Happy 200th birthday, HM Coastguard! Rescue service celebrates milestone

Two hundred years of saving lives along the UK coast and at sea, as well as coordinating rescues for those in distress in international waters, is being marked this year as HM Coastguard celebrates its milestone anniversary.

It was on 15 January 1822, that HM Coastguard was formally brought into existence and has been working to keep people safe at the coast and sea ever since.
Today, Saturday 15 January, in honour of that actual birthday, coastguards across all four UK home nations are casting throwlines as a symbol of the service’s dedication – past and present. Throwlines, which form part of the lifesaving kit used by coastguard teams, will be cast into the seas around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at 11 am.
For 200 years the Coastguard has moved with the times and looks to the future to help save people in the waters around the UK. In 2022, they currently have 310 Coastguard Rescue Teams made up of 3500 volunteers, with 10 search and rescue helicopter bases.
In the last few years, the service has branched out, providing mutual aid and support during events and incidents to other emergency partners. During the pandemic, coastguards supported the NHS, attended the G7 and COP26 in 2021 and are called in to support during national emergencies including flooding or supplying water to stranded drivers.
Maritime Minister, Robert Courts said: “Congratulations HM Coastguard on their 200-year anniversary. I am immensely proud and humbled by the continued dedication and professionalism from the staff and volunteers which ensures everyone’s safety on our shores and around our coast. HM Coastguard is the backbone of our maritime sector and the nation is indebted to its incredible workforce which continues to deliver an exceptional service.”
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 throughout the service. And yet, we are far more proud of the people, the volunteers and the staff who throughout two centuries have continued to strive to keep people safe at the coast and out at sea. We always have and always will respond to those in distress.”


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Claire Gordon

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