Welcome to Coastguard SOS.com

Our aim is to continue to raise greater awareness of Government plans to close 50% of the UK’s Coastguard Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres and to campaign for the retention of all stations.

On this website you will find information about how you can get involved with saving the Coastguard stations and why we need your help to save them.

“The sea finds out everything you did wrong” – Francis Stokes

View video on the role of maritime rescue coordination centres: http://youtu.be/hMD-RvxH-fc

In December 2010 the UK Government announced modernisation consultation proposals for HM Coastguard. At that time the intention was to reduce the UK’s eighteen Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres to just two centres which would operate 24hrs per day. These centres (MOC’s) would be supported by only five sub centres that would only be operational throughout “daylight hours only”.(See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12007031).

UK Coastguard Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCC’s) are responsible for the co-ordination of Search and Rescue (SAR) along the UK coastline, as well as providing shipping information and a number of other essential services along the UK coastline.

Announcing the cuts, Shipping Minister Mike Penning MP said “Our seas are becoming busier, with larger ships and increasing numbers of offshore renewable energy platforms making key areas of our seas more congested. There are also increasing numbers of people using our beaches, coastlines and seas for leisure activities.

The proposals were overwhelmingly rejected by EVERY Coastguard station, campaigners and by the Transport Select Committee who conducted a full investigation and concluded that the modernisation proposals were “seriously flawed”.

On 14th July 2011, the then Secretary of State for Transport; Rt.Hon Philip Hammond MP announced that the Government had looked at the responses to the original consultation and had examined the evidence. He then announced new consultation proposals which indicated that eleven named Coastguard stations would to be retained on a 24/7 basis but that eight remaining named stations would close. Those stations are:

Brixham, Portland, Swansea, Liverpool, Thames, Yarmouth, Clyde and Forth.

This campaign group is open to anyone who understands and agrees with our belief that the issue should not be used as a political football. It is supported by concerned members of the public, Coastguard rescue officers (CRO’s), serving and former Coastguard officers, Politicians and also by some famous names too.

We are committed to continuing the effort to seek safer modernisation proposals and we will continue to campaign in a reasoned, dignified and balanced way in order to achieve our aim of securing the long term future of every Coastguard MRCC. Please continue to support the campaign.

Contact us at info@coastguardsos.com
or via twitter or facebook @Coastguard_SOS


  1. Dangerous coastlines need local knowledge!

    We lose that knowledge at our peril or certainly all sailors do.

    • April jones case proved this fact

      • How many more lives must be lost or accidents and incidents have to happen before the government hold up their hands and say, “we made a mistake!” Maybe when they have engine failure on one of their super yachts and need to call Thames Coastguard they will experience issues of their own! IDIOTS!

  2. Christopher Walters

    CoastGuards Stations are very important and should be saved, not to mention more people lossing jobs

  3. Vital service should not be compromised at all. These people are brave and do a great job savings lives

  4. Sheer madness

  5. I support the saving of the coastguard stations in the UK!

  6. Iain Coffield

    We need all the skills and expertise of the Coastguard especially as we are an island nation! Our government putting cost before lives should not be tolerated, lets not be silent about these proposed closures.

  7. This service isn’t for 9 to 5 fishermen and people who live by the sea. These incredibly brave and already overstretched heros are there for all of us at anytime and save lives in conditions that we land lubbers couldn’t even imagine. If we take more stations away then our island is an even more perilous place to visit.

  8. Keep all coastguard stations open

  9. Brenda Withey

    All Coastguard station are needed, they should all be kept open.

  10. Stop Coastguard SOS

  11. too many people regard the sea as a playground and endanger others. professional seamen sometimes get caught out and need our help. save the coastguards, the air sea rescue stars and support your local lifeboat!!

  12. Michael Smart

    Keep all Coastguard Stations open

  13. We need the Coastguard Stations, keep them open, we are an Island and we need all of our Coastguard Stations.

  14. These Stations provide an essential service and they should be kept open, This is a cut we do not need.

  15. Seriously people

  16. Colin Merritt

    Britain is first and foremost a seafaring nation and a strong Coastguard service is vital both for the safety of our mariners and the security of our shores and everything we hold dear.

  17. Coastguards do an amazing job keeping fit to protect the public from dangers they may be unaware of. Most are voluteers and they should be recognised more for the fantastic effort they put in to keep us, our communities, our sea faring industries, and local wildlife safe. They all deserve a huge thank you for their effort and should be supported by continuous funding. Keep all stations open!

