Overseas Patrol Squadron

The mission of the Overseas Patrol Squadron is to patrol the fishery limits of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, protecting the British fishing industry and safeguarding the nation’s maritime economy.



Square nautical miles of sea to patrol


Workers that depend on the UK fishing industry

£900+ million

Worth of fish landed by UK vessels per year


Estimated proportion of illegal fishing worldwide

What are we doing?

The Overseas Patrol Squadron is the oldest front-line squadron in the Royal Navy. With a small headquarters staff based at Portsmouth Naval Base, the OPS is made up of four River-class offshore patrol vessels and one helicopter.

This small but dedicated team patrols 80,000 square miles of sea, upholding international law, treaties and agreements and protecting the UK’s precious fishing rights.

The Overseas Patrol Squadron also has a secondary role in conducting inspections of all fishing vessels in UK waters and acting as an arbitrator between rival vessels when disputes arise. Their versatile offshore patrol vessels can also be used in maritime counter-terrorism, counter-drug surveillance, and pollution control.