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Home / News / Visit to the JRCC (HM Coastguard) - April 2023
Home / News / Visit to the JRCC (HM Coastguard) - April 2023

Visit to the JRCC (HM Coastguard) - April 2023

Published 16:02 on 22 Apr 2023

Following on from the very successful talk by Tom Barnett in January, 17 members of the club visited the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Park Gate.

The centre coordinates surveillance and rescues from UK waters right out to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (with the exception of Irish coastal waters).

The first thing that struck us was the level of security.  In addition, power backup systems are necessary to maintain 24 hour operation every day of the year.

We had an excellent talk about the work of the JRCC and their various sections, such as the volunteer Coastguard Rescue teams (CRT), those involved in aerial surveillance and rescues using the helicopters, fixed wing aircraft and drones and the people who respond to satellite based systems such as PLBs and EPIRBs.  The range of work was explained by Charlie, a Coastguard Officer, who illustrated his talk with videos and slides demonstrating the type of work involved.

A map showed where rescues happened from south of the Isle of Wight up to beyond the Shetlands and from the the North Sea far out into the Atlantic. What was a surprise was how many rescue missions were mounted to land-based incidents such as mountains or remote areas, as well as hospital transfers from islands to the mainland.

Coastguard operations for the UK are located in 10 sites of which the JRCC is the main one.  Any site can assist or take over the work of another in times of high work load or in an emergency.  Solent Coastguard, with which we are most familiar covers the area from the River Exe to Beachy Head.  It can call upon the 66 Lifeboats in its area, the 34 CRTs as well as helicopters, fixed wing aircraft and other vessels as needed.

A good Q&A and discussion session covered topics such as DSC calling, the use of SafeTrx, Calling for help using a Mobile phone vs a VHF radio, the use of SeaStart, etc.

Towards the end of the presentation, the blinds were lifted in the conference room and and we could look over the Coastguard Officers at work who were currently on shift.  There is a 4-shift system with a varying shift pattern during the month to ensure coverage and good working arrangements.

It was a great visit with a very informative presentation and was thoroughly enjoyed by those who attended.

Brian Masters


Last updated 13:22 on 25 October 2023

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