  18. Graham Avison

    As someone who has sailed out of Liverpool to the Isle of Man, Ireland and Scotland over many years, I am fully aware of how dangerous and busy the Irish sea can be and have always believed the government decision to close Liverpool coastguard to be foolhardy. Local knowledge is esential, but government aint got a clue – all they see is ‘saving of money’ and do not care about saving lives. The recent reports of over 50 incidents in one weekend just proves the point of how crazy it will be to close Liverpool coastguard along with some of the others. I signed the petition against closure some months ago. Good luck with your campaign. Maybe the gov will change their mind and we can have yet another U turn from this useless lot who simply do not have a clue.

  19. This is a really important campaign, please keep our Coastguard Stations they are life savers. Spent many summertimes in Cornwall while growing up and have seen for myself the outstanding work they do.

  20. Uk coastguards are not only recognised world-wide for their effectiveness and efficieny but the ‘mixed economy’ structure is highly efficient. These proposals need reconsidering as once dismantled it will be far more expensive to reconstruct such a level of service.

  21. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency – our Coastguard (and Lifeboat service to most people) is like a top class “Big Band” drummer. When he is there, we don’t particularly notice him, but we wouldn’t half miss him if he wasn’t! Just because the Coastguard service isn’t in our face day to day, most are unaware of its importance. Need it if it wasn’t available and see how important it really is. No cuts. No half measures. A vital service.

  22. A good idea to put her on a boat in the middle of Portland Race on a rough day. Give a radio to call the Coast guard and find out she has disbanded her only life line.

  23. I support your campaign… !!!

  24. Dr Emma Elliott

    As an active scuba diver who has dived both in Scotland and in the South of England I cannot believe that the closure of these Coastguard stations is even under consideration. These stations provide critical support and rescue services to numerous water users – we can all hear the channel 16 calls even if we are not personally in trouble. If it were not for these stations, and their rapid reponse time (personal experience of Clyde and Forth, Brixham, Portland) we would all be mouring lost ones at this time (or to put that in goverment terms – you would have lost a lot of taxpayers). If you wish to save money – sack the ‘intelligent’ employee who suggested this and contribute his/her salary towards the coastguard services.

  25. martin smillie

    Totaly support your campaign, More people are using the seas for recreational purposes, its madness to take away the services and the safety cover they provided for these areas.

  26. As a scuba diver that regularly dives any where from Swanage to Plymouth I cant belive the local coastguard stations are under threat. The local Coastguard stations know where we are at all times and if there was ever a problem with a diver, needing medical assistance or a problem with our rib we know help is only minuits away.

  27. We need to keep all of coast guards in place. you never know when you may need them.. just like the other
    services that are being reduced ,

  28. One austerity measure too far!!!!!

  29. How much is a human life worth then? £500? £5000, £50,000? Unbelievable.

  30. Good luck! I keep my fingers crossed that you can convince the government to keep the coastguard stations open!

  31. Mr glyn harold james

    Save our coastguard stations they are highly needed

  32. Neil Hargreaves

    Apart from putting lives at risk and putting more people on the dole, the government will be giving a green light to drug smugglers and the transportation of illegal immigrants, ( some of which could be terrorists ) by leaving our shores unprotected in this way.. There should be no station closures.
    I can’t help but wander what comment Winston Churchill would have made on this proposal.

  33. It seems that the amazing work done by the dedicated people who work for the coastguard is easily forgotten by those that only look at the bottom line on finacial spread sheets.
    The local knowlage and skills of these people are esential to the safety of our coast line, a lack of cover will affect a great many aspects of our economy:
    How many times have coastguards saved tourists? Is it not true that tourisum is a vital pard or our economy? Shouls we allow our resorts to become known as unsafe places for tourisum?
    Marinas and yatching generate huge amounts of capital. Should we not protect the well being of this source of income.
    Those are only two examples that spring to mind as I type.
    Our coastguard in known internationally, do we really want to have the reputation for dismantling institutions that made our country great?

  34. It’s a No Brainer, for God’s sake keep them open. I don’t see how anyone who has ever been a roughish sea could think otherwise

  35. Years of local knowledge cannot be replaced by software, and even electronic ‘expert systems’ are vulnerable (power cuts, component failure, inflexible) in ways that an experienced human observer is not. Follies created by such policies have much more serious implications than the landscape decorations of the Victorian era. Just wait for a boat-load of MPs caught up in a major emergency.

  36. Coastguard men and women put their lives on the line, they deserve our respect and everything we can do to prevent them from being included in a cost cutting exercise. I do not support any actions that put money before saving lives.

