2023 wrap-up: A year of big moments

2023 wrap-up: A year of big moments

A brand-new website for HM Coastguard, the inaugural series of a behind-the-scenes documentary for the maritime regulator and the first-ever female chief executive, 2023 has seen some big moments for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
Five coastguards in uniform posing in front of Eurovision stand in Liverpool

It has been a year of innovation and looking to the future, following the celebratory atmosphere of 2022, when the coastguard celebrated its bicentenary.

As we prepare to see in a new year, we take a moment to reflect on the big moments of 2023.



201st birthday celebrations

Marks the end of a fantastic year of events across the nation to celebrate the two-hundredth anniversary of keeping people safe at the coast.

Read more here.


HM Coastguard appears on Blue Peter

Watch the teaser: 


Meet Your Coastguard series begins

A new initiative to introduce the public to our wonderful volunteer teams, with videos, written interviews and more.

Check out the series.



Prestigious Officer Trainee of the Year award unveiled at annual UK Chamber of Shipping dinner

Daisy Jarvis, who began volunteering for the RNLI as lifeboat crew while still at school, and serving as a third officer in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, received the award.

Read more.


MCA Regulatory Compliance Investigations Team (RCIT) pursue a marine company through the courts for unsafe practices which led to the death of a crewman

Svitzer Marine Ltd fined £2million for the safety breaches, which caused the ‘avoidable tragedy’.

Read more.


A coastguard who volunteers with a canine search and rescue organisation goes to Turkey to help in the earthquake disaster response

Ryan Gray, who works in the Belfast Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, went with the group he set up called ‘K9 Search and Rescue NI’.

Ryan Gray and colleague with specially trained dogs



Paddleboarder's 999 call highlights coastal safety message

A dramatic 999 call made by a 17-year-old boy who fell from his paddleboard into the sea helps to promote coastal safety message.


Magnificent seven: HM Coastguard team members receive special accolade

Seven members of HM Coastguard have received a special accolade, after a three-and-a-half-hour rescue that saved a life and ‘tested bravery and decision making'.

Further details.


MCA organises civil hydrography seminar

Experts from across the UK will be gathering today (8 March) to discuss all aspects of the science that keeps mariners safe in its waters in an event organised by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.


Online exams to continue following successful pilot project

MCA drive to digitise continue at pace, with a pilot scheme to allow candidates for the Officer of the Watch (OOW) deck unlimited qualification to split the exam process into two parts is being introduced by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency this Spring.

Read more.



A new website dedicated to coastal safety and the work of His Majesty’s Coastguard is launched

A hugely successful launch of the new dedicated webpage.

First ever female Chief Executive Officer takes charge

A new chapter begins in the life of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in April, as Virginia McVea takes up the role of CEO.


RNLI volunteers and HM Coastguard battle storm force conditions to save lone sailor.

A lone yachtsman was rescued off the coast of Devon as rescue teams battled Storm Mathis and wind speeds gusting over 50mph.



Full story here.



Coronation: Proud coastguards selected to represent Search and Rescue service

Twenty-two members of His Majesty's Coastguard will line the streets as part of the Civil Services Contingent (CSC) in the Coronation Procession of King Charles III on Saturday 6 May 2023.

Uniformed members of the Civil Service Contingency marching through Westminster with The Cenotaph in the background
HM Coastguard took part in the Coronation celebrations as part of the CSC                 Credit: Anderson Photography


Women coastguards turn the tide on maritime stereotypes at Holy Island of Lindisfarne

A tide of female volunteers joining the HM Coastguard team at the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in Northumberland is helping to overturn the maritime world’s outdated reputation as the preserve of men. 

Read the story.


Coastguards lead on water safety in Liverpool during Eurovision
Five coastguards in uniform in front of Eurovision heart photo space in Liverpool
HM Coastguard led on water safety during the nine days that Eurovision descended on Liverpool in May, with Area Commander Mike Buratti describing it as a 'special few weeks' for the city



‘We're so proud of you’ – CEO's praise for HM Coastguard volunteers

The volunteers who are the lifeblood of HM Coastguard took their turn in the limelight during a visit to Scotland by the new Maritime and Coastguard Agency Chief Executive, Virginia McVea.


