MCA urges caution for sailors this weekend

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has issued the following statement regarding a strike called by the Public and Commercial Services Union which will affect Coastguard Stations around the UK this Bank Holiday weekend (23rd – 25th August).

“Contingency arrangements are in place to ensure that the MCA will continue to provide an emergency service. The industrial action is by those responsible for co-ordinating rescues. The rescuers themselves will continue to operate as normal.

The Agency is very aware that this weekend will be busier than normal and are therefore reminding the public to take extra care whilst on the sea, beach or cliffs.

The MCA is urging the boating public to think carefully about their plans and to make sure they are aware of standard safety advice before considering going afloat this weekend.

Boat users are strongly reminded that:
– A suitable up to date marine weather forecast should be obtained before putting to sea
– Skippers should make sure that everyone on board has lifejacket and is wearing it
– A fixed or handheld radio should be taken. Mobile phone coverage at sea is far too unpredictable
– Suitable in-date flares should be carried
– Warm clothing should be stowed in the event of a lengthy breakdown
– A torch and spare batteries are absolutely essential. They can be used to guide a rescue helicopter or lifeboat towards you
– An on-shore contact should be identified and a passage plan worked out in advance to ensure no one is left worrying about potential late arrivals.

The following services remain unaffected:

– Helicopters will continue to fly
– RNLI lifeboats and lifeguards are available as usual
– MCA Volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officers are ready in their local communities
– As usual when out at sea, other ships and craft will assist others in distress
– Our emergency tugs and pollution control experts will respond to any shipping incidents that threaten the environment”

For more information on the strike visit the MCA website.