Coastguard people en Tue, 21 May 2024 11:09:13 +0100 Fri, 05 Apr 2024 10:10:30 +0100 HM Coastguard teams hailed with Department for Transport Rescue Shield Three volunteer Coastguard Rescue Teams (CRTs) in Sussex have been awarded the Department for Transport Rescue Shield for their outstanding dedication and courage responding to many particularly challenging emergencies on steep and dangerous cliffs. Fri, 05 Apr 2024 10:10:30 +0100 Coastguard people

The prestigious accolade was presented by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Chief Executive, Virginia McVea, to the CRTs and full-time officers working from Birling Gap, Eastbourne and Newhaven. 

The volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officers who make up the teams are regularly sent to deploy their rope rescue skills on the vertiginous cliffs of the Sussex coast. 

Emergency responses often require long hours, descending onto precarious ledges, and sometimes careful communication with the people in danger. It is not unusual for CRTs to be tasked to several incidents in a single day or for rescues to also involve pet dogs. 

The Rescue Shield is issued annually by the Department for Transport and is its highest recognition for outstanding examples of lifesaving effort by HM Coastguard teams. 

It was presented on Thursday 4 April during a special ceremony at Newhaven Coastal Operations Base where representatives from the three CRTs gathered. 

Virginia said: “To tackle just one of these incidents deserves our gratitude. To turn out week after week throughout the year to help people in such intense moments makes these Coastguards worthy winners of this extra special award. 

“The type of distressing circumstances our teams often face requires a special sensitivity, resilience and courage in addition to expertise and teamwork.  

“I was very proud to hand over the Department for Transport Rescue Shield to Birling Gap, Eastbourne and Newhaven CRTs, and pass on the appreciation of a grateful public.” 

To find out how to apply to volunteer as a Coastguard Rescue Officer, visit 

Photo, from left: Trevor Cutler (Newhaven CRT), Mark Francis (Birling Gap), Sadi Hopgood (Eastbourne) and Virginia McVea (Photo credit: Eddie Mitchell)


Team ‘humbled and privileged’ to receive highest form of civic honour Ceremony held to recognise important work of Hartlepool Coastguard Tue, 19 Mar 2024 11:08:10 +0000 Coastguard people

Coastguard Rescue Officers in Hartlepool have been awarded the highest form of civic honour, to recognise their work and contribution to the borough.

After seeking nominations from the community, Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team has been awarded the Honorary Freedom of the Borough by Hartlepool Borough Council, for always helping those in need.

From lifesaving search and rescue call outs to supporting events and happenings in the town, the work of HM Coastguard has not gone unnoticed by locals. 

The prestigious honour was awarded as a huge thank you to the team during a civic ceremony held on 18 March, presented by the Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool, Councillor Shane Moore.

Following the event, Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Station Officer Garry Carden said: “The team is humbled and privileged to receive such an honour, even to be nominated is something really special. 

“We don’t become coastguard rescue officers for the recognition or praise, we just want to help keep people safe. To receive this honour shows we’re doing something right and we’ve made our community proud.”

Coastal Operations Area Commander Martine Lowe added: “I, alongside HM Coastguard, am so proud of the Hartlepool team, receiving this honour shows how appreciated and respected they are within the community. 

“As the team continues its important and lifesaving duties, officers can remind themselves of this honour – a physical and celebratory reminder of their valued service.”

The citation from the council reads the honour’s bestowal on the coastguard “is testament to the numerous lives saved locally and support the team has provided to Hartlepool”.

Mayor Cllr Moore said: “The Freedom of the Borough is worthy and deserved recognition for a team that does so much to ensure the safety of Hartlepool residents and visitors to the town. 

“The volunteers’ willingness to give up their time to protect others is testimony to their professionalism, dedication and commitment, and it is so reassuring to know that they are on hand in the event of an emergency. 

“My thanks go to each and every member of the team and I would like to congratulate them on this honour.”

Pictures provided by Hartlepool Mail, credit Frank Reid


‘Times have changed’ - Inspiring a generation for both men and women 'We should be using our roles to promote inclusivity and a workplace for all, that’s what it’s all about.' Fri, 08 Mar 2024 09:26:45 +0000 Coastguard people

As part of this year’s International Women’s Day, the Deputy to the Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention (SOSREP) has highlighted the importance of creating a diverse and inclusive workplace for everyone.

In 2018 Lisa McAuliffe became the first woman to be appointed a Deputy to the SOSREP. This is a role which during maritime emergencies empowers Lisa to make time critical decisions on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport during a shipping incident, or the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero. This is a role she takes seriously but also enjoys. 

Lisa says it is the combination of both men and women that brings “different dimensions and perspective to a team”, adding “work should never be about gender, but about recognising the individual”.

In 1970 women were allowed to join HM Coastguard for the first time, and now, from counter pollution to fishing safety, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency celebrates the inclusion of women across the agency.

“Traditionally roles in HM coastguard were held by men as they were the ones who went to sea and therefore had that maritime experience, but times have changed,” Lisa said.

“It has taken time to evolve but now all genders have just as much experience and skills in the maritime sector as men once did.

“I was a young woman coming into this job and age added a different challenge, but it was a positive experience in lots of ways as I was able to add a new voice and bring new skills to the role.”

Deputy to the SOSREP Lisa McAuliffe and SOSREP Stephan Hennig at seaOne of Lisa’s personal SOSREP achievements was last year; leading the response to an incident near Wolf Rock Lighthouse in Falmouth, where a vessel lost power and ran aground. 

