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RNLI Fowey to feature in BBC TV show Saving Lives at Sea

Lifeboats News Release

As the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) marks 200 years of lifesaving, the volunteer lifeboat crew of Fowey are set to take to the nation’s television screens on Tuesday April 9 at 8pm, as they feature in the ninth series of popular TV show Saving Lives at Sea on BBC Two and iPlayer.

Fowey RNLI

The yacht being towed away from the rocks by Fowey RNLI

The new series comes in the wake of an incredible milestone for the RNLI, as the charity marked two centuries of lifesaving on 4 March 2024.

The series focuses on the lifesaving work of today’s lifeboat crews and lifeguards, featuring footage captured on helmet and boat cameras including Fowey RNLI. Viewers will be able to watch dramatic rescues as they unfold through the eyes of RNLI lifesavers, as well as meeting the people behind the pagers.

This forthcoming episode, on Tuesday April 9, sees Fowey RNLI volunteer crew launch their all-weather lifeboat in rough seas and high winds to assist in the rescue of a man with a head injury onboard a 30ft yacht at anchor off Polkerris harbour. St Austell coastguard were in attendance on the shore and had made contact with the vessel, ascertaining that there was one person on board who had sustained a head injury and was disorientated. As the seas were too rough to put a crew member on board, the Fowey crew used a grappling hook to pick up the yacht’s anchor. A bow tow was established using the yacht’s anchor chain and the lifeboat slowly towed the yacht away from the shoreline. Coastguard helicopter assistance was requested and the casualty was winched aboard the helicopter and taken to safety while the Fowey lifeboat towed the yacht back to Fowey Harbour.

The Fowey rescue features alongside rescue stories from their colleagues at other stations and beaches around our coasts.

“Jonathan Pritchard, Coxswain of Fowey lifeboat crew, who is featured in the forthcoming episode, says: ‘This was a tough shout in difficult weather conditions and it was encouraging to see all the crew working well together and looking out for each other, especially some of the less experienced ones. It was great to see the teamwork, and to see everyone carry on in tough conditions. It was a successful rescue with assistance from St Austell coastguard on land and the coastguard helicopter.”

Fowey RNLI lifeboat station marks 165 years of saving lives at sea this year, having been established in 1859. The station was originally based in Polkerris, where the rescue featured in the programme took place. The station moved to Town Quay in Fowey in the 1920s and to its current location in Fowey in the mid 1990s.

The founding of the station at Polkerris came about following a tragic wreck on May 6 1856 in which three men died when their vessel, the schooner Endeavour, of Ipswich, was wrecked near Gribben Head in an easterly gale. When the report of the shipwreck was given to local landowner, William Rashleigh, he wrote to the RNLI asking for a lifeboat to be supplied. With strong local support, the RNLI agreed that a station should be established.

Saving Lives at Sea is broadcast at 8pm on Tuesdays on BBC Two and iPlayer.

The Fowey episode can be seen next Tuesday at

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Notes to Editors

The series is made for the BBC by Blast! Films.

Fowey RNLI

Luke 'Boris' Watts being interviewed for the programme

Fowey RNLI

Fowey volunteer RNLI crew being interviewed for the programme

Fowey RNLI

Filming Fowey lifeboat on her pontoon

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.