Complaints procedure

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency complaints procedure

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) is committed to preventing loss of life at sea and at the coast; continuously improving maritime safety, and protecting the marine environment – safer lives, safer ships, cleaner seas.

Our aim is to provide the best possible service at all times. We welcome feedback from our customers which tells us when we are getting things right, and just as importantly, on where we need to improve, so that we learn from our mistakes. We record and monitor all complaints and carry out regular reviews of our customer services.

Making a complaint to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Step 1

If you are not satisfied with the service from the MCA please get in touch with the person or section that you have been dealing with. They will be keen to put the matter right if they can. All our letters give the name and telephone number of the sender and usually a reference number. If you do not know how to contact us, please email us at

We are confident that most concerns can be addressed at this first step. If you write directly to the Chief Executive we will consider your complaint at a lower level first. If you feel that you have explored this avenue as far as you can, then please move to Step 2.

Step 2

If you remain unsatisfied, you should write, including full details of previous correspondence, to our Chief Executive at the following address, or email them at

Chief Executive
Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Bay 3/30
Spring Place
105 Commercial Road
SO15 1EG

We will make sure that your complaint is thoroughly investigated.

Step 3

If you feel that your complaint has not been handled properly, you can ask us to refer the matter to an Independent Complaints Assessor appointed by the Department for Transport. The role of the Assessor is to assess the manner in which the complainant’s case or request has been handled and also the way in which a complaint has been dealt with.

When you make a complaint to a DfT body, your personal information will be used by that DfT body, and where appropriate by the Department for Transport and their appointed Independent Complaints Assessors, for the purposes of handling your complaint, producing anonymised statistical information and seeking to improve services through lessons learnt. Further information about how each DfT body or the Department for Transport look after personal information can be found in the Department’s information charter (available on the DfT website).

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

There may be times when you’ve tried to resolve the complaint with us directly, including having received an independent review by the ICA, and you’re still dissatisfied.

If so, you may want to ask a Member of Parliament to refer your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).

You can find out more on the PHSO website.

It’s important to follow the steps in the complaints process as set out above for the central department, or for the agency or other body that you’ve been dealing with.

The ICA and PHSO will both expect you to have tried to resolve your complaint at the earlier stages of our complaints procedure before they look into it.