Future Coastguard

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Coastal Safety Organisation

The principal Coastguard presence on the coast is provided by the Coastguard Rescue Service, amounting to some 3500 volunteers in 368 teams around the coast. The intention is to develop the CRS into the broader maritime safety and accident prevention functions with a new management structure providing an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between the CRS and the community.

Complementing a leaner, busier management and coordination network is an enhanced coastal response capability based upon the Coastguard Rescue Service. The management of the CRS is presently carried out by 64 Sector Managers, who are responsible for the management, training and operational excellence of the CRS.

These Sector Managers are line managed on a day to day basis by nine Coastal Safety Managers who also have responsibility for the 18 MRCCs and London.

There have been two major coastal reviews, one in 1988 and another in 1997. These reviews resulted in modernising the equipment and procedures but kept the autonomy of the Sector system.

There are a number of distinct disadvantages to having 64 autonomous sectors namely:-

Additionally there are disadvantages for the volunteers in the current system:-

However, in keeping with an ethos built around teamwork, mutual support and maintaining the integrity of maritime safety nationally, the proposal is to remove administrative boundaries and introduce a wider area concept.

It is proposed to enhance the availability of full time officers to the volunteers for operational attendance, leadership and advice, both during routine activities and, whenever required, by attendance at incidents. This will allow much more flexibility in the management and training of our volunteers and help to remove the current uneven distribution of CRTs between their management.

To this end, coastal operational management will be provided in a new structure that will consist of 18 teams, each comprising a Coastal Safety Team Leader and 4 or 5 Coastguard Safety Officers.

Each of these teams will report into one of 6 Coastal Safety Managers responsible for the overall delivery of the Coastguard Rescue Service mission.

Delivery of Coastal Safety

A Coastal Safety Manager (CSM) on any day will work with colleagues in the strategic management of the Coastguard Rescue Service. Acting as line manager to a number of Coastal Safety Team Leaders, a CSM will ensure that the development and implementation of national policies align with the national strategic direction and enable the business continuity plan for coastal rescue response. They will also represent HM Coastguard at a strategic level with partner organisations and at other relevant bodies.

The CSM will also receive regular tactical and operational input from Coastal Safety Team Leaders to inform the strategic overview.

Each of the 18 team leaders will be responsible for the day to day management of a team of 4 or 5 Coastal Safety Officers. They will be the HM Coastguard representative at local resilience forums and will be accountable for the delivery of effective and efficient Coastal Search and Rescue within their area of responsibility.

Each team of Coastal Safety Officers will be responsible for the operational capability, readiness and safety of some 20 volunteer Coastguard Rescue Teams through sound management, training, and operational superintendence. This will include the enrolling, training, equipping and management of around 200 Coastguard Rescue Officers within an area. As an operational professional, each Team Leader and their Coastal Safety Officers will require technical rescue skills and knowledge and be able to take on-scene command of a multi Agency incident.

In order to standardise our commitment to the volunteer force there will always be one Coastal Safety Officer on 24-hour call for each of the 18 teams. The advice, support, technical expertise and, at times, on-scene presence, available to any Coastguard Rescue team within their area at any time, will enhance our ability to deliver the CRS role promptly effectively and safely.

When on duty or on-call, all Coastal Safety Officers are also available to the MOC or Coastguard Centres for detailed local intelligence and advice on coastal rescue issues. It is intended that this increased professional presence within coastal communities will also enhance the availability of advice and guidance to visitors and leisure users of the UK coastline and coastal waters.

Currently we depend on the local knowledge of our volunteers for details such as owners of land, access points, availability of ‘civilian’ transport such as tractors, type and condition of cliffs and foreshore, local activities, clubs and associations. That will continue in the proposed new arrangements. The on duty or on-call Coastal Safety Officers will act as focal points and additional resources to ensure that no greater burden is placed on our volunteers.


Created:28th December 2012 - - - - Last Updated:30th December 2012

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