HM Coastguard to showcase future technology at Emergency Services Show 2023

The Coastguard will unveil its first fully electric emergency response vehicle, due to begin trials this year, at the event that showcases top innovations in the emergency services sector at the NEC on 19-20 September.

Teams will also reveal details of an ongoing trial into the suitability of drones in search and rescue at the coast.

The electric vehicle has been designed and adapted to contain all the equipment and technology needed to allow HM Coastguard to reach emergency search and rescue situations quickly, while generating zero emissions in the process.

It will, following the event, be put to the test in several Coastguard Rescue Teams strategically located around the UK, in a trial designed to ensure the vehicle can fulfil teams’ day to day operational needs.

Maritime Minister Baroness Vere said:

The Coastguard’s transition towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly sector is a positive step in the right direction.

By shifting towards greener practices and electric vessels, the Coastguard is setting an example for other organisations and industries to follow. This decision showcases not only a dedication to reduce carbon emissions but also a commitment to ensure search and rescue operations are efficient and sustainable.

Assistant Chief Coastguard Richard Hackwell said:

HM Coastguard is committed to its fleet of emergency vehicles being sustainable and we are hopeful of positive results from the electric vehicle trial. The vehicle has been designed with search and rescue, and the needs of teams during an incident, in mind.

The potential benefits are huge – there is a lot of innovation happening in the service at the minute, as we really start to really embrace modern technology and identify its potential uses in the next generation of search and rescue.

Meanwhile, visitors will also be able to ask about the ongoing trial of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), as coastal safety experts examine how they could effectively be deployed to incidents to enhance search and rescue operations in the future.

Richard Hackwell added:

The benefits of aviation overwatch is well known in the service, with helicopter crews and fixed wing aircraft already able to provide situational awareness from above, from searches to cliff rescues. But helicopters and fixed wing aircraft are limited in certain close-quarter situations.

The trial will examine whether UAVs could offer overwatch in these circumstances, as well as when other air support is unavailable, to enhance the search capabilities of HM Coastguard.

The pilot scheme will test the various platforms and technologies already on the market, as well as consider the training and validation requirements that would be needed. It could also bolster opportunities to supplement the volunteer Coastguard Rescue Service by offering further training for its members.

Visitors to the Emergency Services Show will be spoilt for choice of HM Coastguard information, with two display areas in the exhibition hall. They will be joined by stakeholders from the RNLI and Bristow (operators of HM Coastguard aviation), who will have nearby stands.

The Coastguard stand will also have coastal equipment on display.


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