Sea Patrol UK

Tuesday 23 November, 8:00pm on Five

The documentary series following the elite teams that patrol the waters around the UK’s south coast continues. In this instalment, a seriously injured sailor is rescued from a Chinese container ship, a father and his young son find themselves cut off by the tide in Devon, and a sand surfer’s day out at the beach ends in disaster. For the elite emergency teams based on the south coast of England, enforcing order and combating disaster at sea is a 24 hour-a-day job. The RAF, Royal Navy, RNLI and UK Border Agency work together to uphold law and order and protect stricken visitors, in a domain that stretches from Dover to Land’s End. The Dover RNLI crew is scrambled after an emergency call comes in from a container ship located 20km out in the English Channel. A sailor on board the Chinese vessel has suffered a serious head injury after slipping on deck, but the only available helicopter crew is based 190km away. The coastguard has difficulty getting the panicked captain to calm down, so the exact nature of the casualty’s injuries is unclear. When RNLI first-aider Lee Hand arrives on the scene, it becomes clear to him that the injured man is in a very bad way. As the casualty slips out of consciousness and blood gushes from a wound on his jaw, Lee decides to use the 40-minute wait for the helicopter to get him onto the RNLI lifeboat, ready to be extracted by the chopper. The language barrier between the RNLI boys and the ship’s crew hinders their progress somewhat but, two hours after his accident, the injured party is lifted onto the chopper for his ten-minute journey to hospital. The collaboration between the two rescue agencies has paid off, and coxswain Stuart Richardson reflects on a job well done. ‘It’s what we train for,” he says. “So it’s nice to see it all coming together.” Meanwhile, the UK’s busiest helicopter search and rescue team is called to the north Devon coast after a report comes in of two people trapped on a cliff. Winchman Sgt Paul ‘Haz’ Hunter explains that people in the area are regularly caught unawares and find themselves cut off by the tide. “People are perhaps unaware that the beautiful beach they arrived at in the afternoon could be underwater by evening,” he says. “The temptation then is to climb the cliffs – and that’s where the real danger comes in to play.”

About the author

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1