The response to the stricken vessel was led by the Deputy to the SOSREP, with the co-operation and collaboration of key, critical stakeholders; resulting in all remaining safe and no pollution. 

“Tough decisions had to be made, but this is why this role was created,” Lisa said, “gender didn’t have an effect on this, it was just about making the right call and having the support of the teams and organisations around me, no matter what their gender.”

Nodding to the theme of International Women’s Day - Inspire Inclusion - Lisa noted the importance of an equal and accommodating workplace, in particular when it comes to childcare. 

“As time has moved on the MCA has evolved its position on childcare and support. Being a parent, and in my case a single parent, this shouldn’t impact your career”, she said, “there are mothers and fathers who have to and want to work, as well as bringing up children, and that isn’t easy.

“A workplace should be flexible to support staff with children or other caring responsibilities, which in turn will improve inclusion and work productivity.”

Lisa said: “To not be inclusive means missing out on so many experts, so many skilled and wonderful people who can bring so much to your team. It shouldn’t matter what you look like or what your gender is, you’re still a person with feelings that will bring something special to your team.

“Evolution and change is absolutely necessary and the MCA is very good at this, but there is always more work to be done. We should be using our roles to promote inclusivity and a workplace for all, trying to inspire the next generation, that’s what it’s all about.”


Coastguard teams recognised with bravery and conduct award 'This award is testament to the teams’ hard work and their ongoing dedication to the service' Mon, 26 Feb 2024 12:21:04 +0000 Coastguard people

Coastguard Rescue Teams in the Western Isles have been celebrated by police for their “brave, decisive and courageous actions” within the community.

The Chief Constable’s Bravery and Excellence Awards, run by Police Scotland, is a chance for the force to recognise individuals and organisations that have gone the extra mile in emergency situations. As part of this the Western Isles Coastguard Rescue Teams have received a Bravery and Conduct Award, for their ongoing mutual support to police. 

The citation from Police Scotland highlighted the “invaluable assistance, expertise and knowledge” provided by HM Coastguard in challenging circumstances, adding the Western Isles teams “work effectively with police to achieve the best possible results”. 

“The brave, decisive and courageous actions of the Western Isles Coastguard Teams ensure that the community they serve are kept safe on a daily basis.”

In a special awards ceremony held on 23 February, Coastal Operations Area Commander Murdo Macaulay, Senior Coastal Operations Officers Ronald MacLean and Kayleigh Smith and Rescue Coordination Centre Manager David Smith were the recipients of the awards.

Area Commander Murdo said: “We don’t do what we do for recognition or praise, but this award is testament to the teams’ hard work and their ongoing dedication to the service. 

“It also shows the important relationship we have and must keep with other emergency services, always working together to achieve results. From providing search and rescue resources to assisting with safety cover or transport, we will always try our best to support our emergency services family.  

“This award is a massive boost for the Western Isles teams and they should be very proud of themselves.”

Police Scotland Chief Constable Jo Farrell said: “These awards shine a light on the great value policing brings to communities: keeping people safe from harm, protecting the vulnerable, bringing criminals to justice, solving problems and reducing offending. 

“I want to thank and congratulate all the winners and nominees, including members of the public. Their inspiring work and brave actions illustrate how policing stands up for and with our communities.”

Pictured (L - R) - Divisional Commander David Sharp, Senior Coastal Operations Officers Kayleigh Smith and Ron MacLean, Coastal Operations Area Commander Murdo Macaulay, Rescue Coordination Centre Manager David Smith and Assistant Chief Coastguard Paddy O'Callaghan. 


First episode of behind-the-scenes documentary COASTGUARD to air once more Can’t wait for the second series of COASTGUARD? Then watch episode one of the first series all over again, tonight on Channel 5. Wed, 17 Jan 2024 11:54:28 +0000 Coastguard people We can't wait for the second series of COASTGUARD either, but if you missed out on our hit first series last summer, then don’t worry, as episode one is being repeated tonight, Wednesday 17th January at 10pm on Channel 5. 

You can still watch the rest of the series on My5 to see the work carried out across the MCA. From HM Coastguard's heart-stopping rescues to surveyors checking vessels are safe to sail.Filming for the second series is well underway and all the exclusive action will be hitting your screens later in the year. 


Look out for HM Coastguard in new Snowdonia rescue series Watch SOS Extreme Rescues on BBC and iPlayer Fri, 05 Jan 2024 10:02:15 +0000 Coastguard people

The action-packed world of HM Coastguard is returning to your screens next week, this time part of a dramatic documentary series on emergency services and rescues.  

SOS Extreme Rescues follows the work of emergency services and volunteer organisations responding to emergencies, taking place in the stunning, wild landscape of Eryri, more commonly known as Snowdonia.

As part of this new BBC2 series, viewers can follow the Coastguard and partner agencies across miles of Welsh mountains, forests and coastline, as teams respond to dangerous call outs and those in urgent need.

From rescuing an injured power-kiter on a Wales beach to an injured walker on Twll Du (Devil’s Kitchen), look out for HM Coastguard across the series, with teams from Abersoch, Barmouth and Criccieth, along with the helicopter crews from Caernarfon, featured.

North Wales Police and the RNLI are just some of the agencies the Coastguard works with on a regular basis, also highlighted in this new series. 

Watch the first episode of SOS Extreme Rescues on BBC 2, Monday 8 January at 7pm. In Wales you can watch SOS Extreme Rescues on BBC One Wales at the same time. The entire series will be available on iPlayer after the broadcast of the first episode. 

