Sea Rescue, a half-hour documentary-style program, hosted by Matt Gutman, has managed to sustain not only its energy but also its quality. Sadly, there’s no lack of endangered sea life, many in peril because of careless human activity. Thankfully, the world also includes courageous and compassionate marine biologists, animal researchers, conservationists, and even everyday citizens, doing their part to save creatures in danger. Sea Rescue features them all.
Each episode spotlights several separate rescue stories which manage to be simultaneously dramatic, endearing, and inspirational. In one episode, two pygmy whales are stranded in Mississippi and rescuers from the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies need to determine the best way to return the whales to the Gulf of Mexico. Later, a curious young sea lion climbs into a car in a seafood restaurant parking lot and manages to turn on the windshield wipers before rescuers arrive.
Another episode explores the role the U.S. Coast Guard has played in helping endangered marine life. They untangle two sea turtles snared in fishing net and plastic debris. After vets operate on a monk seal to remove a damaged eye, it’s the U.S. Coast Guard that returns the seal to the sea. And when the storm surge from Hurricane Rita sweeps a helpless dolphin two miles inland, the U.S. Coast Guard works with the Louisiana National Guard to airlift the dolphin back to the beach. A Coast Guard helicopter also transports a manatee from a rehab facility in San Antonio back to his native Florida. And when cold temperatures threaten sea turtles off Cape Cod, the Coast Guard flies many of them down to Sea World in Orlando to recover.
In fact, this series is a joint production between SeaWorld and Litton Entertainment and many of the experts featured are part of the SeaWorld Rescue Team, although the theme park itself is not overly emphasized in the program. The program relies on expert nature photography of dramatic rescues as they happen and well-constructed narratives that not only provide details of the rehab but broader information about endangered species and the importance of conservation.
One caution for parents, though: Some of the scenes of animals in peril may be upsetting to very young children. Material is always handled sensitively and the sequences usually have happy endings, but the images of sick or injured sea life may still be hard for little kids to process so be prepared to point out the care and compassion the animals are receiving.
Gina Catanzarite ©2018 Parents’ Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster’s Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.