Future Coastguard

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Delivery of Maritime SAR Coordination

At any given moment, the control of the Coastguard network will be directed by the Shift Manager at the MOC. Whilst complex, this task is manageable by the predictability of much of the demand for SAR and VTM, and by the effective use of risk management to generate a series of templates for normal working.

The factors that will inform the composition of these templates includes:

These templates will determine such things as the ideal staffing levels for each site, recognising team composition and skill sets, and any measures that might be deployed to manage risk such as warning and informing, the pre-deployment of assets or the planning of any form of early intervention.

The Shift Manager is then able to modify the template in response to acute factors such as the occurrence of a significant incident, unplanned staff absence at a site or sites, unexpected ICT outages, or an unusual weather event.

These modifications might entail changing the area of operation of a particular site, aggregating or disaggregating work teams, moving packages of work to teams not in contact with operational demand or initiating contingency plans.

SAR, VTM and CP operations will be dealt with by teams of officers, guided and directed by a Team Leader. The Team Leaders will have oversight of a number of teams, not all of which will be at the same site. The Team Leader will give tactical guidance to the teams, ensure compliance with operational procedures and doctrine and keep the Shift Manager advised of progress, and the capacity to cope at that moment and looking forward. By keeping an overview of operations carried out by more than one team, and by conferring routinely with other Team Leaders, the process of transferring incidents where required (change of shift etc.) will have the right level of assurance. This is because whilst an oncoming team may be initially unfamiliar with the intricacies of an incident, no matter how efficient the handover, continuity is provided by the Team Leader.

Team members will work in groups of between 3 and 5 and deal with SAR coordination, CP operations and VTM activity. Much of their SAR work will be done on a local/regional basis but they will be prepared to act outside of those areas to assist other teams as required, either to smooth uneven demand or to deliberately expose team members to a wider variety of scenarios and/or hone different skill sets. Operational control of teams will be given by a suitably qualified and experienced officer who will be nominated to act as Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator (SMC). The team should also expect to be carrying out work on a national basis, for example the promulgation of MSI, the targeting of ships for Port State Control inspection or enhanced monitoring, liaising with neighbouring states, or liaising with other UK agencies.

Command and control will be exercised through delegation. Responsibility will be pushed down the chain of command to the lowest safe level to shorten decision-to-action time, and to empower the officers in contact with the situation. Accountability will flow up the chain of command to the Shift Manager, and beyond if more senior officers are acting as strategic commanders.

The maintenance of operational standards is of paramount importance. At the MOC, Shift Managers and Team Leaders will act as managers and coaches to staff at the MOC and at other sites. At other Centres, there will be a Team Leader responsible for the maintenance of day-to-day standards, and will be working in a roster with the other team leaders to collaboratively provide tactical management.


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

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