HM Coastguard

HM Coastguard

Did you know that HM Coastguard (HMCG) is the Only National 999 Service? Here on the Fylde Coast, two Teams look after safety on our shoreline. The Fleetwood and Lytham Coastguards.

Around 5% of the UK population live near the coast. A large number of people are also unaware that HMCG is the only national 999 service and has no county boundaries. Every part of the service is the same, from kit to training.

  • If you are in difficulty at or near the coast, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
  • They’ll be there and arrange for other services to attend
  • HM Coastguard – To Search, To Rescue, To Save.
HM Coastguard Rescue Teams

Dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard

If you’ve called 999 and asked for the Coastguard or set off a distress alert at sea, what happens next?

Your call will be connected to a Coastguard Officer at the Contact Centre at Holyhead (below). They’ll ask you a series of detailed and structured questions to establish exactly where you are what help you need.

HM Coastguard Control Centre

A lot of places in the UK have very similar, or even exactly the same name. So the Coastguard uses a highly detailed mapping system along with their questions to confirm your exact location. Then they send the right people with the right equipment to help you, using their search and rescue planning expertise.

  • Among other things, Coastguard Rescue teams search for missing people or rescue people from coastal mud and cliffs.
  • If you are on a lifeguarded beach the Coastguard will contact the lifeguard service.
  • If you’re in difficulty out at sea, the RNLI will be despatched in a lifeboat to help.
  • Or if you need urgent medical attention, or are missing at sea, one of the specialist search and rescue helicopters will be deployed.

Look Around HM Coastguard and RNLI

Each year, the local lifeboat stations hold an open day. It’s always a day of fun for all of the family, with lots going on.

But it has a serious point too. Each open day enables the station to welcome in the public to see their work, spread the message about keeping safe on the beach, and raise vital funds.

You’ll find details about this years open days in the Visit Fylde Coast what’s on guide.

More about the Coastguard

Nationally, HM Coastguard is manned by about 3500 volunteers who are on call 365 days of the year. Together they staff 350 teams across the UK. Our local ones – Lytham and Fleetwood – are two of them. Their activity is controlled by the centre based at Holyhead.

The Lytham team is based at St Annes and covers 40 miles of coast and river Ribble estuary, to Preston and Blackpool as far as the Gynn.

HM Coastguard Lytham
HM Coastguard Lytham at Blackpool RNLI Open Day

The Fleetwood Coastguard team share the lifeboat station on the Esplanade at Fleetwood with the RNLI. They cover the area from the Gynn heading north along the Cleveleys and Fleetwood coastline, the River Wyre and as far as Cartford. The two teams often work together.

  • Above the high water mark, the Police are responsible for incidents.
  • Below high water mark is the remit of the Coastguard.
  • Obviously the Police and Coastguard will often work together.
  • The Coastguard calls for the RNLI when incident takes place in the sea.

Coastguard teams are trained in search, water and mud rescue and practice their skills regularly. Training helps them to do things automatically in an emergency. All the Coastguard teams undergo exactly the same training, and they all use exactly the same kit. That way when they work together their interchangeable skills and equipment enable them to carry out a rescue seamlessly.

Every three years volunteers are requalified. Over time they progress in their training to become a technician who is the person who actually carries out a rescue on site.

…and Finally

Do you spend any time on the beach? Then you’ll know the oddest things get washed to shore!

Every so often an incendiary device is found, usually with much excitement and the arrival of the bomb squad. But do you know where they come from?

Apparently, fishermen were paid to dispose of old bombs at the end of the war. They were paid to take them far out to sea and drop them into the depths of Lune Deep. There they would be no trouble to anyone, or so they thought.

Unfortunately a lot of fishermen took a short-cut because they were paid per trip. Some bombs didn’t quite make the safety of the depths, which is probably why every so often one washes back to shore.

Find out More

Beach safety

Sandbanks and Tidal Pools

Follow Fleetwood Coastguard on Twitter @FleetwoodCG

Fleetwood Coastguard on Facebook

Follow Lytham Coastguard on Twitter @LythamCG

While you’re here…

Have a look at the Visit Fylde Coast website homepage for more of the latest updates.

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