Calling the Coastguard

Now that the modernisation programme has been completed.

We thought it was worth publishing a reminder on how to call the Coastguard following a number of recent questions from members about the correct call sign now that the modernisation programme has been completed and a number of Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCCs) have closed.

The MCA has told us that boaters can still contact the Coastguard on VHF Channel 16, VHF/MF DSC and for that matter 999, but more importantly they will still respond whether you use the call sign of closed MRCC, one of the new Coastguard Operations Centres or simply ‘UK Coastguard’.

In addition, the telephone numbers for the MRCCs that have closed are still operational; they have simply been diverted to the new National Maritime Operations Centre in Fareham and will be answered by a Coastguard. If you call the Coastguard by whatever means, the Coastguard will answer even if you try to call a location that has closed.

As a result of the Coastguard modernisation programme there are 10 Coastguard Operations Centres located around the UK in addition to the National Maritime Operations Centre in Fareham. They work together as a national network to manage the workload and to offer mutual support during busy periods.

Otherwise there has been no reduction in rescue resources; the aerial network remains unchanged and the availability of Coastguard Rescue Teams, lifeboats and other declared rescue units are unaffected.

By 2017, ten Coastguard SAR helicopter bases will have been fully established around the UK operating Sikorsky S92s and Agusta Westland AW189s.

30th March 2016