Director of HM Coastguard

Claire Hughes


Claire Hughes joined the MCA in 2000, holding various roles within the HR team and working up to the role of HR Director and Chief People Officer in 2012. Claire was also on secondment as Director of HR at the Department for Transport from January – July 2015.

In 2020, Claire took up the role of Director of HM Coastguard (HMCG) at the MCA. Since taking up this post, Claire has been working closely with HMCG colleagues to evolve Coastguard operations including its technology and is strengthening its leadership capability to drive a renewed culture.

During the pandemic, Claire and the team have ensured that HMCG has continued to provide its dedicated 24/7 Coastguard service fulfilling our search and rescue commitments and responding to incidents with professionalism and expertise.    

Claire leads a diverse work force, including uniformed coastguards, volunteer coastguards, emergency responders, operational room staff, policy officials and administrative support staff.

Claire is a chartered fellow of CIPD and holds a BA in Human Resource Management​​​​​​​.

Director of HM Coastguard

The Director of HM Coastguard is also the Senior Responsible Owner for the UK SAR Helicopter programme.

HM Coastguard coordinate maritime search and rescue (SAR) within the UK SAR region, which covers some 1.25 million square nautical miles of sea and over 10.5 thousand nautical miles of coastline.

HM Coastguard has a variety of resources it can use in response to an emergency situation – whether that is people in distress at sea, or emergencies on the coast or shoreline.

HM Coastguard also has its own volunteer service – the Coastguard Rescue Service, comprising some 3,500 volunteers who form teams that are trained and equipped by HM Coastguard to respond to land-based emergencies such as cliff and mud rescues or searches for missing people.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency