The National Maritime Museum celebrates the work of the Search and Rescue Services

By Ruth Hazard | 19 March 2012
A photograph of a lifeboat, helicopter and rescue boat travelling across the sea
© 2011 Crown copyright MOD
Exhibition: Search and Rescue, National Maritime Museum, Cornwall from 16 March 2012

Squeezing a 70ft, six tonne Sea King helicopter into a Museum is no mean feat, but Cornwall’s National Maritime has done just that for their new exhibition exploring the role of the rescue services.

The ambitious installation forms the centrepiece of ‘Search and Rescue’, a celebration of the work of the RNLI, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, HM Coastguard and other maritime organisations.

But the Sea King is not just for show; visitors are offered the rare opportunity to climb inside (without having to be rescued). You can dress as a pilot, explore the lifesaving equipment and listen to accounts from the crew and those they have saved.

Also keeping things interactive is a coastguard operations room where visitors can put themselves in the hot seat, being asked to make the life or death decision to bring in the right service for the rescue.

A photograph of a man dangling from a rope out of a helicopter
© 2011 Crown copyright MOD
At the Museum beach visitors can embrace their inner Hasselhoff. Become a virtual lifeguard, climb aboard a quad bike and take action to make sure the swimmers and surfers are between the right flags.

“This is our biggest and most ambitious exhibition to date but more importantly it is the first time anyone has celebrated the maritime rescue services in this way.” says Exhibitions Manager, Ben Lumby.

“Working with these incredible teams has been a true privilege; they have kindly allowed us to see inside their world and shown us they’re real people doing an amazing job.”

Revisiting rescues from the past, some well-known and some untold, the display is a showcase of the incredible work of these men an women.

UK Search and Rescue Force Commander, Frazer Nicholson explains that during an average year, the RAF can expect to respond to just under two thousand callouts.

“It could be anything from rescuing fallen climbers, sailors in distress through to larger-scale operations such as the floods at Boscastle, Cornwall, in 2004; each day brings a new challenge.”

  • Open Monday to Wednesday 9.30am –2.30pm, Thursday 9:00am-5.00pm.
    Adults £10.50, Children (0-5) free, (6-15) £7.20, Senior (60+) £8.50, Family (2 adults and up to 3 children) £29.50

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