MRCC Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres

Who do I call in a distress situation at sea?

Many countries offer a specialised rescue coordination centre for maritime customers. The nature of distress at sea being somewhat different to the normal reactions by Police, Fire and Ambulance teams.

However, it's important to remember that the ocean is a vast place and whilst communications have improved dramatically in recent years (especially due to satellite communications), it still remains difficult for shore based services to physically implement a rescue operation (except for inshore incidents). Therefore the emphasis is on "Rescue Coordination", since the actual rescue will normally be effected by other maritime vessels who happen to be in the vicinity and can divert to offer assistance.

Therefore for customers using a satellite telephone, it's almost too obvious to state, but in the event of distress you will require the telephone number of someone to call who can help coordinate a rescue! For some purposes that might be a partner, boat yard, family doctor, however, in many situations a "coordination centre" who can take your call and pass it on to the most appropriate responder on your behalf is most useful. Such a responder will generally be either your home or local countries coastguard or MRCC centre. eg for most UK sailors this means calling Falmouth coastguard (who have an excellent reputation for finding and coordination appropriate local help anywhere in the world!)

How do I find the contact numbers for an appropriate MRCC?

The phone book, or internet is the best option. However, the link below has numbers for quite a few MRCC centres worldwide:

Falmouth Coastguard

  • tel: +44 1326 317575