Another Record Year For Jersey Coastguard Calls

Jersey Coastguard control room

Jersey Coastguard responded to 205 distress calls in 2023, just one fewer than its busiest year on record.

The service is on duty 24/7 to ensure safety at sea and coordinate search and rescue call outs.

Its annual report reveals 2023 was another busy year, with 205 incidents almost equalling the record of 206 in 2022.

Failed equipment is still the most common reason for the Coastguard to mobilise search and rescue assets to vessels, accounting for nearly a quarter (23%) of distress calls.

That is an average of one every week of the year.

With the days getting longer and lighter, and the weather hopefully warning up, Coastguard Watch Officer Ford Ramsden is urging boatowners to take simple measures to prevent them needing rescuing.

"It comes down to poor education. People buy a boat and won't be aware of how to maintain that vessel. So what happens is individuals or groups go out and enjoy our local waters, then get equipment failure on these vessels.

We would always say to people to make sure vessels are serviced and maintained correctly at all times; this will definitely save these occurrences happening in the future."

The second most common reason the Coastguard is called is 'concern for welfare'.  There were 27 last year, compared to 21 in 2022.

Ford Ramsden thinks that is mainly due to people being attentive about others on water:

"Welfare concerns could be anything. Sometimes it's someone who's been chilling, relaxing on their boat, and they haven't moved for a while and could have sunstroke.

It could also be somebody acting suspiciously, not putting someone else at harm per se, but could be putting themselves at harm-  so there's a concern for them, to make sure they're going to be safe.

We're getting a lot more concerns for welfare.  I think this is mainly due to a better public understanding of the needs of other islanders.

It's almost encouraging to see people making these calls. It alerts us and allows us to manage instances"

Common incidents dealt with by Jersey Coastguard in 2023: 

  • Vessel equipment failure- 48 incidents in 2023, compared to 47 in 2022. 
  • Concern for welfare - 27 incidents in 2023, compared to 21 in 2022. 
  • Action with good intentions or person appears in difficulties - 20 incidents in 2023, compared to 27 in 2022. 
  • Cut off by incoming tides - 13 incidents in 2023, compared to 23 in 2022. 

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