This evening, the vital life-saving work of the RNLI will be highlighted in the first of a major new four-part documentary on BBC1: Saving Lives at Sea.
The Met Office enjoys a special relationship with the RNLI because in August the Met Office selected the RNLI as its corporate charity for three years.
Andy Yeatman is deputy head of communications at the Met Office. Commenting on the growing relationship with the RNLI, he said: “We were delighted when our staff chose the RNLI as our corporate charity. There is such a logical fit between the two organisations. Given our respective remits the two organisations have always enjoyed a close relationship, but this is being strengthened through the ongoing collaboration.”
Tonight’s documentary will bring the life-saving work of the charity into sharp focus. Andy Yeatman added: “Since working with the RNLI, Met Office staff have become increasingly aware of the great work the RNLI does to ensure the protection of life around our coasts. Now audiences across the UK will have that opportunity too.”
The Met Office and RNLI have exciting plans to develop the relationship over the next three years. This programme will include a communication strand to share forecasts, warnings and safety information to the widest possible audience, as well as sharing each organisation’s experience.
Ros Whitlock is the RNLI’s partnership manager. Commenting on the association, she said: “At our head office in Poole, we use the Met Office Hazard Manager service during flooding to prepare rescue teams and let volunteers and staff know about weather risks. Storms and floods can create terrifying conditions so we rely on forecasts to make decisions on how to carry out rescues, manage risks and be available at the right time, considering tides and weather.”
Further projects include the development of a pilot rip-current indicator service for lifeguard managers, with plans for a beach forecast service. In addition, the Met Office provides international forecasts to help the RNLI with its international work.
During the first few months of the relationship, Met Office staff have been fundraising for the RNLI, including running the ‘give-an-hour’ scheme: the Met Office salary-sacrifice programme.
Ros Whitlock added: “We are delighted to have been chosen as the Met Office’s charity. And we are looking forward to developing the relationship from both a fundraising and non-financial perspective. We really appreciate the support of all of the Met Office employees.”
The first episode of Saving Lives at Sea will be broadast at 9pm this evening on BBC1.