At Safeguard Helidecks we take pride in offering our clients a truly bespoke service for Design Consultancy and Helideck Certification. We ensure that every detail of their requirements can be considered and the right service provided.

We have an experienced team who are well respected both for their knowledge and their ability to work well with crew teams onboard. We have total respect for the privacy of superyacht owners and regularly work with Non-Disclosure Agreements in place. The team is also quick to respond to enquiries and will always endeavour to meet client deadlines.

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Our Team

All our team come from a maritime aviation background and bring decades of experience in the safe management of helicopter operations at sea. Together the team has over 85 years of experience operating helicopters on vessels at sea in the military. The team comprises Ex-military Aircrew, Flight Deck Officers, Survival Specialists, Safety Management Specialists, Engineers and Naval Architects. We live and breathe maritime aviation and strive to ensure that superyachts can enjoy their helicopter operations in the safest way possible.

Steve Vickery

Steve Vickery

Steve is a Principal Engineer and Director of Safeguard Helidecks. He has 35 years’ experience in Maritime Aviation having spent 22 years in the Royal Navy and a further 13 in Safety Consultancy for the maritime sector of the MOD. He has extensive knowledge and experience of Marine Engineering and Ship/Air Integration. Steve is an MCA accredited Lead Surveyor for the inspection and certification of Superyacht Helidecks.


Steve has produced many Ship/Air integration platform and system/equipment safety cases for MOD ships and he is currently responsible for compiling evidence to gain Duty Holder approval to operate different types of military helicopters with those ships. Steve is an Ex-Marine Engineer Officer and mobile seagoing instructor and mentor, with a wealth of experience working in the marine environment onboard ships fitted with Helicopter Landing Areas and Hangars.


In addition to his work with Superyachts Steve is currently an Independent Safety Advisor to the Royal Navy Aircraft Carrier Project for HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales.

Chris Wood

Chris is our Operations Manager and has 21 years of maritime aviation experience, 15 years in the Royal Navy as Aircrew and 6 years working within Industry.  He has worked on numerous multi-spot flight decks including HMS Ocean, RFA Argus, HNLMS Rotterdam and HMS Illustrious. From 2007 to 2010 Chris was a Flight Deck Aircraft Handling Instructor and would take new recruits through a rigorous six-month career course ensuring they were well prepared for life on a dangerous and busy Flight Deck.


In 2010 Chris retrained and earned his Aircrew Wings where he was part of a four-man crew flying the Merlin EH101 Mk1. This involved winching, confined area landings, low level navigation and Search and Rescue duties. Over his 15 years in the military he has worked with various types of helicopter from around the world.  As an experienced Helideck Certification Officer, Chris has worked with numerous Superyachts and their crew to ensure they are operating helicopters in the safest possible manner.

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Chris Lemon

Chris is a Senior Helideck Certification Officer and has 25 years operational management experience within the Royal Navy.  He is a highly experienced ex-Royal Navy Aviation Officer, with time spent as a Maritime Aviation Certification Officer for the Military Aviation Authority (MAA).  During this time he was responsible for providing aviation expertise to support the Ships OC in delivering operational performance standards, optimising platform availability and capability.


In 2016/17 he was a Flight Deck Officer on HMS OCEAN, responsible for the safe conduct of all operations and aircraft on the flight deck, making certain safety procedures were adhered to and ensuring the expeditious movement and launch of aircraft to meet ship and squadron operational requirements. 


Since joining the Safeguard team Chris has been kept busy supporting both the Helideck Certification and the Ship/Air Integration areas of the business.

Lee Hooper

Lee is a Senior Helideck Certification Officer. Lee has 19 years experience in Maritime Aviation, 15 years as a Helicopter Engineer and Helicopter Aircrew in the Royal Navy and 4 years experience working within Industry.  Lee worked as a Helicopter Engineer operating from multiple flight decks of Royal Navy warships, notably from large multi spot ships to small single spot flight decks. In 2010 Lee retrained in the Royal Navy and earned his Flying Wings operating as part of a four-man crew flying the Merlin EH101 Mk1 and Mk2 helicopter.


Lee has worked on and operated from numerous military and non-military flight decks around the world in multiple environments over the last 17 years.  Since leaving the Royal Navy Lee has worked in the Superyacht Industry with Safeguard Helideck Certification to ensure Superyacht aviation is conducted in the safest possible manner.

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James Frean with helicopter

James Frean

James is a Senior Aviation Consultant and Inspector, with over 25 years of experience in helicopter operations. He served 10 years as a Commando Helicopter Pilot in the Royal Navy, flying from many of the UK’s aviation capable ships as well as working with other navies, and has flown in mountain, arctic, desert and jungle environments. In 2006, James moved to Fort Lauderdale and started working in the helicopter-yacht sector, supporting owners looking to improve the safety and efficiency of their onboard helicopter operations. After many years in away in the US and then the UAE, we are glad to see him now back in Europe, although always with a bag ready to fly out to see our clients.


James has been a member of many of the Helideck Working Groups as a Subject Matter Expert for the MCA/REG and Marshall Islands and has been at the forefront of the developing the regulations and standards as the number of yachts with helidecks has continued to grow. He has personally worked with a wide variety of yachts, both private and fully commercial, providing risk management advice and support, from design consultation through to delivering crew training. While his foundations were shaped in the military, he has proven that he understands the peculiarities of the yachting sector and the individuality of each vessel. As a helideck inspector, he brings a wealth of experience and has built a great reputation for his professional and knowledgeable approach.