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North Berwick RNLI crew to feature on BBC Two’s Saving Lives at Sea

Lifeboats News Release

A back-to-back rescue undertaken by volunteers at North Berwick RNLI in August 2023 will feature in the series nine finale of Saving Lives at Sea, to be broadcast on Tuesday 14 May 2024, 8pm, BBC Two.

Crew member sat behind film camera with face appearing on multiple screens

BLAST!/Sunny Kang

Crew member Matt gets interviewed by BLAST! production team

Saving Lives at Sea is a popular TV programme produced by Blast! Films for the BBC. Now in its ninth series, the show tells the story of the RNLI’s volunteer army of ordinary men and women ready to drop everything and put their lives on the line to save those of others.

The featured rescue took place one Sunday afternoon in August last year when conditions changed from a beautiful calm, sunny day to strong offshore winds catching a number of people off guard.

The lifeboat was initially alerted to a capsized kayaker after their sit-on-top kayak had filled with water and capsized. They were unable to self-rescue and used their phone to call 999 for the Coastguard.

As the lifeboat recovered the two kayakers back to North Berwick they were alerted by HM Coastguard to a group of stand up paddleboarders in difficulty three nautical miles east, off Seacliff beach.

The episode features Interviews from helm John McCarter alongside crew members Tom Kerley and Matt Gibbons. A casualty, Sally, from the second rescue also gives her perspective of the rescue.

Tune into BBC Two, 8pm on 14 May 2024 to find out more.

Notes to editors

  • In 2023 RNLI lifeboats from 238 stations across the UK and RoI launched 9,192 times saving 355 lives, RNLI Lifeguards saved a further 151 lives, North Berwick launched 21 times.
  • It cost £1,400 a year to train each crew member in the lifesaving skills they need to answer the call for help
  • 97% of the RNLI’s frontline lifesavers are volunteers including over 5,700 lifeboat crew members.
  • In 2022 it cost the RNLI £188M to run it’s charitable lifesaving service, 6 in 10 of the lifeboat launches were funded be generous supporters leaving the RNLI a gift in their will.

RNLI media contacts

Matthew Gibbons, Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer, North Berwick, [email protected]
Natasha Bennett, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 07826 900639, [email protected]
Martin Macnamara, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07920 365929, [email protected]
24 hour RNLI Central Press Office, 01202 336789 or email [email protected]

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.