Films/Olly Rose

Newhaven RNLI crew member Daniel Wittenberg (left) and coxswain/mechanic Lewis Arnold who feature in the episode.

Featuring footage captured on helmet cameras, the primetime documentary series lets viewers witness rescues through the eyes of the RNLI lifesavers while meeting the people behind the pagers.

The popular 10-part documentary is now in its seventh series and includes the lifesaving work of RNLI lifeguards and volunteer lifeboat crews from around the UK and Ireland.

The series will begin on Thursday this week at 8pm on BBC Two and will also be available on BBC iPlayer following broadcast.

Including interviews with lifeboat crews and lifeguards, the series will also hear from those who were rescued and are here to tell the tale, thanks to the RNLI.

This forthcoming episode, on Thursday 25 August, includes Newhaven RNLI’s rescue of two paragliders on Christmas Eve last year. While most people were busy preparing for the festive celebrations the volunteer crew dropped everything and went to the rescue of the pair who had fallen into the sea.

Despite challenging tidal conditions, the pair were safely brought back to shore and handed into the care of waiting paramedics, whilst crews returned home to start their Christmas celebrations. The incident features on the programme alongside rescue stories from other RNLI stations and beaches around our coasts.

Lewis Arnold, coxswain/mechanic at Newhaven RNLI, who will feature in the upcoming episode said:

‘I’d just cleaned up the station, had put the dog on the lead and was going home to wrap some presents when the pager went off, so Plan B went into action! When we arrived both paragliders were on a rocky ledge with the tide coming and no phone signal. One of them jumped in and swam towards us, but the second, who couldn’t swim was knocked off the ledge by a wave’.

In rough seas the volunteer crew of Newhaven’s Severn class lifeboat launched its’ Y boat (a smaller inflatable rescue boat carried on board) that could get closer to the shore and both men were rescued. ‘They were really grateful,’ said Lewis. ‘I don’t think they realised how bad it was, particularly since one of them couldn’t swim. Thankfully we were able to get them home to their families for Christmas’.

‘Our lifesaving work would not be possible without donations from the public and we are delighted to be able to share a frontline view of the rescues they support with their kind generosity,’ he added.

In 2021, RNLI lifeboat crews around the UK and Ireland aided 12,903 people, saving 296 lives, while the charity’s lifeguards aided 18,180 people and saved 112 lives on some of the UK’s busiest beaches. During that year Newhaven RNLI launched 46 times, saved two lives and aided 72 people.

Notes to Editors

A link to the original story of the Newhaven rescue is available here:

The Saving Lives at Sea series is made for the BBC by Blast! Films.

Media contacts

For more information please contact Paul Dunt, RNLI Regional Media Officer for London and the South East on (07785) 296252 or alternatively, call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email [email protected].

Newhaven RNLI volunteer Daniel Wittenberg.

BBC/Blast! Films/Olly Rose

Newhaven RNLI volunteer Daniel Wittenberg.
Newhaven coxswain/mechanic Lewis Arnold.

BBC/Blast! Films/Olly Rose

Newhaven coxswain/mechanic Lewis Arnold.
Poster showing RNLI crew and lifeboat stating that Saving Lives at Sea returns to the BBC on 25 August.


Saving Lives at Sea returns to BBC 2 on Thursday 25 August.

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 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 by email.