HM Coastguard crew opens fire to celebrate service’s 200th anniversary


The crew of the HM Coast Guard have dropped a throwing rope overboard to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the life-saving service at sea.

The four Home Nations dropped a tow rope, one of the rescue tools used by Coast Guard crews, into the sea at 11 a.m. Saturday as a symbol of dedication to service.

Tom Wright, Area Commander for Coastal Operations, said: “This birthday is a huge milestone for all of us at HM Coastguard. We wanted to mark the event in a way that was unique to us and demonstrated our commitment to keeping people safe at sea. Today’s symbolic launch of a firing line across the UK is a reflection of that commitment.”

Founded on January 15, 1822, HM Coastguard was originally created to prevent smuggling.

Today, the Coast Guard works with more than 3,500 volunteers across the UK and 10 search and rescue helicopter bases to rescue people in distress on beaches and at sea.

Coordinated more than 36,000 incidents in 2021, making it the busiest year on record.

Committed Coast Guard staff and volunteers have been commended for their contributions to enabling the service to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Claire Hughes, director of HM Coastguard, said: “When you look at how we started and where we are now, it’s easy to celebrate the innovation and development that can be seen across the service. However, we are far more proud of the people, volunteers and staff who have continued to fight for two centuries to keep people safe on beaches and at sea.

Ms Hughes added: “We have always responded and will always respond to those who are in danger.”

Marine Secretary Robert Courts praised HM Coastguard on its historic anniversary and its “continued dedication and professionalism” in ensuring the safety of others.

Courts said: “HM Coastguard is the backbone of our maritime sector and the country is indebted to its outstanding workforce who continue to provide outstanding service.”

More than £175 million has been invested to improve the Coast Guard’s national radio network at 165 locations over the next two years.

In December, HM Coastguard began deploying an updated search and rescue radio network using fiber technology.

It is also working to make its fleet electric over the next five years as part of a plan to reduce its carbon footprint.

Matt Thompson

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