News story

Coastguard search and rescue helicopter programme

By summer of 2017 there will be 10 coastguard helicopter bases around the UK.

All of these bases will be operated by Bristow Helicopters Ltd on behalf of Her Majesty’s Coastguard at:

  • Central southern England
  • Northern England
  • Northern Scotland
  • North Wales
  • Shetland Isles
  • South east England
  • Southern Scotland
  • South Wales
  • South west England
  • Western Isles

Bristow Helicopters Ltd already provides helicopters and crew to our two bases in Shetland and the Western Isles. Over the coming months, seven more coastguard helicopter bases will open and our current base at Lee on Solent will move over to the Bristow contract. As the new bases open, the military helicopters which currently carry out civilian search and rescue will finish their civilian obligations.

The new crews will be highly experienced, many will be existing crew who are currently working in search and rescue either for the military or coastguard.

The helicopters will provide search and rescue many miles out to sea and all the way around the 10,500 miles of UK coast. Our coastguard helicopters will also operate extensively inland.

The helicopters are Sikorsky S92s and Agusta Westland AW189s. They can fly further and faster than those helicopters they replace. The latest technologies including night vision, infrared, thermal imaging and high illumination lighting technology will all be used by the crew to find people in distresss and bring them to safety.