Inside the world of the RNLI lifeboat crew: From escaped dogs to stranded kayaks

Following the success of ‘Fisherman’s Friends’ on the big screen, Ben Bryant travels to Port Isaac to meet the volunteers putting their lives at risk so Britons can enjoy the Cornish coast

Monday 06 May 2019 10:49
The service has saved more than 140,000 across the country since its inception
The service has saved more than 140,000 across the country since its inception

Visiting Port Isaac – tucked away on the rugged north Cornwall coast – in early March, the weather can only be described, at best, as grim. Low-lying cloud clings to the huge sea cliffs and, out at sea, a big swell batters the coast. The harbour lies empty. Instead, the boats are tucked away in the safety of Padstow harbour. Tourists mill around, watching the waves, perusing the gift shops and galleries and taking refuge in cafes and coffee shops around the village.

The scene is a world away from the blue skies, bright sunshine and glass-like seas shown in the recently released film Fisherman’s Friends, which was both set and filmed in Port Isaac. It tells the heart-warming and true story of a group of Cornish fishermen – the Fisherman’s Friends – who signed to a major record label against all the odds.

In addition to the shanties and nautical-themed gags, the film shows that many of the group worked as volunteer lifeboat crew members at the RNLI’s Port Isaac Lifeboat Station. In one key scene, several members of the band get called away from one of the most important gigs of their careers to launch the lifeboat on a rescue mission.

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