UK SARH operations 2018-19

SARH tasking locations
SARH tasking locations. Picture courtesy of the the UK Government’s Department for Transports SARH statistics report.

The UK Government’s Department for Transport (DfT) has released a report detailing civilian search and rescue (SAR) helicopter (SARH) operations between April 2018 and March 2019, and has highlighted a decrease compared to the previous year.

The report, Search and Rescue Helicopter Statistics: Year ending March 2019, includes data from the Aeronautical Rescue Co-ordination Centre (ARCC) that was provided by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

For the period covered, the report cited that, on average, SAR helicopters across the UK together responded to seven taskings a day. Newquay, on the southwest coast of the UK, and Prestwick, on the northwest coast in Scotland, had the most taskings, responding to 341 and 318 taskings respectively; while Stornoway, located on the western Isle of Lewis in Scotland, and Sumburgh – located at the very northernmost part of the UK, in the Shetland Islands, Scotland – both had the least, responding to 131 and 143 taskings respectively.

The DfT reported that half of all SARH operations were rescues or recoveries, and that 83 per cent of the Sumburgh base’s rescue and recovery operation took place at sea. In addition, it noted that, during the year ending March 2019, 1,606 people were rescued and 182 were assisted by SAR helicopters.

Overall, the report highlighted that there was an eight-per-cent decrease in the number of SARH taskings in the year ending March 2019 compared to the year prior. During the latest quarter (January to March 2019) there were 442 taskings, a 26 per cent decrease compared to the same quarter in the previous year – the report reasons that this dramatic difference may have been down to weather conditions: “There were lower levels of taskings during the last quarter (January to March) of 2018/19 compared to the same period the previous year, possibly reflecting the adverse snowy weather in February and March 2018. Otherwise, the monthly pattern in taskings for the 2018/19 year was generally in line with the 2016/17 and 2017/18 trends.”

Read the full report here.