This isn’t the first time the important work of HM Coastguard has been shown on TV. Last summer Coastguard – a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency - was aired, and following its success a second series is coming out later this year.



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HM Coastguard competes in triathlon world championship 'I really wanted to challenge myself and it paid off, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done' Thu, 21 Dec 2023 10:14:14 +0000 Coastguard people

Two members of HM Coastguard have returned from Hawaii with triathlon world championship medals.

In October Senior Coastal Operations Officer Bex Owen and Coastguard Rescue Officer Alex Tennant were whisked off to Kona to take part in the annual Ironman World Championship. 

This year the championship was divided by gender, making this the first ever female-only event of its kind.

This invite-only triathlon is one of the world’s toughest, made up of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and a marathon (26.2 miles). This put both Coastguard’s training and love of exercise to the test.

“Everyone wants to qualify and get here, getting the invite was like a pipe dream,” Bex said, pictured below.

Both based in the south of Wales, the two Coastguards regularly take part in sporting events and challenges. From half marathons to bike rides, their passion for adventure and fitness has taken them all across the globe. 

Ironman however is one accomplishment Bex and Alex will never forget. 

Bex said: “I wasn’t sure whether to take part or not at first, but I knew this was a lifetime opportunity.

“It wasn’t just about taking part in Ironman; it was experiencing the culture, history, and meeting people from all over and hearing their stories. There were even people in their 70s competing. 

“The splitting up of men and women did get a bit of backlash, but the standard was so high and the majority completed the whole thing, so that felt incredible.”

Alex added: “What made it feel really special was the atmosphere and support, it really was a celebration for everyone that made this such an empowering experience.”

Bex and Alex beat their personal bests, Bex completing the swim, cycle and marathon in 13 hours and 47 minutes, and Alex in 14 hours and 37 minutes.

Alex said: “I knew taking part in the swim would be a real challenge for me, and in the lead up I wasn’t sure how I’d complete a marathon in the heat. 

“I really wanted to challenge myself and it paid off, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

Bex added: “I tend to be very hard on myself, but it was a tough course with open water swimming and a hilly marathon in hard conditions. We did the best we could and we both smashed it.”

Bex was only invited to take part in August, meaning she only had around two months to prepare.

With training six days a week, some days with two sessions, she said: “I do things like this because I enjoy them, exercise is my relaxation, but this required more training and discipline. I had a coach for the first time for more structured training.”

Alex, pictured left, added: “The training is my down time and I love it, so that becomes part of the journey too. There’s never just the destination.”

Organisation, discipline and swimming are just some of the skills Bex and Alex took from their time with the Coastguard into the championship. 

“I love being a part of the Coastguard, it has taught me so much and so many different skills,” Alex said.

“People spotted we were from the Coastguard and thanked us for our service which was really nice too,” Bex added. 

Taking part in Ironman has encouraged and inspired members of Bex’s and Alex’s teams to also take part in similar events.

Giving advice to those considering a new challenge, Alex said: “Less than two years ago I couldn’t even swim, you just need to believe in yourself and don’t let anyone else affect you or your goals.”

Bex added: “I’d recommend training in Wales, with all our hills and weather you become prepared for anything.

“I love what it says on the Ironman medal about ‘moving forwards’, it’s a good mantra to live by. Just go for it.”


Hero awards for pair who saved mud-trapped girls from rising water A pair of Coastguards who rescued three children trapped in mud with water up to their necks have received awards inspired by the bravery of a Coastguard colleague more than 130 years earlier. Thu, 21 Dec 2023 10:12:22 +0000 Coastguard people

The lifesaving actions of Scott Reed and Sean Robinson, Coastguard Rescue Officers from Blyth, were recognised with Bronze certificates from the Tynemouth Medal Trust as well as Chief Coastguard commendations. 

The incident on Saturday 10 June 2023 started at about 7pm when HM Coastguard received a 999 call from a mother stating that her daughter and two other young girls were stuck in the mud at the River Blyth with the tide coming in. 

Blyth and Newbiggin Coastguard Rescue Teams (CRTs) were sent along with Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, Blyth RNLI’s inshore lifeboat, and the North East Ambulance Service.  

When Blyth CRT arrived on the scene a rescue plan was quickly produced involving Scott going into the water as a rescue swimmer to pick up one of the girls and bring her back to shore. 

Sean went in next, at the end of a tethered line, and in two visits to the water brought out the last two girls safe and sound. 

At a special ceremony, Scott and Sean were presented with Bronze certificates from the Tynemouth Medal Trust. It distributes accolades for heroic deeds either within the Tyne or nearby sea, or by Tynesiders away from their home area. 

The trust was established in 1895, inspired by the bravery of Tynemouth Coastguard Edwin Hoar who, on 13 October 1891, risked his life to successfully bring ashore the last sailor trapped on a ship driven onto nearby rocks. 

Ryan Douglas, Senior Coastal Operations Officer who leads Blyth CRT, said: “The actions of Scott and Sean undoubtedly saved three children’s lives, continuing the fine traditions of HM Coastguard. 

“Their professionalism, dedication to training and commitment to lifesaving meant that they were able to execute three effective water rescues.” 

Ryan added: “The mum deserves credit too. She did the right thing by staying on shore, calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard. Mud can be much more treacherous than it looks – tide, cold and pressure can combine to be deadly, so our advice is to steer clear.” 

