Storms at sea can develop quickly and without warning. High winds up to gale force and treacherous waves are frequent along the Irish coastline. When ferries, fishing boats and yachts get caught in storms at sea or when lives are at risk, they can call the lifeboat.
Irish lifeboats were launched nearly one thousand times last year and there are 800 volunteer crew including 60 women. Day and night, no matter what the weather, these volunteers are on stand-by, ready to drop everything to rescue anyone in danger.
They are not paid and not always thanked for their dedication, courage and determination and sometimes the conditions are so treacherous that the lifeboat crews themselves are put into danger.
In this documentary 'No Place for the Weak-hearted', we hear lifeboat crews of all ages and backgrounds talking about why they volunteer to put their own lives at risk to save the lives of complete strangers and about what their job on the crew entails.
In forty minutes we get an extraordinary glimpse into the lives and challenges of volunteer lifeboat crew from cities, towns and villages around the Irish coast.
We hear a lifeboat being launched and the sounds of the lifeboats and crews in action, performing training drills and explaining how to use the equipment. Other sounds such as VHF radio communications and the coastguard’s sea area weather forecast take the listener on a memorable journey out to sea on a lifeboat.
This is a real human interest story providing an insight into the lives and minds of some extraordinary characters that most ordinary people will never meet.
No Place for the Weak-Hearted introduces us to people and to tales of the sea that will hopefully capture our hearts and help us to remember and appreciate the courage and dedication of the lifeboat crew members around our coasts.
Compiled by Yvonne Gordon.
Production supervision is by Peter Woods.
First broadcast 2004
An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries