Thursday, 25th April 2019


Surrounded by sea on all sides, and with over 7,000 miles of coastline, Britain’s coastguards have a lot of area to cover. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is a world-class organisation that is committed to saving endangered lives, improving maritime safety and protecting the environment. The MCA is made up of Her Majesty’s Coastguard and Search and Rescue (SAR), employing over 1,200 people and supported by over 3,000 volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officers.

Implementing the government’s maritime safety policy, the MCA operates a 24-hour search and rescue service through Her Majesty’s Coastguard, which has its own voluntary Coastguard Rescue Service. This service is made up of volunteer coastguard rescue officers, who respond to land based emergencies, or searches for missing people.

With 19 Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres across the country, the maritime and coastguard network is the first point of call for anyone in distress at sea or in the coastal areas, as the Coastguard is recognised as a 999 emergency service. Coastguards often work closely with both the police and ambulance services and are linked to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.

There are various roles and sections of the MCA, with watch assistants who control the administrative and organisation, and watch officers who oversee rescue missions and manage the coastguard rescue teams. Whilst there are paid positions within the MCA, the majority of staff working for the coastguard service are volunteers, and these hands-on, trained positions are available for people from all walks of life and a wide range of ages. Within the coastguard agency there is scope for progression up the ranks of full-time work, from watch assistant to watch manager, as well as positions available for marine surveyors.

It is worth noting that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is carrying out a public consultation on the future of the Coastguard Service, so interested applicants should be aware that positions within the service could be subject to change in the forthcoming years.

For more information on the consultation please see the link below:

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency Careers