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Being a volunteer coastguard rescue officer means playing a vital role in the UK’s coastal search and rescue team. As part of Her Majesty’s Coastguard, operating either alone or along with other emergency services, coastguard rescue officers work to prevent the loss of life and to improve maritime safety.
All coastguard rescue officers are volunteers, drawn from the local community but fully trained to deal with all rescue operations around the coast. Volunteer coastguard officers can be called out by a Maritime Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC) at any time of day or night, to respond to those in danger or missing person reports. Responsibilities can include anything from rescuing people trapped or injured on cliffs, assisting the police in searching for missing persons, or helping with clearing up oil spills and flood relief. Being a coastguard rescue officer is full of variety, but it does require a genuine interest in the UK’s maritime safety effort. Positions are available to anyone between the ages of 18 and 65, as long as they have a full driving license and live or work within 30 minutes of the local rescue station. A reasonable level of fitness and good health is required. All other training is provided, but emotional stability and good communication skills are helpful. Applicants should be aware that being a coastguard rescue officer could be disruptive to family life, with callouts possible at any time and training typically held during evenings and weekends. Total flexibility and dedication is crucial as a volunteer.