Scott and Sean’s efforts were also rewarded by HM Coastguard with a Chief Coastguard commendation which is given for bravery or exceptionally meritorious service. 

Main picture (front row, l-r): Coastal Operations Area Commander Martin Lowe; Scott Reed; Jon Wright and Peter Liley from Tynemouth Medal Trust; Sean Robinson and Ryan Douglas


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). Wed, 20 Dec 2023 11:30:55 +0000 Coastguard people

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.

  • Coastguards from across the UK supporting flood response to Storm Babet
  • Coastguard highlights 'tenacity and resilience' of residents evacuated in Storm Babet floods 


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.


HM Coastguard to take part in Remembrance Day Parade at the Cenotaph HM Coastguard will be taking part in the Remembrance Day Parade at the Cenotaph on Sunday, with a contingent of 10 chosen to march. Fri, 10 Nov 2023 12:20:24 +0000 Coastguard people

The group selected have never taken part in the contingent before as, each year, a new group are awarded the honour of representing the search and rescue service.

They have been selected from every area of the coastguard, including maritime, coastal, air and non-operational.

Alongside those marching at the Cenotaph, there will also be 15 members of the coastguard at the Westminster Abbey service on Sunday. 

This weekend’s involvement in events follows four Coastguards paying tribute in the opening ceremony of the Field of Remembrance at Westminster event on Thursday. The memorial garden was opened this year by Queen Camilla, who took time to inspect the coastguard plot and meet Senior Coastal Operations Officer Ryan Douglas.


Queen Camilla smiles as she approaches a uniformed HM Coastguard officer with back to camera Queen Camilla opened the Fields of Remembrance Service, with Senior Coastal Operations Officer Ryan Douglas greeting her at the HM Coastguard plot


Hear from a few of those taking part in this year’s ceremony:


Cameron McAuley
Coastguard Rescue Officer and Officer in Charge

“Remembrance Sunday, for me, is a chance to celebrate service and self-sacrifice. As we observe the two minutes silence we are remembering those who, through their service to not only their country but their husbands, wives, children and community in times of conflict, didn’t make it home. Service is the cornerstone of the volunteers who make up the Coastguard Rescue Service and it is a privilege to serve my community each time we get called out (even at 3 in the morning in the middle of winter!).

“Representing His Majesty’s Coastguard at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday is the honour of a lifetime and I hope to do my family, my community, and the Service proud.”


Carol Campbell
Team Leader at a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre

“I am honoured to be selected to represent HM Coastguard on Remembrance Sunday 2023, following a 27-year career with HM Coastguard.

“We are an organisation with strong roots in the military. My home, the Isle of Lewis, is an island which has seen many servicemen and women, make the ultimate sacrifice, both during wartime and also notably, during the Iolaire Disaster, a maritime tragedy which devastated the island.

“It will be a privilege to attend and remember those who have gone before us.”


Redvers Stringer
Maritime Operations Officer (training)

“I feel extremely proud to represent HM coastguard, especially given the ties it has with the military in the past.

“As a retired member of the armed forces serving in the Royal Air Force, remembrance is a chance for me to reflect on my own personal experiences, but also to acknowledge those who have died or received injuries during the course of their duties. Not just military personnel, but also civilian agencies that have supported the military over the years.”

Four men in HM Coastguard dress uniform stood in front of coastguard poppy plot HM Coastguard representatives at the Field of Remembrance Opening Ceremony, in front of the coastguard poppy plot. From left: 


Kelly Burnett
UK Deputy Single Point of contact for the International Maritime Organization’s Instrument Implementation Code (UK DSPC IIIC)

“2023 marked 20 years of service as a British Army soldier. It is where I honed the skills necessary for my current role and grew into the person I am today.

“Remembrance Sunday is a poignant reminder of the suffering and sacrifice that took place to grant and protect the freedoms and values that matter to me. To pay tribute, where it all began in 1919, is the highest honour and privilege for an army reservist, civil servant, former Commonwealth citizen and woman.”


Nathan Cannon
Maritime Operations Officer

“My job involves initiating and co-ordinating search and rescue within the UK Search and rescue region. This includes answering 999 calls, managing distress radio traffic, tasking lifeboats and helicopters, liaising with other emergency services around the UK and the world as well as many more daily duties.

“I feel very honoured to be chosen to represent HM Coastguard at this event and feel privileged that I get to stand alongside other emergency and military services to take time to remember those who gave their lives for us.”


Rebecca Owen
Senior Coastal Operations Officer

“I am humbled to represent HM Coastguard at this year’s parade. It is a date that I mark each year, by taking part in my local remembrance parade.

“My grandfather, Arthur Jack Skelton Holman, served in the British Army during the Second World War.

“He was captured by the Japanese and was held as a POW until the war ended, he was forced to work constructing the Burma Railway. I feel it important to honour his memory.”


Coastguard highlights 'tenacity and resilience' of residents evacuated in Storm Babet floods "The tenacity and resilience of people, when disaster strikes, can be really incredible. They were the ones faced with a horrendous situation, and yet they were thanking us for coming." Sat, 28 Oct 2023 11:08:34 +0100 Coastguard people

More than 100 HM Coastguard Rescue Officers were deployed across the UK as part of the National Flood Response Framework during the Storm Babet response last weekend, with coastguard flood rescue teams seen across news channels in some of the worst affected areas.

If you tuned into any mainstream news channel during coverage, you would have seen some of our teams in action, as they rescued people from homes caught in floods.

