'Symbolic' casting of throwlines marks 200 years of service for coastguards

The HM Coastguard team in Lowestoft.

The HM Coastguard team in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

They are volunteer rescuers, who are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week across our coastline.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team vehicle.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team vehicle. - Credit: Mick Howes

And, as a special milestone was marked, the hard working, dedicated volunteer coastguard rescue officers – who respond to maritime emergencies and those on the Broads – are continuing to help keep people safe.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team in Southwold.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team in Southwold. - Credit: Richard Reeder

Since 1822, Her Majesty’s Coastguard has sought to search, to rescue and to save.

Historic service from the HM Coastguard.

Historic service from the HM Coastguard. - Credit: HM Coastguard

And 200 years of saving lives along the UK coast and at sea - as well as co-ordinating rescues for those in distress in international waters - was celebrated on January 15, 2022.

Historic service from the HM Coastguard.

Historic service from the HM Coastguard. - Credit: HM Coastguard

In honour of the landmark birthday, coastguards across all four home nations - including teams across Norfolk and Suffolk - cast throwlines into the sea as a symbol of the service’s dedication.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team throwing the throwline.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team throwing the throwline. - Credit: Mick Howes

Throwlines - which form part of the lifesaving kit used by coastguard teams - were cast into the seas at iconic places around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at 11am on January 15.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team in Southwold.

Gemma Kemp threw the throwline at Southwold. - Credit: Claire Hall

In Lowestoft, the HM Coastguard rescue team cast throwlines into the sea at Ness Point, and also at Southwold Pier.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team. - Credit: Mick Howes

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HM Coastguard Lowestoft station officer Claire Hall said: "We all work in different jobs, and all volunteer for the coastguard.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team in Southwold.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team in Southwold. - Credit: Richard Reeder

"I have been with the coastguards for nearly nine years now, and the team ranges from almost nine years of service to one week.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team casting throwlines.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team casting throwlines. - Credit: Mick Howes

"We had 179 call-outs last year, and already this month we have been very, very busy with several call-outs and three this week.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team in Southwold.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team in Southwold. - Credit: Claire Hall

"We are one of 310 coastguard rescue teams across the country, featuring 3,500 dedicated volunteers, responding to emergency situations at the coast with the teams around the country throwing throw lines into the sea today at iconic points in their areas to mark the 200th birthday.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team casting throwlines.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team casting throwlines. - Credit: Mick Howes

"The teams have been keeping people safe by the coast for 200 years."

HM Coastguard

HM Coastguard. - Credit: Mick Howes

From its beginnings with coastal lookouts to today’s hi-tech national network of co-ordination centres, it was on January 15 1822, that HM Coastguard was formally brought into existence.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team.

The HM Coastguard Lowestoft team. - Credit: Mick Howes

Founded to combat smuggling by the amalgamation of three services - the Revenue Cruisers, the Riding Officers and the Preventive Water Guard - today, Ms Hall, who has been the station officer for three and a half years, added: "Today we have myself, Bob Curtis, deputy station officer, and coastguard rescue officers Richard Reeder, David Ereira, Matt Knights, Gemma Kemp, Oscar Byatt and Tony Knode with us and another three members who are not here.

"We are very proud to be part of the celebrations."

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Last month, HM Coastguard implemented new updated search and rescue radio network which uses fibre technology, with more than £175m invested to upgrade the Coastguard’s national radio network across all 165 sites over the next two years.

HM Coastguard control centre in years gone by.

HM Coastguard control centre in years gone by. - Credit: HM Coastguard

Maritime Minister, Robert Courts said: “HM Coastguard is the backbone of our maritime sector and the nation is indebted to its incredible workforce which continues to deliver an exceptional service.”

HM Coastguard search and rescue.

HM Coastguard search and rescue. - Credit: HM Coastguard

Coastal operations area commander Tom Wright added: “This anniversary is a huge milestone for all of us at HM Coastguard.

HM Coastguard control centre in years gone by.

HM Coastguard control centre in years gone by. - Credit: HM Coastguard

"The symbolic casting of throwlines across the UK today is a reflection of that commitment."