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  1. ITV Report

Caister lifeboat in Norfolk is trialling the use of drones to help with sea searches

The crew of Caister lifeboat in Norfolk are trialling a set of drones to help them search the waters during rescue operations.

See Kate Prout's report from onboard the lifeboat here

The drones use Direct Line's Fleetlights prototype technology and are fitted with lights and cameras which feed live video footage back to screens on the boat. They launch from the front of the boat and perform an automatic box search around it.It gives the lifeboat crew a better view of the water, and helps them find a person more quickly.

The drones have a 500 metre range and can withstand winds of up to 30mph Credit: ITV Anglia.

"Typically when there's a large swell visibility from the lifeboat may be down to tens of metres. If that greatly increases the time it takes to find you in the water, and survivability is dependent on how long you are in the water, anyway we can speed that up will help save lives. So by the drone being in an elevated position and in a planned view, the ups and downs of the swell doesn't cause problems and the wide angle of the lens allows us to see hundreds of metres at a time"

– Richard Lewis, Total UAV

The drones are still in the trial period and need to be approved by the Civil Aviation Authority