A new book providing a collection of first-hand accounts of some of the most dramatic rescues carried out by RNLI lifesavers around the UK and Ireland over the past 20 years is now on sale.

Surviving the Storms recounts 11 of the charity’s most remarkable rescues from the last two decades. These are stories of extraordinary courage and compassion at sea, providing a rare insight into the life-or-death decisions the RNLI’s lifesavers have to make when battling the forces of nature and saving lives.

From volunteer lifeboat crew members in Scotland rescuing those on board a sinking ship, to lifeguards in Cornwall saving the lives of people just moments away from drowning, this book has an abundance of drama told from the unique perspective of the RNLI lifesavers, as well as those they rescue.

The new book goes on sale on Thursday 11 June 2020, with royalties from all sales supporting the lifesaving charity.

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, said: ‘Surviving the Storms is a wonderful account of selflessness and bravery although there is no book big enough to do justice to every RNLI rescue and rescuer. We have hundreds of lifeboat stations and thousands of crew members and lifeguards all dedicated to saving lives. Between them, they’ve helped so many people survive the storms and I’m proud of every one of them.’

The book features a rescue from Porthcawl RNLI where the lives of two fishermen were saved by Aileen Jones and her crew. The story is told through the eyes of Aileen, the first female crew member in the RNLI to be award a Bronze Medal for Gallantry and details the events which unfolded that morning back in August 2004.

The lifeboat launched to a fishing vessel that had suffered engine failure and was drifting perilously towards a notorious sandbank. With one of the fishermen onboard seriously injured, Aileen battled force 8 conditions to save the boat and her crew from a situation that would have undoubtably cost them their lives.

Aileen said: ‘I can recall the events of that day remarkably well given the fact it was almost 16 years ago. It was the school summer holidays and I happened to be in earshot of the VHF radio when I heard the call to the Coastguard from the fishing boat. We knew straight away that the boat was drifting dangerously close to the sandbank. If we didn’t get their quickly, the boat and those onboard would be in grave danger.’

Aileen recalls the elation of finally getting a tow line across to the fishing vessel but the almost immediate deflation as the line parted and they were back to square one. She said: ‘After the line went, I knew I needed to get a crew member onboard the vessel to re-establish the tow. The wind and sea conditions did not make that task easy.’

Aileen is extremely proud to see this story feature in the book and is excited to read the tales of her fellow RNLI volunteers who feature. Aileen said: I am immensely proud that this story will feature in ‘Surviving the Storms.’  It is an honour, not only for me, but for the crew with me that day to be a part of RNLI history in this way.’

The book, which has a recommended retail price (RRP) of £14.99, is available to buy now.

As well as being available to order online from Amazon and Waterstones, the book is also due to be stocked at supermarkets across the UK including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda stores, as well as independent book shops and Waterstones stores. It is also available on Kindle, Apple Books and as an audio book.

To order a copy of Surviving the Storms visit https://books.harpercollins.co.uk/surviving-the-storms/

Notes to editors

Aileen Jones is available for media interviews. To request an interview, please contact Luke Blissett on the details below.

RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Luke Blissett, RNLI National Media Manager on 01202 336497 or Luke_Blissett@rnli.org.uk or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789. Or contact Isabel Prodger at HarperCollins on 0208 307 4436 or email Isabel.Prodger@harpercollins.co.uk.