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A new documentary will feature RNLI lifeboats in Ireland - who launched 1,116 times last year

Saving Lives at Sea airs at 8pm next Wednesday on BBC Two.

RNLI lifeboat at Castletownbere, West Cork
RNLI lifeboat at Castletownbere, West Cork
Image: RNLI

A NEW BBC documentary is set to feature real rescues carried out by crew members of the RNLI in both Ireland and the UK.

The 12-part series Saving Lives at Sea will air for the first time this coming Wednesday at 8pm on BBC Two.

The series will give an insight into the lives of the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crew members, who rescue thousands of people and save hundreds of lives around the Irish and UK coastlines every year.

The first episode of the series will include the rescue of three fishermen from a sinking trawler and the rescue of 30 people from the Astrid tall ship in Kinsale, Cork.

Castletownbere, a town located on the Beara Peninsula in Cork, will feature in episode three.

Paul Stevens, an RNLI spokesperson at Castletownbere, spoke to TheJournal.ie about rescues in the local area.

The documentary is set to show the rescue of a lone sailor in storm conditions, along with the rescue of two fishermen from a boat that sank.

“Physically, the [lone sailor] was ok, but he was shaken and he was attributing his life to being saved as a result of the rescue,” Stevens told TheJournal.ie. 

He described the second rescue at Castletownbere, which will appear on the show.

“Two fishermen were on a small boat which started to sink and they took to a life raft. We located them and took them off the life raft. One of the guys on the shout was a was a brother-in-law to one of the guys that were rescued,” he said.

Stevens explained that volunteering in local communities can prove difficult at times.

“It’s particularly challenging in communities when everybody knows everybody, so often there’s a strong likelihood that you know the person in trouble,” he said.

If there’s a tragedy or they have died, you know the people back on shore are waiting for news.

He said that while every station has a paid mechanic, everybody else is volunteers and they tend to come from all walks of life.

“Nowadays, they tend not to be from maritime backgrounds, they can be guards, teachers, people doing all sorts of jobs. These volunteers are on call 24/7, that can be difficult.”

The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in Ireland and the UK.

Last year alone, RNLI lifeboats in Ireland launched 1,116 times, rescuing 1,649 people.

Saving Lives at Sea airs at 8pm on Wednesday 18 August on BBC Two.

Read: Floating down the Liffey on an inflatable is all fun and games… but it’s not safe

More: If you’re near the water this weekend, here’s what you need to remember

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