A group of Coastguards in various uniforms stand on a grey, rocky landscape. Above, a Coastguard helicopter is hovering.

Episode Five

Coastguard Episode Five

The action continues in episode five on Sunday 30 July

Episode five of Coastguard, the observational documentary following the inner workings of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, will begin with dramatic rescue footage as HM Coastguard receive a Mayday call from a vessel reportedly sinking, and fast. Meanwhile, safety checks over UK waters continue to encourage safe working practices at sea and MCA surveyors will re-inspect a detained vessel in Teesport to see if safety concerns have been addressed. The operations room at the JRCC receives a 999 call from a passer-by who can hear someone screaming for help while the Prestwick helicopter responds to a call for help despite worsening weather, with lightning, heavy rain and poor visibility…

Simple tips to keep safe

The Call, Tell, Throw advice can save lives. But there are simple tips beach-goers can follow to keep safe and enjoy their day out. 

Choosing a lifeguarded beach gives added protection, for example, as well as quickly checking signs and flags to be aware of local risks, and knowing your location to summon help if you need it. 

If you get into trouble by the beach, call 999 and ask for Coastguard – they know what to do. 

Catch Coastguard on Channel 5 on Sunday at 9pm, and watch the drama unfold. 
A male Coastguard in a HM Coastguard operations room Watch now
“If we can make a difference and save even one life from being unnecessarily lost at sea and improve living and working conditions on board fishing vessels, then our work will be worthwhile.”
David Fuller, Principal Marine Surveyor
David Fuller in red at helm of vessel

Assessing aerial footage of fishing safety

We will meet David Fuller in the fifth episode, a Principal Marine Surveyor based at Beverley, just north of Hull on the River Humber, one of the UK’s key gateways to the North Sea.  

As part of the team, his patch covers the North of England and Scotland for fishing matters. 

The fifth episode of Coastguard follows his assessment of aerial footage of a crewman flouting safety rules by failing to wear a personal flotation device on deck on a fishing vessel – ultimately leading to an improvement notice being issued. 

David's career has come full circle as he came to marine surveying from working as a Superintendent Engineer for a large fishing company, having started out in 1972 as an engineer cadet in the Merchant Navy.  

David said: “Having been involved with the marine industry for over 50 years and the fishing industry in particular since 1987, my aim is to improve the quality of life at sea and especially safety on board our UK flag fishing vessels.  

“If we can make a difference and save even one life from being unnecessarily lost at sea and improve living and working conditions on board fishing vessels, then our work will be worthwhile.” 

His expertise includes a first-class degree in engineering, but his life experience also includes being a member of the Army Cadet Force, becoming an OBE in 2011, and serving as Deputy Lieutenant for the East Riding of Yorkshire. 

Dramatic rescues

Last week

You will have seen the dramatic rescue from the grounded sailing vessel in last week's episode of Coastguard (broadcast at 9pm on July 23 on Channel 5), as teams rushed to save two people as their yacht broke up around them. 

“The yacht actually broke up and sank, I believe it was about 46 seconds after we left, it was touch and go” winch paramedic Abi confirmed, shortly after viewers had watched the brave three-person lift off the grounded boat. 

It is an incident that highlights the serious issue of boat groundings and the risk to life it can present. 

This week

This week’s episode, the penultimate of series one, will see the sinking of another recreational yacht as the documentary explores recreational sailing and how often HM Coastguard responds to calls for help from leisure sailors.
The ‘pull-of-the-sea’ is strong for many and it is often the dream for some to one day get their own boat.
It is never anyone’s dream or intention to ground or sink it. But it happens.
Birds eye view of yacht sinking from the back Watch now
Sunset rock pools at the coast

Prevention better than a cure

It is not always possible to prevent disaster as the sea can be inherently dangerous and unpredictable, but there are some things that people can do to minimise the risk of a vessel going aground or, even, sinking completely. 

The RYA tells us that ‘prevention is better than cure’ as carrying out regular checks and conducting regular maintenance can avoid potential issues. In fact, they could prove lifesaving. 

It is always the responsibility of the vessel owner to recover their vessel – just like a person would need to arrange for the recovery of their broken-down car – but costs can quickly escalate to five-figures or more at sea, if not insured. 

A boat can be overwhelmed by water for a number of reasons outside of a person’s control, but the majority of scenarios can be avoided with regular checks to avoid leaks and flooding and navigational training to understand how to traverse the often-rocky shores of the UK. 

A calm surface can hide many dangerous obstacles that could scupper a vessel. The overwhelming advice is to do what you can to minimise your risks of your vessel sinking. 

Know what to do in an emergency

Even when you do everything right, it can go wrong anyway; the MCA strongly advises owners to make sure their vessel is insured, for protection against escalating costs, should the worst happen.

•    Buying a boat brings with it some considerable responsibilities.
•    Know your vessel and both its and your limitations – the sea can be unforgiving.
•    Be prepared for those ‘just in case’ occasions – know what to do in an emergency.
•    Always be aware of the weather, the tides and the currents.
•    You insure your car – so insure you boat.

Next episode: On Sunday, Channel 5 at 9pm

Find out more about each of the previous episodes below:

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