Stornoway’s coastguard search and rescue (SAR) helicopter base has officially transferred
into the national SAR helicopter network operated by Bristow Helicopters on behalf
of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
For the past four years the Stornoway base has been part of an interim contract.
The Stornoway helicopter rescue service commenced in 1987. It continues to provide
vital life-saving support to the fishing and other marine industries and the offshore
energy sector, as well as to land-based incidents including missing persons and other
As part of the transition to UK SAR, Stornoway is now host to two specially configured
Sikorsky S-92A aircraft, which replace a pair of S-92 aircraft.
Chief pilot, Captain Ben Clarke, said: “This is a landmark year for Stornoway - celebrating
our 30th anniversary, and now formally joining our colleagues as part of the UK’s
overarching strategic search and rescue response team provided within the UKSAR contract.
“We look forward to settling into our upgraded facilities later this year too.
“The arrival of our new UK SAR S-92A aircraft ensures we have the latest technology
available to us when we head out on a mission.
“My teams’ focus is always on bringing people home safely from a SAR operation, being
dedicated to year-round training, and living up to the incredibly high standard that
the UK’s search and rescue service has been renowned for delivering for more than
70 years, from both military and civilian operations.
“Stornoway may be seen as a remote setting in the eyes of many people – but we are
absolutely vital for that reason, as the provision of helicopter support to people
living and working in and around the islands, is all the more important due to the
“We are proud to support our north west coast and Hebridean communities, responding
to a wide range of incidents from mountain to western Atlantic and assisting tourist,
locals and professional mariners alike,” added Capt Clarke.
In common with its sister sites around the UK, the Stornoway base has a team of 30,
including pilots, engineers, winch operators, winchman paramedics and support staff.
New rescue helicopters for Stornoway as base joins national network