  37. Save our coastguard station they are needed to protect our mariners

  38. Closing Swansea is a travesty, closing any is a sin ! This closing of stations is beyond a joke.

  39. Philip Goldacre

    This is a very simple argument. NO amount of money saved is worth putting at risk a single human life. And the amount the government would save by closing these stations doesn’t even amount to loose change. It really is pathetically short sighted even to consider this policy. As an active scuba diver, losing these services with their intimate knowledge of their local coastlines fills me with utter dismay. This policy was also mooted at one time for the Fire Service control rooms. Due to overwhelming public opposition, the policy was dropped. What on earth makes the government think doing the same thing to the Coastguard, the REAL 4th Emergency Service would be any more sensible? Simple rule: IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT!! One more U turn really won’t be noticed, will it?

    • It is not about saving money, ‘austerity” or deficit reduction. It is about dismantling the state. It is political dogma, not real-life economics.

      Privatised markets ‘are good,’ the state is ‘bad.’

      You might not expect much more from a Chancellor who has worked in government for all but two years of his life after his degree in Modern History, but please, stop voting for him and his chums.

  40. Cut a few government fat salaries to fund coastguard stations !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  41. Under the terms of the consultation period,and under current restraints the best decision has been made.It hasnt been an easy choice for those who had the responsibility of refining our SAR service,for the future.All efforts/ energy should now go into positive thinking to the revised plan.People forget that in early 90`s we closed hundreds of stations(last one closed in 1994North Foreland)We had the same inert arguments then.We went on to be the envy of the world in SAR.

    • Thank you for your response. Given that the Transport Select Committee have announced that they will take further evidence of concerns over plans to close 50% of MRCC’s it is a fair indicator that the concerns of campaigners and Coastguard officers into the credability of the closure plan remains of concern to those in Westminster. Decisions that are made to “modernise” HM Coastguard should ensure the safety of coast users. So far this appears not to have been a priority for the authors of the plan.

  42. Why would anyone with any sense want to close these, vital service that’s seriously undervalued and unappreciated. True heros on our country.

  43. Theron Hemsell

    It just seems that anything that is in place to save lives or has meaning is discarded as if it is meaningless, yet the money that bank managers get as a payout for defrauding the country could nearly keep at least one of these stations in use for a long time. bank managers sit behind a desk, MPs strip away things that matter , Coastguards save lives, keep us safe and even the sight of the blue and yellow vehicles gives us the peace of mind that should we need assistance it is there !!, SAVE OUR COASTGUARD STATIONS !!!

  44. Richard Barnett

    This is disgusting!! The government are more than happy to pour money into phony wars!! Just madness!!

  45. Typical Tory attitude!!!!!!!!!!!!!! grab any money from anywhere to make the rich richer and the poor pooer and they are still blaming the deficit left by Labour.

    • So did the Labour party leave office with a huge surplus of money or a huge deficit. Please do not go into self denial

      • Hi Richard. I understand your reason for asking this question but it’s answer is not one that will address this closure programme. For the record I will say however that regardless of which party were in power, we would fight closure plans which pose significant risks to coast users.

  46. Being an island nation these stations provide an essential service and they should be kept open, This is a cut we do not need

  47. Events this summer show that we need this service 100% everywhere, Unthinkable to think of any closures. Lots of lives have been saved. We need to keep every coast guard station open, to keep saving lives.

  48. It will cost lives, local knowledge is so important, especially at sea. Stupid government cutting all the important things and giving handouts to all the wrong people wasting money. Taxpayers money.

  49. How many MPs own a yacht/gin palace ? Cant be that many.
    On the other hand.
    Guess who would be the first to complain if they
    didn’t receive the attention they required, should the
    need arise ?

  50. I worked closely with Liverpool Coastguard throughout my working life using RIBs, small boats and a hovercraft for estuary and coastal surveys. I have been glad of their help and knowledge on numerous occasions. I know that their knowledge of the huge area that they cover is second to none. To try to replace that, or to try to do without it, is foolish to say the least. There are some things which cannot be evaluated on a spreadsheet.
    There are some cuts which must be made. There are some cuts which could be made, but won’t be. OCuts to the safety of people on beaches, estuaries and the seas MUST NOT be made.


  51. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater because this time Baby will drown!

  52. Hey, This used to be a great country and through the years the Government has sold us OUT! This is a essential (EMERGENCY) service that should not have cutback. Maybe if a accident happens at sea due to cutbacks we can take them to court over lost lives !

  53. It is vital that Coastguard station in Brixham is kept – this is the flagship home of fishing in the south-west and as such protection for all sailors needs to be here.

  54. Please, please keep all our coastguard stations, you or a loved one may need them one day

  55. glad to be counted as a Falmouth supporter. Crazy to close any Coast Guard stations.

