Maritime and Coastguard Agency


Who we are

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is an Executive Agency of the Department for Transport (DfT).

We provide a 24-hour maritime and coastal search and rescue emergency coordination and response service for the United Kingdom.

We produce legislation and guidance and provide certification to ships and seafarers. Through our survey and inspection regime, we enforce standards for ship safety, security, pollution prevention and seafarer health, safety and welfare. We promote maritime standards, encourage economic growth and minimise the maritime sector’s environmental impact.

Safer lives, safer ships, cleaner seas

Our vision is to be a world-leading organisation, accelerating the transition to sustainable shipping with non-negotiable safety standards. We put our people, our customers and our planet at the heart of everything we do.

Our focus is on the themes of safety and sustainability, growth and innovation.

Our values are safety, professionalism, trust and respect.

Why our work matters

We contribute to the wider Department for Transport objectives of boosting economic growth and opportunity, improving journeys delivering safe, secure and sustainable transport, promoting a culture of efficiency, and building a one nation Britain. The MCA fulfils an essential safety role across the United Kingdom’s maritime environment.

Examples of our work include:

  • HM Coastguard responding to more than 33,000 incidents in 2020
  • our marine surveyors carrying out more than 2,800 inspections and almost 3,000 surveys on United Kingdom registered ships; and close to 1,500 port state control inspections of foreign registered ships which can lead to around 40 ship detentions each year
  • setting standards to protect over 11,000 miles of coastline and being ready to respond to pollution incidents;
  • encouraging safe behaviours from over 200 million coastal tourist visits
  • promoting and enforcing better safety amongst the 12,000 workers on 5,700 fishing vessels
  • facilitate the implementation of trials and projects, support regulation updates and drive forward change in industry in the uptake of innovative technologies in both emission reduction and autonomy