Graham, a coastguard rescue officer from Southport in Merseyside, was among those deployed to Brechin and Invergowrie in Northeast Scotland last week, as he helped warn and evacuate residents caught out by the rising waters.



Sent as part of the coastguard flood team in Area 15 (officers from Wirral, Southport, Fleetwood, Knott End, Arnside, Furness, Millom, Whitehaven and Maryport Rescue Teams), Graham travelled to Scotland to join coastguard flood teams from all across the UK.

He said that it was an experience that will stay with him forever, as the resilience and bravery of the residents he helped left him with a lasting impression. It was the first time his team had been deployed to a live flood incident, having completed the training earlier in the year.

“I am so pleased I stepped forward when they asked for volunteers,” he said. “I am so glad that I was able to help people. We went to do what we are trained to do but seeing it firsthand, people losing everything to the water, was tough.

“The tenacity and resilience of people, when disaster strikes, can be really incredible though. They were the ones faced with a horrendous situation, and yet they were thanking us for coming.”

Coastguard rescue officers muster in preparation for flood response in the dark


He said that his team were sent to Brechin ahead of the flood and helped in the evacuation, before being dispatched to Invergowrie, near Dundee, the following day to rescue people who had become trapped in their flooded homes.

“We were going door to door in Invergowrie,” he said. “Which was a strange experience for a coastguard, as there was slightly less urgency than we’re used to, no less danger of course, but it was different. It was something you had to witness firsthand but the bravery and care for each other – and us – was humbling. We all commented on it and we were all humbled by their attitude in the face of the carnage and destruction around them.”

The Area 15 flood team were in Scotland for four days, helping emergency service partners with the response, before heading back on Sunday.

Two Coastguard officers help a person caught in Storm Babet floods Two Coastguard officers help a person caught in Storm Babet floods


“There was definite trepidation before we went,” Graham said. “Some tension in the air about what lay ahead.

“We were seeing the extreme weather warnings and news, although we were well prepared and well trained for it all, we were all a bit on edge throughout. When we arrived and saw the speed and power of the water in the river at Brechin though, we knew that we would have work to do, and potentially lives to save.

“It was such a team effort - including the wider emergency services team - we're really grateful to our emergency service partners (especially Scottish Fire and Rescue) for allowing us to take over rooms, kitchens, giving us hot drinks and making us feel like part of the team.”


Sailor thanks HM Coastguard saviour in chance boat show meeting A chance meeting at the Southampton Boat Show allowed a grateful sailor to thank the HM Coastguard officer who had guided him through the night to safety when his yacht’s engine broke down.  Thu, 19 Oct 2023 15:46:24 +0100 Coastguard people

Lee Gallacher (pictured), who works at the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Fareham, was staffing the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s stand in September when he fell into conversation with a man who had come up to express his appreciation. 

As they spoke, it emerged that Lee was one of the Maritime Operations Officers who had been at the other end of the line a few weeks earlier coordinating efforts to bring the vessel safely into Portsmouth. 

Lee, who joined HM Coastguard earlier this year, said: “His gratitude was noticeable. In the operations room, we rarely get to meet those whom we help. It certainly reinforced my decision to join HM Coastguard and use my career skills and local knowledge to save lives and improve safety at sea, something I am very passionate about.” 

The incident began at about 4.30pm on 28 August when the alarm was raised to a yacht suffering engine failure as it travelled east to Gosport. 

When Lee took over the situation from a colleague, he continued regularly checking the welfare and position of the crew of three. They were all kitted out with lifejackets but starting to tire from the journey. 

Between Lee and the skipper, they came up with a plan to maintain emergency and navigational lights by protecting reserves of the onboard battery, which was failing to charge. 

A sailor himself, Lee realised that with the tide turning and wind dropping, there was a risk the yacht would struggle to make way once it came into the central Solent. 

As it slowly made progress under sail, Lee provided updates on shipping positions. He liaised with Southampton Vessel Traffic Services (VTS), the city’s Harbour Master patrol launch to give a tow, and then the King’s Harbour Master in Portsmouth to guide the yacht in. 

With the help of a second tow by a nearby vessel in Portsmouth harbour, the crew was safely berthed by 6.15am the next morning – 14 hours after the alarm was first raised. 

Lee said: “As a career sailor, I was able to put myself in the skipper’s shoes and think what resources he needed to manage on-board to keep the vessel safe.  

“He thanked me and all of the assets involved for our compassion, understanding and local knowledge to aid him back to his home berth safely.” 


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.  Fri, 06 Oct 2023 16:14:33 +0100 Coastguard people

The four-strong team based in Newquay were presented with the Edward & Maisie Lewis Award at the annual ceremony held in Fishmongers Hall, London, to recognise skill and gallantry at sea. 

The crew of the helicopter – operated and supplied under contract by Bristow Helicopters Ltd – comprised Captain Debdash Bhattacharya, Co-Pilot Mark Coupland, Winch Operator Jason Bibby and the Winch Paramedic Carlton Real. 

Between them they rescued eight people from French yacht Gannet which was taking on water after being caught in fierce winds. 

The initial alert, just after 9pm on the night of Monday 31 October last year, was to conduct an urgent medical transfer. 

But as they flew to the scene the challenge became more complicated with the yacht crew considering abandoning ship, insufficient lifejackets on board, and two of them described as being in a “poor” condition. 

Over the next hour, the HM Coastguard crew battled lashing rain, mountainous waves and extremely poor visibility to winch up six of the eight sailors to safety. 