Rip current turns day out into near-tragedy

“I’ll come back for you.” These were the last words David Rawlston shouted to his uncle, Gordon MacDonald, as he and his daughter were wrenched away by a vicious rip current off the coast of west Scotland. The family recount the horrifying day.

Read the full story.


Exercise Mudlark puts London Coastguard to the test

London Coastguards put to the test in a major search and rescue exercise on the River Thames involving boats, mud crews and a helicopter.


Dad’s safety appeal after son trapped under collapsed sand

A father has urged people to take care digging on the beach after his 14-year-old son became trapped when a pile of excavated sand collapsed on top of him.

Find out more.

Rescuers digging out Warren Gant on the beach at Anderby Creek, Lincolnshire
Rescuers digging out Warren Gant on the beach at Anderby Creek, Lincolnshire


Faster NHS hospital transfers under trailblazing new HM Coastguard helicopter agreement 

An agreement that is the first of its kind in England has been signed to make it easier for HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopters to respond to requests to transport seriously ill or injured adult patients between NHS hospitals in South West England.

Read about the important agreement.



First-ever behind the scenes documentary, Coastguard, goes live

The new documentary series, Coastguard, aired for the first-ever time on Channel 5 and was a huge success with the public. More than five million people tuned in to watch the first series.

It was such a success that another series will be coming to your screens in 2024.

Read more.



Safety kit makes the difference to fisherman’s rescue within minutes

Fisher tells story of sinking boat, and the safety kit that proved lifesaving.

Full story.



Prepared for the worst: meet the team training to avert pollution disaster

Learn about the counter-pollution hardware on standby round the clock, forming part of the UK’s response that can be deployed to the coast within hours if the worst happens. 


Grandfather and grandson swept out to sea on paddleboards

A grandfather learned the importance of checking the weather forecast and safety signage, after he and his 11-year-old grandson were swept out to sea while paddleboarding.

Full story.



How the SOSREP role changed the nation's disaster response

Responding to national maritime emergencies is an essential part of what the Maritime and Coastguard Agency does, not only to save lives at sea, but to prevent environmental harm too.

Read more.


Rowing boat owner sentenced after 21-year-old lost overboard

Following a case brought by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the owner and skipper of a vessel has received a 12-month suspended sentence after a 21-year-old was lost overboard in the middle of the Atlantic.

Full story.


Paddleboarder found after seven-hour search shares his story

Five Coastguard Rescue Teams, seven RNLI lifeboats and two Coastguard helicopters took part in the search for father and son.

Read more.



Cadets' health and well-being 'in safe hands' with new support group

A group of dedicated industry professionals has been created to prioritise the health and wellbeing of cadets during training, both on land and at sea. 

More about it here.


HM Coastguard helicopter crew wins award for Storm Claudio rescue

The crew of an HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter has won an accolade from the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society for a brave operation that saved eight sailors during Storm Claudio in October last year.


New toolkit to support mental wellbeing of HM Coastguard teams

A new toolkit designed to help teams cope with distressing search and rescue incidents is being launched in the week of World Mental Health Day on 10 October.

Full story.


Storm Babet flood response

As Storm Babet battered parts of the UK, coastguards were among those at the heart of the multi-agency response.


HM Coastguard take part in Remembrance Day Parade at the Cenotaph

HM Coastguard take part in the Remembrance Day Parade at the Cenotaph, with a contingent of 10 chosen to march.


Safety tips and checklists feature on new app for seafarers

A new app for seafarers, launched by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, is a chance for those working at sea to have safety advice, checklists and important resources at their fingertips. 

Graphic of a smartphone with the new app showing


Sailor rescued from damaged vessel 600 miles out at sea

The correct safety equipment onboard meant the sailor could keep in contact with HM Coastguard throughout.

Full story here.



Groundbreaking review of UK cadet syllabus could shape future of training worldwide

A groundbreaking review of the UK’s cadet syllabus, which could shape the future of training worldwide, has been completed by the Cadet Training & Modernisation (CT&M) Programme.


Avoid a Christmas tragedy: don’t drink and drive on the water

Leisure sailors have been urged to take the traditional drink-drive safety message from the roads onto the water to help avoid a Christmas tragedy this year.

Read more.


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