  56. This is a shocking decision being made by someone who has probably never even been in a rowing boat on the local pond. I suspect that the government expects the lost cover to somehow be picked up by the lifeboat service, a charity, so not costing them a penny. I pray that your campaign can make someone in the currrent eejit power-base see sense.

  57. Andre 'PEDRO' Midwood

    The closure of Liverpool and other such Coastguard stations, will have a detrimental effect on the safety for many thousands of seafarers across our country. Please think about how the loss of local knowledge will affect the turn out for lifeboats, SAR aircraft etc, when a distress call is handled by a call centre.

  58. if it ain’t broke don’t fix it..why oh why don’t the gov just leave things alone. this service saves lives.a vital and essential part of the emergency services.these cuts are being made for personal reasons and not for the safety of the people of Britain.

  59. Elizabeth Beveridge

    Has anyone any faith in the UK Government? If they see nothing wrong with shutting local Coastguard Stations what other messes could they land us in?

  60. Feel this is a complete cost cutting “government exercise” who don’t understand the needs of Clyde user’s from close and far. As a regular Clyde sailor I always felt secure in the knowledge that there was a local Coastguard who had good local knowledge of the area I was operating in. RIP Clyde Coastguard!!

  61. The work these guys do cannot and should not be under estimated. We need them, full stop, no argument. It is not a luxury.

  62. beverley Sullivan-Marshall

    this has to be the worst joke I have ever heard!

  63. Local knowledge is critical, its a timely response to the Goverment after the tragedy of the Tug boat incident 19th December.

  64. The whole of SCOTLAND should be involved in the support ofthe coastgaurd Stations. It would also be helpful if possible that the Scottish Government take some measure in an atempt to SAVE these very important and deserving JOBS tha are highly experienced. I am surprised that we have NOT heard any mention of the RNLI, which I know is a volunteer organisation, BUT yet again highly experiencedot deal with rescues as required.ALL these men and women of the Coastgaurd and RNLI are essential to the everyday Patrols these undeniable heroes have to deal with . LETS SUPPORT, AND SHAME THIS ABOMINABLE TORY/LIB-DEM GOVERNMENT INTO REVERSING THIS ABHORRENT DECISION. You never know some of these millionaires within the government may need the services of these organisations in the future, BUT cannot use them because they got rid of them . SHAME ON THEM.

  65. Hear an interview with Dennis on Inverclyde Radio this afternoon on the Good Afternoon Show with David Faller from 1pm. The interview will feature around 1.20pm

  66. Its helped save many lives. Must be kept open.

  67. Having sailed around the entire coast of the british isles, I cannot comprehend how the government expects sea safety to be uncompromised by closing our local stations.
    Local knowledge saves lives.

  68. So insane to interfer with a service that keeps a close watch on very dangerous coast line.

  69. What Planet are these people on, One day Cameron, Clegg, Osborne et al or members of their family might need this and other services ! Just how much is going to be left ?
    By the time Cameron has finished we wont have enough left to assist with countries on the other side of the channel & north sea & they may well not reciprocate !

  70. Another bright idea by accountants to save money! You should not underestimate the value of local knowldge, technology cannot do everything. Get a grip Britain, we are an island the sea will take more lives in the future, sadley thats what it may have to take to prove our point!

  71. Let’s have a breath of sanity, shall we?
    The present system is out of date. At present, one coastguard station can be rushed of its feet while the staff at the next one along the coast are twiddling their thumbs with nothing to do.
    Modern communications technology means that the system can be improved. If that modernisation can save a bit of cash, that’s a bonus.
    The whingeing from coastguard officers and their political cronies sounds far too much like the trade unions in the dying days of British Leyland — and the argument that Coastguards have “local knowledge” is arrant nonsense! Each of the pre-reorganisation MRCCs covered (on average) about 500 miles of coastline. Can anyone really claim a detailed knowledge of 500 miles of coastline? Sorry, but I don’t think so!
    The real local knowledge lies with the front-line rescue services such as the cliff rescue teams and RNLI, and won’t be affected — if anything, the cliff rescue teams will benefit.
    What this really seems to be about is that coastguard officers living in beautiful areas with low property prices don’t like the idea of relocating to the expensive and overcrowded south coast.
    I can’t say I blame them! But The fact that many of them are “jumping ship” by leaving prematurely — and endangering lives by leaving existing coastguard stations short-staffed — demonstrates the hypocrisy of the arguments that are being used in this campaign.

