Her Majesty’s Coastguard is the United Kingdom’s 24/7 civilian maritime and aeronautical search-and-rescue (SAR) agency. The operational arm of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), HM Coastguard operates under the auspices of the UK’s Department of Transport. While it is a uniformed service like the U.S. Coast, it is neither an armed service nor a law enforcement agency. Its motto is “Safer Lives, Safer Ships, Cleaner Seas.”
The MCA is led by Sir Alan Massey, chief executive. Prior to being appointed to his post in July 2010 by former Prime Minister David Cameron, Massey spent a career in the Royal Navy, which culminated with service as Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief, Naval Home Command. The position of Chief of the Coastguard currently is vacant. His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales serves as patron of HM Coastguard.
According to its official website, the missions of HM Coastguard include:
• Ensuring the safety of everyone in a vessel in UK waters and all seafarers on UK-flagged vessels
• Ensuring all equipment on UK vessels is fit for its purpose