After more than two decades in service the Portland Coastguard search and rescue helicopter will today - Friday 30th June 2017 - cease operations, despite more than 100,000 people signing a petition to try to keep it open.
The Portland SAR helicopter base has performed rescues across the South West since 1995. The closure has come about because the MCA is being restructured, with a fleet of search and rescue helicopters operating from 10 bases.
The South Dorset MP Richard Drax had also spoken out against the closure of the base, "I watch their departure still very much with regret.”
There is little good news because Heli Operations (a company supplying trained helicopter personnel to companies worldwide) will be taking over the the Portland helicopter base site at Osprey Quay from tomorrow, 1st July 2017. This should mean that the base can provide a refuelling facility for the search and rescue helicopter.
The nearest SAR will now be located at the new £20m-helicopter base at Lee-on-Solent in Hampshire. The MCA has reported this is 15 minutes flying time from Portland.
The Portland area will also have back-up from helicopters in Cornwall and South Wales.
Everyone has the ability to make a difference every day, but there are those who go so far above and beyond the call their contributions have far-reaching effects and influence the ways things are done. Do you know someone like that whose contributions have significantly impacted dive safety? If so, tell DAN about it, because nominations for the 2012 DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award are now being accepted.
Now in its 24th year, the DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award is given each year to an individual who has contributed significantly to recreational dive safety or the mission of DAN, either regionally or nationally. Although many past winners have been noted industry professionals, the nominations are open to divers of all levels as well as nondivers. The important criteria are not their area of expertise or experience level; the focus of the award is on the impact of their work.
“This is an extremely rewarding time of year for us,” said Dan Orr, president of DAN. “It’s always inspiring to read the nominations. It’s a testament to those who have worked hard to support DAN or make diving safer for everyone.”
Winners of the DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award receive a specially engraved Rolex Submariner dive watch along with a commemorative plaque. The award ceremony will take place at Beneath the Sea in March 2012.
If you would like to submit a nomination, simply send a brief description of the individual’s merits and contributions to DAN or dive safety to Jaclyn Messersmith via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Nominations can also be sent via traditional mail to Messersmith c/o DAN/Rolex Award, Divers Alert Network, 6 West Colony Place, Durham, NC 27705.
All nominations must be received no later than Jan. 15, 2012.