Saturday, 29 December 2012


The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is celebrating after a member of staff has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Years Honours list.

Richard Wootton, the MCA’s Communications Infrastructure Manager, has been recognised for his services to Her Majesty’s Coastguard. He has been with the MCA for 15 years and has led the telecommunications arrangements supporting maritime emergency and search and rescue coordination through a highly-respected team of technical specialists who are all experts in their field.

He represents the United Kingdom at international technical committees, and has been instrumental in recent work to implement an improved telecommunications infrastructure as part of the programme to modernise Her Majesty’s Coastguard.

Richard, who lives in Gosport, Hampshire, said:

“I am absolutely delighted and overwhelmed to have been recognised by Her Majesty in this way. It is a great personal honour for me, but also a reflection on the tremendous work of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

“I am proud to work alongside professionals and volunteers who share my passion for using telecommunications to support safety of life at sea.”


Coastguards are warning members of the public to observe warnings and closures at cliff edges and to stay away from these areas because of the danger of landslips and mudslides.
“With the poor weather continuing, we’re dealing with a number of landslips and mudslides along the Devon and Dorset coastline,” says Simon Dennis of Portland Coastguard.
“In Swanage, local coastguards are keeping a watch on areas near the beach and beach huts as sections of cliff continue to move, and on Portland a section of coast path on the west of the Island is particularly vulnerable.
“Further west, sections of beach and cliff near Charmouth have suffered from cliff falls and mudslides.
“In Lyme Regis, coastguards and Dorset Police are dealing with an area to the west of the town, with very significant movement, including buildings overhanging the cliff edge.
“The current weather means water is draining from land very rapidly, causing a layer to form in cracks on cliffs. Large sections of our coast are now very vulnerable to movement, and even in dryer weather, any sharp frost would bring expansion behind sections of cliff causing further falls. Areas of mudslide are prone to drying out and forming a crust. Although these may look solid, they will not support a person’s weight.”

Thursday, 27 December 2012


A man’s been rescued after becoming cut off by the tide and losing his way on the North Norfolk coast this afternoon.
At around 4.30pm, Yarmouth Coastguard received a call from a woman reporting that her husband needed assistance in the area between Brancaster and Wells. He had been walking his dog but had become cut off, and entered the water to try to get to safety.
The man managed to get out again and call 999 to speak to Yarmouth Coastguard. Despite being very cold, he was able to describe some of the things he could see.

The Wells and Hunstanton Coastguard Rescue Teams were sent to the area, along with the search and rescue helicopter from RAF Wattisham. From the blue lights on their Coastguard vehicles and asking the man to use his mobile phone as a torch, the rescue teams located him and his dog. The helicopter landed nearby and took the man to hospital at Kings Lynn.
Christina Martyn, Watch Manager, Yarmouth Coastguard, said:

"If you are cut off by the tide and find yourself unsure of your location, you should call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. Do not attempt to find your own way back by entering the water.
"To assist the rescue teams in finding you, we recommend you carry a mobile phone, not only so we can talk with you, but so it can also be used as a torch.”

Monday, 24 December 2012



At 3.15 pm today, Brixham Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public reporting that three children were in difficulty in the sea at Carlyon Bay, St Austell, Cornwall.

The man reported that one lady had gone into the sea to assist the children.
Brixham Coastguard called out the St Austell Coastguard rescue team and alerted the Ambulance service. A rescue helicopter was requested and the Fowey RNLI lifeboat was requested to launch.

The Coastguard rescue team were the first to arrive on scene and found three children and one adult on the beach suffering from the effects of being in the cold water. They rendered assistance until the ambulance service arrived.

The rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose and the Cornwall Air Ambulance both landed on the beach and the four were evacuated in the Royal Navy helicopter to Treliske Hospital, Truro suffering from Hypothermia.   

Two boys aged 9 and 14 had gone into the sea to attempt to recover their two dogs. They were overcome by the sea conditions, and the 16 year old sister and mother then went in to assist them. An off duty fireman then went into assist these four from the water.
The weather at the time was a south westerly wind, force 4 with a rough swell. The air temperature is 7 degrees, with a sea temperature of 8 degrees centigrade.

Fiona Iris, Watch Manager, Brixham Coastguard said:

This family of four are now in the hospital after going into the sea after their pet dogs.  The south westerly wind does have an effect on the sea and this can cause large breaking waves. The combined effects of the cold wind and the cold water can cause hypothermia very quickly.

We would recommend that you keep your pet dogs on a lead near the water or cliff edges.  Please do not enter the water after your dogs.  More often than not dogs will get themselves out of trouble.