    • Tim. You asked for a breath of sanity but injected insanity. You are a lone voice. Its an interesting viewpoint Tim but its safe to say that you are wide of the mark. You are presenting a view which only an small minority of politicians and MCA bosses agree with. Quite how you can make that comment about Coastguard officers “jumping ship” is beyond me but then its likely that you are removed from the reality of what is happening around the coast and to the service. If you believe that “front line” staff will not be affected then read the views of a CRO on the news page. That person is talking about REALITY

      • Your own site admits that the present system of ‘pairing” does not work — that one station cannot share workload, expertise or information with its “twin”.

        You have failed to answer my question about “local knowledge” — because you can’t. No-one can have local knowledge of 500. If you prefer to believe 1000 miles per MRCC (as I think I read somewhere on your website) then the problem is even more acute! It’s not possible without reference materials of some sort. And if you are relying on reference materials for your local knowledge, then there’s no reason why you can’t have local knowledge of Scotland in Fareham just as well as at Clyde.

        You say people aren’t “jumping ship”. Remind us — how many watchkeepers are there at Liverpool now? Down to 50% staff by the summer?

        And I read somewhere on your site that ships are not allowed to go to sea relying solely on electronic charts. Whether that is sloppy research or deliberate disinformation, I don’t know — but like so much else on this site, it is wrong. If they rely on electronic charts they are required to have a back-up system, but the back-up can also be electronic.

        Your idea that “only an small minority of politicians and MCA bosses agree with” my views is also wrong. There are a great many people out there who — like me — want to see an up-to-date, modern, efficient Coastguard service.

        I’m afraid your attitudes remind me of the bad old days of British Leyland.

        • Hi Tim. Offence was not intended so please accept apologies.

          Regarding your point of local knowledge. It is impossible for any one person to have an intimate knowledge of such an area that you mention. However, its worth mentioning that every area of responsibility for an MRCC will include areas which, for geographical reasons for instance, will be less of an operational hotspot than others. ie: An area of coastline which is not inhabited, which may be inaccessible by vehicle or on foot etc. Each officer will be required to get to know (in particular) the hotspot areas which of course will vary by degree for many different factors but of course the more information an individual gains, the better the chances of the correct CRT or RNLI teams being tasked.

          On your point of paired stations. A leaked MCA document proved that stations had only ever been “paired” in principal. One covered the other for routine tasks and if the other station experienced difficulties with communication equipment etc but it is widely recognised that this pairing did not occur as often or as effectively as the MCA and Ministers have made out to support their plans. Only two stations regularly paired for operational reasons.

          As for officers jumping ship. There are currently 107 vacancies around the coast for Coastguard officers. It was always expected that there would be “natural wastage” as a result of officers leaving over the three year period of transition but they are leaving (mainly) because they feel that the closure plan is not credible. They are concerned about the worrying lack of direction and management. They point to the lack of information and firm planning and they feel that the plan will fail. These people are in the business of saving lives. If they are hamstrung to the point when the service that they provide to the end user is compromised then of course its understandable that they will leave. Its down to very poor management of professional officers.

          My point about a minority of MP’s and even Coastguard officers supporting this change is correct. By the admission of the CEO of the MCA, they do not know what they will end up with therefore their plan is, in reality, just a concept. We oppose what has been put forward because it is unworkable and not safe. If they can prove to everyone that their plan is credible then of course we will accept it. We are not against genuine modernisation but it must be carried out without compromising the safety of coast users. The way that this has been handled is far below what should be expected from a Government department. Some MP’s have been happy to tow the party line on this without fully addressing the concerns which have been raised by stakeholders. That is unacceptable.

          We accept that not everyone might share our view of things. That is quite understandable. We do strive to ensure that the information contained on our website is correct and wherever possible, balanced to give everyone the chance to make their own minds up. If you feel that certain information is incorrect then please do not hesitate to raise any points with us by emailing info@coastguardsos.com and we would be pleased to make any corrections required.

  72. Another case of cutting to save pennies at the exspence of peoples lives,how short sighted.

  73. How can the government ring fence foreign aid even to countries that dont need it and then close coast guard stations risking the lives of our own people.It shows this government is completely out of order and their sympathys are not with the British people….absolute disgrace

  74. Never give up the cause. How can they put a price on human lives. Clydeside Singers show their support…… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdqQJMOW0ys

  75. we need our coastguards, we are an island nation, “for those in peril on the sea”; local knowledge is everything

  76. As others have said local knowledge is everything! Can you imagine if the government was in charge of the R.N.L.I.? There would only be about half the stations. We need the coastguard!

  77. Cutting costs or is it away of getting bigger wages for big wigs or government being useless and having not a clue on what a lifesaver coastguard stations are.
    Hope one day an MP needs the coastguard but there is no one local so an unknown area being sourced via a call handler who isn’t aware of local known area’s.


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