There can be few sights more welcome to the distressed mariner than the underside of a Search and Rescue Sea King

With almost casual slickness, the Bristow Search and Rescue Sea King India Juliet swept up Southampton Water at 1500 on the dot, plucked a stunt MOB from the water just beyond the marina then flew off. It was certainly impressive but as demonstrations go, it would have been one of the shorter ones here at the Southampton Boat Show at about 20 seconds. Fortunately, they looped round and performed some other manoeuvres.

Their second rescue demonstration involved lowering one of their crew onto the deck of a moving coastguard boat, then lowering a second ‘injured’ crewmember into the arms of the first. The entire process again lasted less than a minute before India Juliet looped round again to perform a hi-line manouevre, sliding a crew member down a taut line onto the deck of a moving boat. There wasn’t the slightest hesitation about any of the operations and the slack-jawed crowd was suitably impressed.

India Juliet is the Lee-on-Solent-based Sea King and Bristow have three others, at Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides and at Sumburgh in the Shetland Isles. Their expertise and dedication is inspirational and Britain’s coasts are much the safer for their selfless endeavours.