HM Coastguard is the national category 1 emergency service responsible for the initiation and co-ordination of all maritime search and rescue (SAR) within the UK Maritime Search and Rescue Region. This includes the mobilisation, organisation and tasking of adequate resources to respond to persons either in distress at sea, or to persons at risk of injury or death on the cliffs or shoreline of the United Kingdom. It is also responsible for all land-based search and rescue helicopter operations across the UK.
Every minute of every hour of every day, over 300 Coastguard Rescue Teams remain on call across the UK to respond to those in need at sea, along the coast and further afield. These teams are made up of specially trained Coastguard Rescue Officers who volunteer to join HM Coastguard, leaving their families, friends, full-time occupations and putting plans on hold when the pager sounds. Coastguard Rescue Teams are specially trained and equipped in a wide range of search and rescue disciplines including water and flood rescue, lost and missing person search, technical rope rescue, mud rescue, critical casualty care, 4×4 off road driving and much more.
The Coastguard Rescue Teams are tasked and coordinated by the highly trained full-time staff within the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres across the UK who answer 999 calls, respond to mayday radio transmissions and bring these emergency incidents to a safe conclusion using the resources available to them including Coastguard Rescue Teams, full-time senior coastal officers, lifeboats (RNLI and independent) and search and rescue aircraft.
And while these dedicated people are helping save lives across the country, The Coastguard Association is the charity dedicated to help them in their time of need.