The UK’s search and rescue services have announced they are strongly considering the potential for the inclusion of drones in their coastline rescue missions.
The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) is looking at current regulation and asking how it can be developed in order to allow drones to be used in its work.
MCA’s plan is to eventually send out drones ahead of air, sea and land teams.
This would give the approaching teams an idea of what to expect and could help them prepare better.
MCA helicopters responded to an average of seven incidents a day last year, rescuing 1,600 people.
Maritime minister Nusrat Ghani said: “Drone technology has enormous potential for our search and rescue teams, who save lives 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“This ground-breaking project will not only hope to boost the capabilities of our already fantastic teams but will also boost our ability to spot pollution hazards and protect our precious marine environment.”
MCA aviation technical assurance manager Phil Hanson commented: “I am extremely proud and excited that the MCA has taken the brave step to take the lead in the development and implementation of beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drones in UK airspace.
“The use of drones in search and rescue, counter pollution and maritime aerial observation operations will potentially increase overall efficiency and also reduce the risk to our personnel – allowing the MCA to discharge its international obligations effectively.”