Lifting off the last two brought fresh difficulties as it would leave the helm unattended, losing control of the yacht and ability to keep it steady for the helicopter hovering above.  

The solution was a manoeuvre known as a triple-man lift – which brought up the remaining pair in one go and completed a rescue mission full of bravery and professionalism. 

The yacht was towed to Newlyn by the RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat from Penlee which supported the operation. 

Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Chief Executive Officer Virgina McVea said: “This rescue exemplifies the lifesaving professionalism that HM Coastguard teams all around the UK exhibit every day on air, land and sea. 

“It was a hugely difficult and dangerous mission that brought eight people to safety in the face of frightening storm conditions. 

“The bravery and skill displayed by the helicopter crew fully deserves this honour from the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society and we’re very grateful for their recognition.” 

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society offers support to those across the UK who are suffering hardship during or after fulfilling their life at sea. 

Captain Justin Osmond RN, Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, added: “The rescue of the crew demonstrated the highest standards of judgement, professionalism and co-operation, combined with outstanding initiative and courage. 

“The diverse challenges posed by this rescue, including the very real danger to the winchman and casualties caused by the unpredictable motion of the yacht’s mast and rigging, required an exceptional level of skill and judgement from all four members of the crew.  

“In responding to these challenges, they are fully deserving of the Edward and Maisie Lewis Award for 2023.” 


Emergency Services Day 2023 “We are all volunteers who are passionate about keeping people safe at the coast and we willingly give up our time, for training and incidents, to be prepared to do this." Fri, 08 Sep 2023 11:36:03 +0100 Coastguard people “It makes us very proud to be recognised as a part of the wider emergency service family and to be celebrated alongside the police, fire and ambulance services.”

Claire Hall, Station Officer at Lowestoft Coastguard Rescue Team, shared her thoughts on what Emergency Services Day means to our teams as the nation celebrates the national day (9 September).

The day is a chance for us all to take time out to say thank you to those who keep us safe, wherever we are and whatever we are doing.



As one of the four emergency services in the UK, HM Coastguard is the coordinating and tasking authority for search and rescue at sea, responding to more than 36,000 incidents last year alone and saving hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.

The Coastguard Rescue Service is made up of 3,500 volunteers in 308 Coastguard Rescue Teams across the UK and led by 102 employed operational staff. They are supported by approximately 400 highly trained staff who work in the maritime rescue coordination centres and coordinate the rescue response. HM Coastguard is a category one responder and is made up of highly dedicated and skilled people.

A unique national rescue service, it relies on the commitment and care of people willing to give their time and effort to help others.

As the sun blazes down on the UK this weekend, and people flock to the coast looking to cool off, keep an eye out for one of our teams and wave a thank you (please do not interrupt a team in action, but wait until they are free).

It is one day a year, but it really matters to teams to feel the recognition and gratitude.


HM Coastguard officers invited to attend a special event for Emergency Services Day at Liverpool Town Hall alongside Lord Mayor Mary Rasmussen Coastal Operations Area Commander Mike Buratti (second left, front row) was joined by Garry Haseldine (Station Officer at Crosby), Peter Critchley (Deputy Station Officer at Crosby), Jason Heaven (SO at Southport), Mike Thomas (DSO at Crosby), Richie Cross (DSO at Wirral) and Lord Mayor of Liverpool Councillor Mary Rasmussen.


Mike Buratti, Coastal Operations Area Commander for Northwest England, said: “Being part of an emergency service can be demanding but, at the same time, exceptionally rewarding.

“We are there to help people who are sometimes having the worst day of their life.

“Coastguard staff and volunteers dedicate their lives to helping others and it’s nice that the UK comes together on Emergency Services Day to honour all the staff and volunteers across all Emergency Services who play such a crucial role in keeping people safe.”

Want to find out more? Visit:



Action! Second Channel 5 series of Maritime and Coastguard Agency documentary Cameras are rolling for a second series of the popular Channel 5 TV series, Coastguard.  Fri, 25 Aug 2023 16:19:23 +0100 Coastguard people

After more than 5-million people tuned in to watch the debut six episodes this summer, the fly-on-the-wall documentary is set to return to living rooms early next year having been recommissioned for another outing. 

Show-maker Middlechild Productions has already started filming again with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, with camera crews lined up to capture footage well into the winter. 

The action they cover is expected to range around the country and across the organisation: from Coastguard Rescue Teams, maritime rescue coordination centres and helicopter crews to marine surveyors and investigations teams. 

The first series was over a year in the making and was shown on the primetime 9pm slot on Sundays. It revealed how the MCA works both as rescuer and regulator towards the common goals of safer ships, safer lives and cleaner seas. 

Missed Series 1? Catch up here. 


World Helicopter Day: Behind-the-scenes lifesavers with ‘best job in the world’ The red and white search and rescue helicopters of HM Coastguard are the best-known symbol of its work.  Sun, 20 Aug 2023 06:41:58 +0100 Coastguard people

But behind the scenes at the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Fareham is a team of ground-based lifesavers who play a vital role in directing airborne help to where it is needed – fast. 

One of them is Aeronautical Commander Brian Smith (63), who joined HM Coastguard in 2015, having previously worked for the RAF and in commercial flight planning.  

From their desks, he and his team are responsible for despatching helicopters all around the UK and its national waters. 

Memorable incidents he has helped coordinate include airlifting someone from the top of Worcester Cathedral, rescuing a paddleboarder after 32 hours lost at sea and, several times, babies being born mid-flight. 

Brian said: “It’s brilliant, it’s the best job in the world, the best job I have ever had. We get to see the difference we make very quickly.” 

