HMS Echo lends her deck to Her Majesty’s Coastguard

A Royal Navy survey ship has helped out a Coastguard helicopter by offering up her deck for winch training at sea.

Returning to the UK after a recent North Sea survey, HMS Echo received a call for assistance from a Coastguard helicopter.

It seemed the Agusta Westland AW139 was looking for a suitable platform to practise lowering and raising a winchman.

Never one to turn down an opportunity, Echo offered her Quarterdeck and the training got underway.

As the ship moved through the water the winchman was carefully lowered, making a text book landing.

I’m very pleased that we were able to assist the Coastguard and maintain the strong links between our two services.

Commander Phillip Newell

Having only left the Royal Navy in March, the winchman then caught up with old sailor colleagues before the helicopter returned to collect him.

Back onboard, there was time for one last fly-past and a wave goodbye before parting company with HMS Echo and disappearing beyond the horizon.

“I’m very pleased that we were able to assist the Coastguard and maintain the strong links between our two services,” said HMS Echo’s Commanding Officer Commander Phillip Newell,

“The Coastguard can be called upon at any time to save life at sea and working together makes sure this can be done in a safe and efficient manner.”

The training session took place off the UK south coast with the helicopter flying from Lydd Airport, which went live less than a month ago.

Operated by Bristow Helicopters Ltd, on behalf of HM Coastguard, it is one of 10 strategically located bases across the UK and forms part of the 10-year UK Search and Rescue contract awarded by the Department for Transport in March 2013.