Sea search and rescue crews to be honoured –

Sea search and rescue crews to be honoured Published:  13 March, 2008

DRAMATIC new stamps released today by the Royal Mail celebrate the vital work of the people undertaking search and rescue at sea.

The stamps highlight the actions of the crews of the Coastguard Rescue Helicopters working closely with the men and women of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

The Coastguard Rescue Helicopters have been called out more than 80 times already in 2008 and were called out 618 times during 2007. They regularly undertake a wide variety of search and rescue missions in what is often a very hostile environment. Operations this year have already included the dramatic rescue of crew members from the sinking ‘Ice Prince’, which got into difficulty in severe weather in January, and when the fishing vessel ‘Spinningdale’ was wrecked against the sheer rock cliffs of St Kilda the following day the crew were airlifted to safety by the Sikorsky S92 Coastguard Rescue Helicopter.

Dave Jardine-Smith, head of Search and Rescue, Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “It’s important to remember that the crews involved regularly undertake rescue operations in a variety of challenging circumstances. As well as airlifting crew from sinking vessels they become involved in coastal and land searches, rescue work for inland flooding and the medical evacuation of seriously injured people. The professionalism and expertise of our service provider’s crews, and the technological capabilities of the aircraft, are routinely apparent in such operations.”

Helicopters play a vital role providing fast searches of large areas and the ability to rescue survivors and get them to safety quickly.

HM Coastguard operating at 18 Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres around the UK can call on a network of search and rescue helicopters around the coast, including military aircraft and Coastguard helicopters now provided under a service contract from CHC Scotia. On the south coast there are Coastguard Rescue Helicopters providing a 24 hour emergency service with helicopters at Lee-on-Solent and Portland.

A new aircraft, an Augusta Westland AW 139 will shortly be introduced into the Coastguard fleet at Lee on Solent and Portland.

Coastguard Rescue Helicopters, Sikorsky S92s, are also available 24 hours a day at Lerwick in Shetland and Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides. The Coastguard Rescue Helicopter has been seen regularly in the BBC’s popular Seaside Rescue series.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is the government body responsible for UK maritime safety. That includes co-ordinating search and rescue at sea through Her Majesty’s Coastguard and checking that ships meet UK and international safety rules. It works to prevent the loss of lives at the coast and at sea, to ensure that ships are safe, and to prevent coastal pollution, and benefits from over 400 Volunteer Coastguard Rescue Teams around the entire coast. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.