The Coastguard has been in existence in the Isle of Man for over 140 years. The Isle of Man Coastguard was formed in 1989 in response to the withdrawal of the HM Coastguard and the closure of its co-ordination centre in Ramsey. By agreement, HM Coastguard provides search and rescue co-ordination for all of the waters around the Island from Liverpool, with support and advice from IOM Coastguard as required.
As part of the Harbours Division, the IOM Coastguard is responsible for the provision of search and rescue teams to deal with incidents around the coast and, increasingly, inland. There are five teams - located at Douglas, Castletown, Port Erin, Peel and Ramsey.
These stations provide a response by Coastguards within 20 minutes to any part of the coast. The service responds to an estimated 150 requests for assistance each year and co-operates closely with other emergency services.
Coastal surveillance remains the core activity of the Manx Coastguard service and a high degree of familiarisation of the coast is required, gained through a system of more than 1,000 patrols by the stations each year.
All Coastguard units are fully equipped with vehicles and a range of coastal and inshore rescue equipment. Increasingly, they are used as part of a co-ordinated response to inland emergencies such as hill searches and river pollution incidents.
The service deals with many reports of unusual objects washed up on the Island’s shoreline, most of which the Coastguard is familiar with. However, if an object gives cause for concern, the Navy Bomb Disposal Team can be contacted to take over. The Coastguard also collects, stores and arranges the disposal of out-of-date marine pyrotechnics.
Strong links have been retained with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and its Liverpool sub-centre responsible for co-ordinating all sea rescues in Manx waters. Regular contact is also maintained with the helicopter squadrons of the RAF and Royal Navy who provide air assistance when required. A high degree of liaison also exists with the RNLI lifeboat stations with many operations and exercises being conducted together.
The Coastguard is a fully integrated part of the Harbours Division and often called upon when extra staff are needed in emergency situations.
Would you like to become a Coastguard?
The Coastguard service consists of people from the community, many with maritime interests, willing to give up their free time to train and be on stand-by to help others when the need arises. Anyone who lives or works in the vicinity of a station and who is physically fit and aged between 18 and 50 can apply to join the Coastguard. Other requirements are reliability and the ability to work well in a team. Training has a strong emphasis on safety and painstaking attention to detail in the use and maintenance of equipment and the need to reduce the risk to the rescuers to an absolute minimum.
For more information telephone the Coastguard on 661664.