Sunday, 23 December 2012


The search for a missing man in Poole Harbour has been called off.  Two people were rescued from the water by coastguard rescue helicopter. 
Portland Coastguard coordinated an intensive air and sea search of the harbour over a three hour period but the man was not found.  A marker bouy placed in the location of the capsized boat indicated that a casualty on the surface of the water would have remained within the harbour area in the tidal and weather conditions during the search. 
The search involved two coastguard rescue helicopters, RNLI lifeboats from Poole and Swanage, Coastguard Rescue Teams from Swanage and Poole as well as local vessels and other members of the emergency services and the community.


Coastguards are warning that dangers from coastal landslips will continue through the Christmas period due to the high rainfall.  Many coastal paths in the South West are liable to be unstable and significant falls have already occurred at Swanage, Looe, Polkerris, Falmouth and the St Austell area.  Take care when walking on top of cliffs and also give a wide berth to the base of cliffs when walking below on the shoreline. 
Report any significant new falls to the Coastguard.
Brixham Coastguard 01803 882704.
Falmouth Coastguard 01326 317575.
Portland Coastguard 01305 760439.


Two people have been rescued from the water by coastguard rescue helicopter and a search continues for a third person after a small boat capsized in Poole Harbour
Portland Coastguard received 999 calls shortly before 11am reporting that there were people in the water from a small capsized boat in the Whitley Lake area just inside the harbour entrance.
Both coastguard rescue helicopters were on exercise nearby and were on scene quickly.  Two people were recovered from the water by coastguard rescue helicopter and transferred to hospital.  The search continues for a third person who is missing. 
RNLI lifeboats from Poole and Swanage are searching inside and outside the harbour and Swanage and Poole Coastguard Rescue Teams are searching the shoreline. A coastguard rescue helicopter remains on scene searching.


Two people have been recovered from the water in Poole Harbour by coastguard rescue helicopter and transferred to hospital.  An intensive search is ongoing for a third person believed to be missing in the water after a small boat capsized this morning. 

Saturday, 22 December 2012


Coastguard rescue teams have been involved in flood prevention and evacuation of residents in Braunton, Devon
Flooding has caused problems in Braunton, Devon after the heavy rain caused the river to burst its banks.  Coastguard rescue teams from Croyde, Instow and Ilfracombe have been distributing sand bags for protection of threatened property and evacuating the residents of house boats on the river at near by Velator Quay. 
As the wet weather is forecast to continue, coastguard officers from neighbouring teams are on stand by to be sent on scene this evening to continue to support Devon and Cornwall Police, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue and local authorities.

Flood warnings can be checked at

Friday, 21 December 2012


Four fishermen were rescued by Campbeltown RNLI Lifeboat in the early hours of this morning after their fishing vessel began taking on water off Campbeltown Loch.

The vessel broadcast a mayday message at 2.30 am this morning reporting that it was taking water and required immediate assistance. The Campbeltown RNLI lifeboat was requested to launch and the Campbeltown Coastguard Rescue Team was sent to the scene. A Navy rescue helicopter from Prestwick was also scrambled.

Gary Young, Watch Manager at Belfast Coastguard stated

Campbeltown Lifeboat was quick to arrive on scene and safely transferred all four fishermen from their stricken vessel, with no reported injuries. The fishing vessel remains aground and will be assessed at first light.

Monday, 17 December 2012


Clyde Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) will close on 18 December 2012.
There will be no reduction in front line rescue resources, which remain unchanged by the modernisation of HM Coastguard. The availability of Coastguard Rescue Teams, lifeboats, rescue helicopters and other rescue facilities in the area will be wholly unaffected.
In 2011 the Government announced the new structure for the nationally networked Coastguard Service which will become fully operational in early 2015. When Clyde MRCC closes, Stornoway and Belfast MRCC’s assume full responsibility for the west coast of Scotland 

Sir Alan Massey, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said:

"Safety is our top priority and I am confident that HM Coastguard will maintain the same high quality search and rescue service as they always have done.
"By 2015, HM Coastguard’s new network will be operational with a national Maritime Operations Centre at its core.  We will deliver a more integrated search and rescue coordination service for the UK, taking full advantage of modern communications technology and enabling any centre to support others across the network during busy periods, thus sharing the work load.”
Contact arrangements for HM Coastguard in the Clyde area from 18 December onwards:

Emergency Calls: 
There is no change to the telephone number members of the public should use to report a maritime or coastal emergency. Call 999 and ask for the Coastguard and the 999 operator will transfer the call to the appropriate Coastguard Rescue Coordination Centre. 

