RNLI and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency are testing the use of drones to help with search and rescue activity this week.
A selection of drones are being used along a stretch of coastline at St Athan, Wales, in a range of scenarios to find out how they could be used to help save lives by helping to locate people more quickly.
Hannah Nobbs, from the RNLI’s innovation team, said: “The aim of this event is to provide realistic scenarios and an authentic operating environment to explore the use of drones in multi-agency operations. We hope this will allow us to understand the benefits and limitations of their use in search and rescue activity.”
It is the culmination on two years of work and the drones are not intended to replace helicopters, coastguard rescue teams or lifeboats.
Phil Hanson, aviation technical assurance manager at the MCA, said: “There is significant evidence emerging from our overseas counterparts and more locally from UK mountain rescue teams indicating that drones can play a crucial role in emergency response. With this in mind, we welcome the opportunity to take part in these emerging trials to test the viability of drone technology with other rescue resources.”