Countdown begins to HM Coastguard’s 200th birthday

This week’s Maritime Safety Week marks almost six months to the day until Her Majesty’s Coastguard will celebrate a milestone birthday – and we need your help to make the occasion extra special.

On January 15, 2022 HM Coastguard will turn 200.

The history of the coastguard can be traced back to 1822 and, with more than 200 years of memories for us to look back on with pride, we know we have many stories to tell. And we hope that you can help us tell them, by sharing your pictures, memories and experiences over the years.

The 21st century solution to search and rescue    Credit: AgustaWestland


Over the past two centuries HM Coastguard has gone from strength to strength, with coastguard operations centres coordinating responses to emergency situations at the coast – calling upon approximately 310 Coastguard Rescue Teams – made up of around 3,000 dedicated volunteers – and 10 search and rescue helicopters.

It is now one of the UK’s four frontline emergency services, operating a 24/7, 365 day a year search and rescue service to save lives at the coast and at sea.

Safety has always been at the heart of what the coastguard does and, with technology ever evolving, HM Coastguard continues to strive to be at the forefront of innovation in order to carry on improving and saving lives.

Claire Hughes, director of Her Majesty's Coastguard, said: “From our volunteers to full-time staff, we are all immensely proud of the coastguard’s distinguished and fascinating history which has really helped to shape the incredibly important work HM Coastguard carries out today. We look forward to marking the coastguard’s 200th birthday in 2022 and upholding HM Coastguard’s commitment to keeping the public safe at the coast for many years to come.”

From days past, a coastguard team - including a diver - pose for the camera    Credit: National Emergency Service Museum

Can you help us to tell the coastguard story? As we approach next year’s 200th birthday, we are pulling together as much history as we can. We would like to look back at some of the stories, experiences and memories that many people have to tell about the coastguard.

If you have something that you think might fit the bill, please use this link to upload your files or email us at CG200@mcga.gov.uk.

Former Coastguard Rescue Officer Tim Stevens firing a Breeches Buoy rocket line as part of a practice exercise. Breeches Buoys were withdrawn from service in the late 1980s after more than 150 years of use.    Picture: Tim Stevens

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