Contacting the Coastguard directly by phone: 
Callers who previously contacted Clyde MRCC can contact Stornoway MRCC direct on 01851 702013 or Belfast MRCC on 02891 463933. Clyde MRCC operations room phone number 01475 729988 will be routed to Belfast MRCC. 

Contacting the Coastguard by VHF and VHF DSC: 
The VHF and MF coverage provided by the coastguard remains unchanged and radio calls to the coastguard will be dealt with by "Stornoway Coastguard” or "Belfast Coastguard” depending on the caller’s location. Mariners are encouraged to save the VHF DSC MMSI

number for their nearest coastguard shore station into their DSC unit. The MMSI number for "Clyde Coastguard” will be diverted to another MRCC. 

Maritime Safety Information: 
Maritime Safety Information including weather, gale warnings and navigational warnings will continue to be broadcast on the same schedule and frequencies as previously published.  For information on these broadcasts, sailors can visit and go to "Weather” in the "Leisure and Seaside” section. 

Time Expired Pyrotechnics: 
Leisure sailors who need to dispose of time expired pyrotechnics can phone any MRCC for advice on their closest drop off point. 

A You Tube video of Sir Alan Massey talking about the modernisation of HM Coastguard can be found here:

Saturday, 15 December 2012


Anglers are once again being urged not to take risks and ensure they check the weather and tidal conditions before setting out.
It comes as Humber Coastguard coordinated two separate incidents this afternoon, where 17 anglers in total were caught up in stormy conditions.

In the first incident, Humber Coastguard was called at just after 1.30pm about a group of 15 anglers that were knocked over by a freak wave on Roker Pier in Sunderland. The Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team was sent to the scene, along with the RAF rescue helicopter from Boulmer. One angler was injured, believed to be suffering from a broken leg, and had to be airlifted to hospital.
Although a light southwesterly wind, there was a heavy swell breaking over the pier.
In the other incident this afternoon, Humber Coastguard was contacted by police at 3.21pm to warn that two anglers had been caught up in a fast flowing stream at Becketts Bank between Peterlee and Hartlepool. One of them had been swept out towards the sea. The Hartlepool Coastguard Rescue Team and the RAF rescue helicopter from Boulmer were sent to the scene, and after a search the angler was located and airlifted to hospital.

Bev Allen, Watch Manager at Humber Coastguard, said:

“If you’re planning a day’s angling from rocks choose your location carefully, wear a lifejacket, check weather and tidal conditions and tell a shore contact where you are going and when you intend to be back. Tell them to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard if you don’t return on time. If you get into difficulty or see somebody else in trouble, you should also call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
“You should always wear suitable footwear such as stout walking boots (waders or Wellington boots are not suitable) and take a torch and a mobile phone with you."


A dog and its owner have been rescued after becoming stuck 60 ft up on a cliff near West Bay, Dorset.

Portland Coastguard received a 999 call just after midday today. West Bay and Lyme Regis Coastguard Rescue Teams, and Lyme Regis RNLI Inshore Lifeboat were all sent to the scene to help locate them both.
After further investigation, it appeared that the dog had gone missing whilst out walking last night, and the owner had then been unable to find it. The dog, a husky Alsatian cross, was located the next day but the owner decided to attempt a rescue alone.
After a two hour search and rescue operation, involving 13 Coastguard Rescue Officers plus the lifeboat crew, both owner and dog were located safe but entangled in undergrowth midway down the cliff. Coastguard Rescue Officers carried out a cliff rescue and both dog and owner were recovered safe and well.

Simon Dennis from Portland Coastguard said:
“This was a challenging operation, both in locating and then recovering the casualties. Our Coastguard Rescue Officers and the lifeboat worked together to ensure the safe recovery of dog and owner.

“After a number of similar incidents this year, we again urge owners to keep dogs on leads near cliff edges, and remind people they should call 999 and ask for the Coastguard rather than attempt to recover animals themselves. This incident had a good outcome for both owner and dog, but such incidents can very easily have different consequences”.


A number of crewmen have been winched to safety from a standby vessel in the North Sea this morning, after they broadcast a mayday saying they were taking on water.

Aberdeen Coastguard was contacted just before 4.30am by a nearby installation who heard the faint mayday on Channel 16.

The vessel in difficulty sustained significant damage and became disabled while on standby vessel duties 120 miles Northeast of Aberdeen.

