Coastguard

Coastguards help prevent the loss of life at sea by supporting search and rescue operations.

Average salary (a year)

£17,000 Starter

to

£32,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

41 to 43 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become a coastguard

You can get into this job through:

  • working towards this role
  • volunteering
  • applying directly

Work

You may be able to work your way into this role by starting as a watch assistant and applying for promotion when you've got more experience.

You'll need literacy, numeracy and IT skills, as well as seagoing experience.

Volunteering and experience

You could start by becoming a coastguard rescue officer volunteer, then apply for a paid position when vacancies are advertised.

Direct application

You can apply directly to employers if you have some of the relevant skills and knowledge needed for this role.

You'll need a good standard of literacy and numeracy, good hearing and eyesight to become a watch officer.

Employers will often ask for seagoing experience. You can get this from:

  • the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force or the Merchant Navy
  • other activities involving boat work and navigation
  • experience as a coastguard rescue officer volunteer

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a coastguard from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Civil Service Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others
  • physical fitness and endurance
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

  • be over 18 years of age
  • pass a medical check
  • pass a fitness test
  • have a full UK or EU driving licence, held for at least 12 months

You'll need to live within 30 minutes of the coastguard rescue location.

You must be prepared to work anywhere in the UK.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-today duties may include:

  • handling emergency distress calls
  • monitoring radio and satellite communications
  • giving information on safety at sea
  • recommending safety procedures to skippers of small craft
  • giving weather reports
  • co-ordinating operations
  • supervising or assisting in search and rescue operations

Working environment

You could work in an office or at sea.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could be promoted from coastguard watch assistant to watch officer, then to watch manager or section manager.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a coastguard right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Public Services - Diploma In Public Services (Qcf)

  • Provider: HERTFORD REGIONAL COLLEGE
  • Start date: 02 September 2019
  • Location: Turnford

Subsidiary Diploma in Public Services (QCF) (public services)

  • Provider: Barking & Dagenham College
  • Start date: 04 September 2019
  • Location: Romford

JobsIn the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

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