Maritime and Coastguard Agency

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Formerly UK Coastguard, the renamed British Maritime and Coastguard Agency is responsible for enforcing the maritime safety policy of the United Kingdom. That includes co-ordinating search and rescue at sea through Her Majesty’s Coastguard, and checking that ships meet UK and international safety rules. The Agency is part of the Department for Transport.

MCA's Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre is responsible for British participation in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).

As part of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention, MCA require commercial vessels to carry the required emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB), digital selective calling(DSC) VHF radio that connects to GPS, and, when going more than a specified distance offshore, carrying MF/SSB radio, INMARSAT satellite communications, and NAVTEX weather and safety receiver. MCA strongly recommend that recreational and other vessels not covered by SOLAS to carry the safety equipment appropriate to the distance offshore they will voyage, but, minimally, EPIRB and DSC-VHF-GPS.