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Saving lives for
200 years

Celebrating 200 years'

200 years

To Search. To Rescue. To Save.

2022 marked the 200th anniversary of the Coastguard service. In modern times we’re dedicated to saving lives at sea and around the coast, having evolved over the last two centuries into a British institution, responsible for search and rescue around the UK's shores, 24-hours a day.

When you look at how we started and where we are now, it's easy to celebrate the innovation and development that can be seen throughout the service. But we are far prouder of the people, the volunteers and the staff who, throughout two centuries, have continued to strive to keep people safe at the coast and out at sea.

It was back in 1809 that the Board of Customs formed the Preventative Water Guard to tackle smugglers with boats patrolling bays and coves around the country before it was placed under the Treasury in 1816.

In a minute dated 15 January 1822, the Treasury accepted it should return to the Board of Customs and declared the new force should be called "Coast Guard" which in effect became the "birth certificate" of HM Coastguard.

The Coastguard was formed with the merger of three services set up to prevent smuggling - the Revenue Cruisers, the Riding Officers and the Preventive Water Guard.

It is often said that those who carry out search and rescue are like a family, caring for each other and those they serve. We’re extremely proud to celebrate the work of our volunteers and staff, past and present, on this milestone and beyond.


Coastguard 200 magazine

Read all about it! Our very special souvenir magazine celebrating 200 years of saving lives is packed with information and delves into the past, present and future. View or download your free digital copy.

Download (7.73 MB)
coastguard magazine on ipad

About HM Coastguard

HM Coastguard is one of the UK’s frontline 999 services.
As the UK’s national maritime emergency service, we are available to help those in distress around our coastline or at sea 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
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