Instead of 999 calls from the public, which are handled a stage earlier, the requests for help are mostly from HM Coastguard colleagues but also fellow blue-light services such as ambulance and police.  

Brian said: “We will take the details and you have to go through a process to make sure it’s an appropriate use of a search and rescue helicopter, and it’s an achievable task – we couldn’t attend a burning building, for example, or if the weather was completely unflyable.” 

Brian Smith, HM Coastguard Aeronautical Commander Brian Smith, HM Coastguard Aeronautical Commander

When scrambled in the daytime, the crews have 15 minutes to get airborne, during which Brian must clear the airspace, alert other emergency services and set-up communication links. 

He briefs the four-person team as they fly, trying to give the most accurate picture of what to expect, as well as planning for refuelling and landing sites. 

Brian said: “The adrenaline is pumping but you have got to remain calm. We are essentially trying to take the workload from the crew flying the helicopter.” 

As search and rescue aircraft, they have greater clearance for flying through bad weather and navigating over land and sea. 

Good use is also made of the helicopters – operated by contractor Bristow Helicopters Ltd – to make medical evacuations and transfer NHS transfer critical patients, for example, including children to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. 

Brian is keen to extend the credit beyond HM Coastguard too, praising the efforts of other helicopter organisations including air ambulances and other partners. 

He said: “My job is such a privilege – to be able to make a difference to people facing the most traumatic moment of their lives.  

“If you can make a difference, it’s fantastic. When we have rescued people it’s a really great feeling.” 

The career path is open to people with relevant experience, such as in emergency control rooms and aviation. But those working in the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres, mainly dealing with emergencies on the coast or at sea, can also progress to the aeronautical section. 

Brian added: “It’s such a rewarding job. It’s a challenging one too and you see a lot of things. But the reward is that you can save someone’s life just by doing your job – it's brilliant.” 

To find out more about HM Coastguard jobs, visit  


World Helicopter Day: Life on the line with an HM Coastguard winch paramedic After more than 15 years as a winch paramedic on HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopters, the nerves still jangle for Mark Hughes when the door slides open thousands of feet above the ground.  Sun, 20 Aug 2023 06:33:09 +0100 Coastguard people

It’s a mark of the risks he faces as the member of a four-strong crew whose job is to be winched out of the aircraft on the end of a thin, steel line to pluck people from danger or deliver lifesaving aid. 

Mark (49) said: “It’s quite exhilarating, as you can imagine. You think about things a bit more deeply. Some of the situations you put yourself in are quite extreme. 

“And it’s all from a place of loneliness as well; when you’re the only person on the scene that might be a horrible cliff rescue or a landing on a cruise ship with thousands of people on board. You’re in the orange flight suit and everyone is looking to you for the expertise. 

“Teamwork is our main attribute. You’re living with these guys 24 hours on and off, and you get to be a very close community.” 

Since 2007 Mark has been part of the HM Coastguard helicopter team, a fleet of about 20 Sikorsky and Leonardo aircraft operated by contractor Bristow Helicopters Ltd and stationed around the UK coastline. They make rescues at sea and on land as well as medical flights. 

Mark’s career started in the Royal Navy, aged 16, as a weapons engineer submariner. He went on to become navy aircrew, and finally military search and rescue before joining civilian life. 

Mark Hughes, HM Coastguard winch paramedic Mark Hughes, HM Coastguard winch paramedic

He now lives in a small town near Perth, in Scotland, but his job takes him to search and rescue bases around the UK, providing back-up and vital training. 

One mission stays in his mind less for the drama and more for the responsibility that fell on his shoulders when, about three years ago, he was winched down to a vessel 80 miles off Shetland where a crew member was caught in fishing gear. 

All eyes turned to him for decisions as the only medic and for the next five hours he managed the situation single-handed until help arrived. 

“That’s it with search and rescue: you never know what you’re going to find,” he said. 

It makes the relationship a vital one between the helicopter crew and HM Coastguard’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Fareham. 

Mark said: “We need accurate information from the team at the desk. It makes a massive difference, such as the equipment we take, whether it’s over the water or on a cliff edge. We need to have thorough but quick information.” 

The four-person helicopter crew comprises two pilots, a winch operator and a winch paramedic, forming a tight team.  

“It’s through experience,” explains Mark. “We all know what’s next; what to expect. Without expecting it, we know what’s coming, in a funny kind of way.” 

But when the door opens the nerves never go away, Mark admits: “It’s still forever present and because you’re aware of it you’re more professional and not blasé about it.  

“Anyone who says they take it in their stride is lying. Sometimes your leg can shake – I call it the disco leg. On mountain rescues there can be nothing below you for 2,000-3,000ft and if the winch wire snaps, you’re dead.” 

It makes coming home to his wife, Julie (and dog Harris), a special comfort: “You come back and they’re your support – after everything you’ve been through, your home life still goes on.” 


Note of thanks for 'tricky' rescue Thank you. Two simple words but loaded with meaning and feeling – a thank you can be all a Coastguard needs to continue to have the motivation to give their time and risk their own safety, to bring others back home. Fri, 18 Aug 2023 17:38:29 +0100 Coastguard people

This is how members of Whitehaven and Maryport Coastguard Rescue Teams feel after a recent tricky rescue at Fleswick Bay sparked a message of thanks from the walker’s family.

Laura was walking the coastal path at St Bee’s Head with husband Graham, dad Keith and mum Pat when she slipped on the rocks on the way down to the beach, injuring her ankle.

