About us

What we do

We work to prevent the loss of life on the coast and at sea. We produce legislation and guidance on maritime matters, and provide certification to seafarers.

We provide a 24-hour maritime search and rescue service around the UK coast, and international search and rescue through HM Coastguard.

Who we are

We are a team of 1,050 staff and 3,500 volunteers. Our headquarters are in Southampton and we have offices and co-ordination centres around the UK coast.


We are responsible for:

  • the safety of everybody in a vessel in UK waters
  • the safety of all seafarers on UK flagged vessels
  • making sure all equipment on UK vessels is fit for purpose
  • making sure all seafarers on UK vessels have correct documentation
  • the environmental safety of UK coast and waters
  • the accuracy of hydrographic data on UK charts
  • overseeing coastal rescue volunteers, hydrographics, seafarer certification and the port state control inspection regime


From 2014 to 2015, our priorities will be to:

  • complete the future coastguard programme
  • prepare to take full responsibility for all UK search and rescue helicopter operations from 2015
  • complete our reform programme to improve efficiency and customer service in ship surveying and inspections
  • increase our staff numbers to increase the number of coastguards and improve IT support
  • provide more responsive services to shipowners registered on the UK Ship Registry

Corporate information

Read about the types of information we routinely publish in our Publication scheme. Find out about our commitment to publishing in the Welsh language scheme. Find out About our services.

Corporate reports