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FAQ

For all Coastal Emergencies Dial 999 and ask for the COASTGUARD  

MRCC Stornoway

Some of your Questions Answered


Hopefully this page will answer some of the more common questions resulting from the MCA's Consultation Document.
More Q's & A's will be added over time but we hope that these will assist you.

 

Question
Answer
Will the Coastguard helicopter be lost from Stornoway as part of this? No, the new helicopter contract is separate from the MCA's consultation document. The Government are still deciding on the final helicopter contract for the next 25 years.
Will the Coastguard's that we see on the coast be affected? There are no plans in the consultation for any reduction to the Coastguard Rescue Teams on the coast. Under the proposals there will be an increase in the number of full-time officers training the rescue teams and these full-time officers will be on a 24 hour call out.
What about the Lifeboats? The RNLI Lifeboats are unaffected and are not connected to the Coastguard. The Lifeboats are a declared resource that the Coastguard use but are a registered charity.
Where will the nearest Coastguard be if the Stornoway Station closed? Under the plans, if Stornoway Coastguard closes then Shetland, Aberdeen or Belfast/Liverpool will be the nearest Coastguard centres during daylight hours. At night everything will be run from either Aberdeen or a new station on the south coast of England. This includes all 999 calls, Maydays and requests for assistance.
The consultation response doesn't look easy to fill in, how can I answer the questions on it? If you can't answer the individual questions on the form then leave them blank. There is a box at the bottom of the form for your comments, use this area to support your case and please include as much evidence as you can. If you want to send a letter or an e-mail with your views then that will be accepted, again though, include as much detail as you can and back it up with evidence.
How do I know my views will be read? We have been informed by the MCA that all correspondence received through the consultation process will be logged but only those with evidence to back up any claims will be taken into account.
If Stornoway remains open, will it be business as usual? The honest answer is that we don't know. The plan is for the station to be open during day light hours only (although we're not sure what the hours will be, especially in the summer months) and the operations room staff will be reduced from the current 22 down to just 10. Without the detailed plans for the station it's hard to say what we will be doing. The station may be responsible for coordinating Search & Rescue for the west of Scotland during the day, it may only be watching the shipping through the Minch. Then again, there's nothing to say that staff in Stornoway won't be running Search & Rescue in Wales or the south of England during busy periods, with Aberdeen looking after the whole of Scotland.
What can I do?

If you want the Coastguard to have a 24/7 presence in Stornoway then you can put your views in the consultation response form (links in the menus on the left of this page), write to your local MP, MSP or Councilors asking them to support the retention of the 24 hour facility or write a letter or send an e-mail to the MCA.

There is also an online petition "Save Stornoway Coastguard" where you can sign & add your views. (The petition is not part of the official consultation and should not be used as another option to the response form.)

Will there be any radio coverage lost if Coastguard stations close? There are no plans to reduce the number of remote aerial sites that the Coastguard have around the UK coast. So VHF & VHF DSC coverage will remain unchanged. VHF Direction Finding (DF) equipment that's fitted to some of the aerial sites is being discontinued though. The DF is still in operation but is no longer supported, so if it breaks, it won't be repaired.
Medium Frequency (MF) sites are due to be upgraded at some time in the near future. The new transmitters will have more power than the current ones and up to date base units.
What will be lost if Stornoway Coastguard station closes?

The main thing will be local knowledge that allows the correct units to be tasked to the scene of an incident as fast as possible. With numerous palace names being the same, like Uig, Tarbert, Berneray and Pabay as examples, knowing which is which can be vital. Likewise, just sending the nearest geographical Coastguard team doesn't always work on the West coast. Especially if they need a ferry to get there!

The area we currently look after is also the area in which we live so we have pride in the area and a want to protect it and those who use it. Would you expect the same from someone in the south of England?

In the recent past we have worked with the Met Office to taylor the weather broadcasts to requests from local fishermen and boat owners so that it provides a more useful service to them. Liaison such as this on a local level may be lost and users will receive a standard broadcast for the UK.

The Coastguard Station is the host to the emergency services day, once every two years, that allows the public to come & see what all the emergency services are about. It also has a conference room that is used by community groups on a regular basis, for free. Both these would stop if the station was to close.

 

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