H M Coastguard is part of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, and through its network of Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres co-ordinates civil maritime search and rescue. The search and rescue area covers 1.25 million square nautical miles of sea and 10.5 thousand miles of coastline.
Those 10.5 thousand miles of coastline are used by many people throughout the year for leisure and sport, and although a major part of the Coastguard’s work is accident prevention, sometimes things go wrong.
When the worst does happen, there are over 3,000 Coastguard Rescue Officers, at Rescue Stations around the coast. Donna Nook is one of the Stations which has a Coastguard Rescue Vehicle, most of these are four-wheel drive off-road vehicles which are used for search and to transport manpower and equipment.
Coastguard Rescue Officers are all volunteers and are usually available 24 hours a day to respond when called upon by full-time staff at one of the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres.
Parts of Donna Nook’s guard are remote and there are only four safe vehicle routes from high to low water, which can be a distance of over two miles. Local knowledge, which is one of the vital skills of the team, is gained during regular training sessions, along with all the other skills such as map work, first aid and search techniques, necessary to be an effective Emergency Service.