Six other vessels, and three helicopters were sent to the scene. This includes the Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter from Sumburgh, an RAF helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth and Bond 1 – the BP Jigsaw helicopter.

At the time of the incident winds in the area were reported to be Southeasterly 60-75 knots with 6.5 metre seas.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


It has been announced by Her Majesty The Queen that the volunteer Coastguard Rescue Service, which is part of Her Majesty’s Coastguard, has been awarded The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award 2012.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award 2012 is a special, one-off category of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which was established in 2002 as part of the UK honours system and is considered to be the MBE for community voluntary groups.

Whilst the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service recognises the work of grassroots organisations at a local level, the Diamond Jubilee category seeks to recognise groups that operate nationwide.

All Coastguard Officers whether full time or volunteer are both delighted and honoured to receive this Award.

The Coastguard Rescue Service provides the UK’s coastal search and rescue capability including cliff, mud and shoreline rescue and, as part of Her Majesty’s Coastguard, it can operate separately or jointly with other emergency services and volunteer rescue organisations.

It consists of teams of volunteers (Coastguard Rescue Teams), drawn from the local community, which are fully trained and equipped to carry out a range of search and rescue operations around the coast of the UK.

The Coastguard Rescue Service consists of 3,500 volunteers in 365 Coastguard Rescue Teams strategically located around the coast of the UK and play a vital role in helping the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, through Her Majesty’s Coastguard, achieve its vision of being a world-class organisation that is committed to preventing loss of life, improving maritime safety, and protecting the marine environment.

Coastguard Rescue Officers can be called out by the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) at any time of the day or night, in all weathers, to respond to and rescue those in trouble or missing or to participate in a multi-agency response to an emergency.

Peter Dymond, Chief Coastguard said:

"I am delighted that the Coastguard Rescue Service has received this award which is a just reward and recognition for our volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officers and their teams who have a long history of rescuing those in trouble from shipwreck or those stuck or missing on the cliffs and shoreline of the UK and not forgetting their service to their local communities and the wider public".

Tuesday, 11 December 2012


At 175,343 GT, the CMA CGM MARCO POLO, owned by CMA CGM Group, is the world’s biggest container ship.

It’s the first in a series of three new 16,000 TEU container ships, for the CMA CGM group on the Asia-Europe lines. Built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd, it is almost a quarter of a mile long.

The new vessel is also designed with cutting edge technology for high levels of performance, safety and environmental protection. Features include a mid-ship deckhouse, an electronic-injection engine that sharply reduces oil and fuel consumption, fuel tanks protected by a double hull, a Fast Oil Recovery System, a Pre-Swirl Stator, and a twisted leading edge rudder. It also features an all-new, chemical-free ballast water treatment system that protects marine ecosystems by limiting the transfer of micro-organisms from ocean to ocean.

Debasis Mazumdar, the Head of UK Ship Register, said:

"I am delighted to welcome CMA CGM MARCO POLO onto the UK Ship Register, particularly as it is now the largest vessel we have. It is also pleasing to see that our good relationship with CMA CGM continues to bear excellent results and I hope we can continue to do so together in future."


At 4.30am, a doctor on Unst called Shetland Coastguard to ascertain the times of the ferries to the main Island. This was because he was dealing with a woman in labour. After the doctor had spoken with the Scottish ambulance service, ARCC Kinloss tasked the Coastguard Search and Rescue Helicopter Rescue 102.

The helicopter was airborne at 5.40am and landed on Unst, which is Britain’s most northerly Island. They landed at 6am, and took on board the expectant mother and father. The baby could not wait and was delivered at 6.30am at 1,000ft above a place called Lunna Holm.

The baby was delivered by the winchman paramedic called Marcus Wigfull assisted by Friedie Manson, the winch operator/paramedic.

The baby is a boy, weighing in at just over 7lbs.

The helicopter landed at Lerwick hospital at 6.40am where family were transferred into the care of medical staff.

Alex Dodge, Watch Manager at Shetland Coastguard, said:

"This is the first time that a baby has been delivered on the Coastguard Search and Rescue Helicopter based at Sumburgh in the Shetland Islands.

"We would like to congratulate the mother and father on the birth of their son, who is reported to be doing well.”

Friday, 7 December 2012


At 2.20 pm a concerned member of the public watched a kite surfer who had come off his board and was in the water.

After watching him for a short while, they called 999 and gave the details of what they had seen to Liverpool MRCC.

Lytham St Annes Coastguard rescue team were called out and they meet with the concerned member of the public who pointed out the position of the kitesurfer.