In pain and unable to walk, the family called 999. Whitehaven and Maryport rescue teams were sent, alongside St Bees RNLI lifeboat.

Man in hiking clothes and backpack walking along coastal path with sea in background                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Copyright (c) 2014

Teams quickly established that Laura’s leg was badly broken and that extraction would be difficult, and the Coastguard helicopter from Prestwick was summoned.

Laura was able to be winched to the helicopter and transferred to hospital by the crew.

Dad Keith said: “I want to thank the crew that responded to my daughter Laura’s accident at Fleswick Bay. We subsequently discovered that she had dislocated her ankle and broke her leg; the injury required an operation to pin the ankle and set the break.

“The coastguard staff along with the RNLI crew who attended responded quickly, were extremely professional, efficient, caring and humble.

“I am a retired policeman and before that I was a firefighter, so I understand how to deal with such trauma, but when it is someone you love it is heartbreaking. It was an immense relief to handover the care of my daughter to such a brilliant team.

“Our whole family and Laura herself appreciate the effort and support of the coastguard crews.”

Sarah Atkinson, HM Coastguard senior coastal operations officer for northwest England, said: "It means a lot to us all when someone takes the time to send us a note of thanks - we do not volunteer for gratitude, but it is appreciated.

"It was a difficult rescue for the teams, Laura was in a lot of pain and it was clear it was a bad break in a hard to access part of the coastal path, so the helicopter was the best option.

"We are pleased to hear that Laura is on the mend, and hope that she will be able to be back out walking soon."


Stay Safety Savvy – it’s our preference, make it yours

We’re always on call to send help to people in difficulties but please keep ‘safety savvy’ at the coasts so you can help avoid the need to call for our rescue teams and fellow emergency services.

  • Always check weather and tides before setting out. Leave yourself plenty of time to get back
  • Don’t take unnecessary risks
  • Stay well back from cliff edges, they can be crumbly and slippery when wet & easily give way
  • Observe all local safety notices
  • Always keep your dog on a lead
  • Don’t risk yourself if your dog is in trouble on the coast or in the sea. They often get themselves to safety, some owners don’t.

If you see anyone in difficulties around our coasts, please don’t delay, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. We’re on call to send expert help 24/7.



Results Day: Could a career protecting marine life be right for you? Have you received results this week and aren’t sure what to do next? It’s not always easy to see where a degree or training might take you, so we thought it might be useful to meet one of our Counter Pollution and Salvage Officers and learn a little about what they do, and how they got there. Thu, 17 Aug 2023 09:56:41 +0100 Coastguard people

Meet Jayne Ede, one of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Counter Pollution and Salvage Officers (CPSO), who works to protect the maritime environment.

She regularly deals with shipwrecks, both recent and historical, and responds to incidents involving vessels that have gone aground – even crashed – into rocks, to protect the marine ecosystem from pollution.

She is part of the team that also responds to potentially serious pollution incidents all around the UK, including the clean up after the release of pollution such as oil, chemicals or cargo in the water.


Four people on a rocky landscape with woman on left in colour Jayne, far left, appeared in the recent Coastguard TV series


She recently starred in an episode of behind-the-scenes documentary Coastguard (read more about it here).

Think of the images of oil-covered birds on coasts across the world and you'll understand why the Counter Pollution Team - and Jayne - do what they do to protect the marine life, land and sea from the things that can cause harm. It is rare to handle those sort of incidents on UK shores these days, and it is teams like Jayne's that keep it that way.

Her pathway to a career that focuses on the environment began with a degree in Chemistry.

Jayne has been in her role for five years now and is part of an experienced Counter Pollution team that fulfils the UK’s obligation to prevent, prepare and respond to pollution incidents in the marine environment under a number of international conventions and national regulations. They operate as the UK Competent Authority, the team with ultimate responsibility over counter preparedness and response.

Jayne explains that “if our roles didn’t exist, HM Coastguard would lack prompt access to expertise in salvage and pollution when things went wrong, and ports and oil handling facilities wouldn’t be held to account on their obligations to protect the environment.”

It is an important role, but not one she knew about when she first graduated, and certainly not at school.

“I grew up in Brighton in Sussex, moving to Southampton for university and have stayed since. So, I’ve always lived near the sea, but it was not always the dream to work in maritime,” she said. “I am a nature-lover and a bit of a hippy, so it suits me well though.

Her first job while at university was in a different kind of liquid, as she took a role at a famous paint company, before moving on to a role with the Ministry of Defence.

“My work was to develop countermeasures for chemical warfare agents, and I spent most of my time in a lab coat,” she said. “During my time in the MOD, I was part of a ‘specialist response team’ that trained often with the emergency services.

“I enjoyed this immensely and far more than my day-job in the laboratory, and I was learning a lot about how incident response is conducted in the UK. When I saw the job opportunity at the MCA and how it would be more closely related to incident management, it was an easy decision to apply.

“I am always kept on my toes by the variety of incidents that arise, and I’m proud to be part of the teams that resolve them.”

There are many avenues into a career in the maritime industry, from apprenticeships to graduate roles to entry-level positions that will provide training and development – Jayne’s pathway and role is just one of the options.

Check out our Join Our Team page to find out more.


Coastguard TV series: The Best Bits As the first weekend arrives without a new episode of the Coastguard TV series, we have created this highlight reel to bring you the best bits from the first series. Sat, 12 Aug 2023 13:55:26 +0100 Coastguard people

Highlight reel