This study principally aims to find the optimum locations of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) ground control stations (GCSs) to be operated in marine search and rescue (MSAR) operations in the Aegean Sea Turkish SAR zone. To accomplish this, set covering problem (SCP) and maximal covering location problem (MCLP) models, which are widely used in facility location problems within mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) techniques, were applied. For this purpose, a total of 76 demand points and 10 candidate points were determined. Based on the developed mathematical model, this study found that at least five of the ten GCSs (X-2/Gokceada airport, X-3/Canakkale airport, X-6/Adnan Menderes airport, X-9/Milas-Bodrum airport, X-10/Dalaman airport) could cover the entire SAR zone. The findings also indicate that distance suitability values (DSV), incident density, and strategic importance of the area have a higher effect on candidate point allocation compared to geographical suitability values (GSVs)/meteorological suitability values (MSVs). This study makes a significant contribution to the relevant literature as one of the few pieces of research focusing on facility location problems in MSAR operations. We recommend that further research use other facility location problem methodologies that consider different ship types of UAVs for a better comparison.