Lytham St Annes RNLI Inshore lifeboat was requested to launch and they went out into the Ribble Estuary and assisted him to shore, where he was checked by ambulance staff.
The weather at the time was North Westerly F7 (near gale force) to F8 (gale force).

The man was warmed up in the ambulance as he was extremely cold and was released to return home.

Brian George, Watch Officer, Liverpool Coastguard said:

This kite surfer had been out enjoying his sport since 10.30 this morning. He told the coastguards that he had no flare pack, or a hand held vhf radio to enable him to call for help. He also told them that he had not told anyone ashore where he was going or what activity he was undertaking.

Fortunately, he was spotted and the member of public called for help on his behalf.
We recommend that kite surfers make an assessment of the weather in relation to their capabilities, carry some equipment to raise the alarm in case of difficulty, and always tell someone ashore what you are doing and where.  

Thursday, 6 December 2012


Marc Guillemot, skipper of the French racing yacht Safran, has today appeared at Southampton Magistrates Court and fined £9,381 and awarded costs against him of £4,125 for travelling the wrong way in busy traffic lanes off the Kent coast.

On 6 June 2012 the Safran left Lizard Point in Cornwall, in an attempt to beat its own previous record set in 2011 for the fastest sail around the United Kingdom and Ireland.

At 11.43pm on 6 June, the Safran was seen by Dover Coastguard travelling in a North Easterly direction in the South West lane of the Dover Strait Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS). On the 7 June at 4am, the yacht failed to proceed in the appropriate traffic lane in the Sunk traffic separation scheme.

During its passage, several merchant ships altered course to avoid a collision with the yacht. Dover Coastguard made a number of attempts to contact the yacht with no response. Eventually the French Coastguard got in touch and pointed out that the vessel was travelling the wrong way in the TSS. Guillemot replied saying he was trying to break the record for sailing around the UK and Ireland and would not alter course.

In total, the Safran travelled 28 nautical miles in the wrong direction in both separation schemes. This was in breach of Rule 10(b)(i) of the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972. 

In passing sentence the Chairman of the Magistrates, Mr. John Johnson said:
 “We have heard this afternoon that Mr. Guillemot is an experienced and confident yachtsman. However, Mr. Guillemot did travel the wrong way in the shipping lanes. For the offence on the 6th June, we fine £13,000 reduced by your early guilty plea to £8,700. For the offence on the 7th June, a £1,000 fine reduced to £666.”

Kaimes Beasley, Channel Navigation Information Service Manager at Dover Coastguard, stated:

“The Strait of Dover Traffic Separation Scheme is one of the busiest in the world. Mr Guillemot was reckless in his navigation during the hours of darkness not only in the Dover Strait TSS, but also in the Sunk Traffic Separation Scheme. He put his crew and other vessels at significant risk in order to try to beat his previous record.”


The maritime environment is a risky place. Last year, 112 people died in maritime accidents within the UK search and rescue region.

Sir Alan Massey, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), has been discussing the role of the Agency in ensuring effective rules, regulations and behaviours are in place to keep lives, ships and the maritime environment as safe as possible.

In a speech to the RNLI’s Annual Lecture at the University of Southampton last night, Sir Alan said: “We know there has to be a balance between being governed by strict rules on the one hand and being steered by good practice, rational standards and common sense on the other. The trick is to get that balance right.”

The MCA is required to address many types of risk, including those associated with commercial shipping, the well-being of the marine environment, and leisure activities on the water or along the coast.

Sir Alan said: “The sporting, recreational and leisure sector is largely unregulated or - perhaps better - self-regulating. It seems there is very little appetite for insisting that every pleasure craft be registered or every skipper be trained and certified.

“Instead, the MCA - working alongside its key partners like the RNLI and the Royal Yachting Association - puts a lot of effort into education and encouraging formal training. We also operate a voluntary, free of charge registration service with the Coastguard's CG66 system.”

Work is now underway to remove some existing maritime regulations, and improve others. The government wants to cut down on unnecessary and over-complex rules, to help boost economic growth and increase individual freedoms.

Sir Alan added: “Through effective regulation, and also by being increasingly pro-active in other ways, we’re always seeking to improve the way people think and behave when they’re out at sea.”

The UK Search and Rescue region covers some 1.25 million square nautical miles of sea, more than 10,500 thousand nautical miles of coastline, along with some of our rivers and lakes.

HM Coastguard’s Voluntary Safety Identification Scheme – CG66 – is free to register and is a useful safeguard. In an emergency, the Coastguard will have vital information on you and your boat. More information can be found on our website: