A tour of the ops room of one of the busiest rescue co-ordination centres in the world

They wait. They listen. They’re there 24 hours a day, every day ready to help anyone who gets into trouble at sea.

For anyone who ever needs be rescued far out into the Atlantic – sometimes even on the other side of the world, Falmouth Coastguard is where the race to help begins.

Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Falmouth is one of the busiest rescue co-ordination centres in the world and one of the most efficient. On average, it handles six or seven distress calls every day, around 2,400 a year.

Their area of responsibility is dauntingly large: it reaches into the North Atlantic to 30˚W, 61°N and 45°W, covering 660,000 square nautical miles of some of the world’s roughest seas and busiest shipping routes. They stand ready to get help to everyone from the walker whose dog has scampered over a cliff to cargo ships disabled or, as in one recent case, on fire 1,000 miles from land and with mounting casualties.

In our big rescue feature in the June issue, I visited Falmouth Coastguard and saw first-hand some of the work they do. In our short video, we take a look at the operations room and get a quick tour from centre manager James Instance.


Read our feature on the Coastguard, a timeline of a big international rescue and the work of Falmouth lifeboat in our June issue. You can subscribe to our digital edition here