The coast guard keeps an eye on the sea

Coast guard

News

  • 07.09.15
    Masterplan Coastal safety

    This is a very severe storm which, statistically, can occur once every millenium. By comparison: the storm of 1953 (in Belgium) was a 250-year storm. A millenial-scale storm may cause extremely high waves and a spectacular sea level rise. When exactly this storm will hit our shores is impossible to predict. It may be as soon as tomorrow, but it may as well be twenty or a hundred years from now.

    Coastal Division, part of the agency for Maritime and Coastal Services (MDK) is working very hard to protect the Belgian coast against such storms.
    A study was carried out to pinpoint the weak spots along the coast. These are the main harbours and also the coastal line between the municipalities of Wenduine and Blankenberge and between Middelkerke and Ostend. In 2011 a masterplan Coastal Safety was approved, which incorporates all the improvements to strenghten our defense against the sea. These include raised and broadened beaches, higher quay walls and the construction of storm walls.

  • 03.09.15
    Polex exercise 2 Sep 15

    Yesterday, September 2nd, a number of our Belgian coast guard partners, together with the Netherlands and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) practised their anti-pollution skills at sea.

    Since 2001 the Belgian authorities own specialized equipment for the combating of pollution at sea, more in particular oil spills. This is a limited capacity which can be used for the first interventions. In case of a large-scale pollution, the neighbouring countries can be relied upon to lend a helping hand. Furthermore, we can also appeal to EMSA and the vessels that they keep stand-by. To ensure the deployment goes as smoothly as possible, exercises are held regularly.

    The exercise yesterday took place near the Goote Bank, approximately 20 kilometres off the coast. Following coast guard partners brought the exercise to a successful end: Directorate-General (DG) Environment (coordinator), Fleet, Maritime and River police, Belgian Science Policy Office/Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models (MUMM, ministry of Defense, Shipping Assistance Division/Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre and Civil Protection. The governor of West-Flanders followed the exercise as observer.

    More information: www.health.belgium.be

  • 31.08.15
    NH90 (©Jorn Urbain)

    Only a few weeks after our coast guard partner Defence declared the naval version of the new NH90 helicopters operational, the brand new helicopter completed its first life-saving mission, on the request of the British authorities. They needed help to carry out a medical evacuation. In the following months, the ministry of Defence will deploy the NH90 helicopters at a more frequent basis until they will completely have replaced the legendary Sea King before the end of 2018.

    All details of the mission on www.mil.be

  • 28.08.15
    Are you waterproof

    Surf to www.areyouwaterproof.be for all information with regard to maritime educational institutes and a career at sea.
    (website only available in Dutch)

  • 25.08.15
    Opendoor Koksijde 2015

    Tomorrow, August 26th, our coastguard partner Defence opens the doors of the aerial base Koksijde. Between 1pm and 5pm you can go and see the new NH90 helicopters, replacement for the Seaking helicopters.


    Admission is free.
    The open door is followed by the fourth edition of the Runway Run.

    More information

  • 25.08.15
    Opendoor Koksijde 2015

    Tomorrow, August 26th, our coastguard partner Defence opens the doors of the aerial base Koksijde. Between 1pm and 5pm you can go and see the new NH90 helicopters, replacement for the Seaking helicopters.


    Admission is free.
    The open door is followed by the fourth edition of the Runway Run.

    More information

  • 24.08.15
    NH90

    It is official: from now on the NH90 Nato Frigate Helicopters can be used for Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. On Friday August 21st an official handover ceremony took place in the air base of Koksijde.

    The NH90 is to replace the Seaking in the long run. In 2007 the order was placed and last year the helicopters were delivered. The NH90 already took part in the Navy Days, Belgium's national parade on July 21st and a rescue exercise on the coast. However, from now on they can officially be deployed for SAR operations. At the same time, the crew continues with the training programme, now embarking on a training module focusing on embarking the helicopters aboard a frigate.

    The Seaking helicopters will continue to be used as well, until completion of all training modules for all crew members, by the end of 2017

  • 18.08.15

    Non-stop swimming along the whole of the 67 kilometres-long Belgian coast. That is what swimmer Jean-Luc Piens hopes to achieve. Weather-permitting, he will begin his challenge around midnight during the night from August 21st to 22nd in the coastal municipality of De Panne, to arrive approximately 24 hours later in Knokke-Heist.

    Jean-Luc takes up this callenge in aid of a good cause, the Kinderkankerfonds (fund for children with cancer).

    Because such a swimming trip is not without risk, a number of our coast guard partners, the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre, Fleet and the Maritime&River Police, together with IKWV (Coastal Rescue) will be keeping an eye on the swimmer and his escort team to guarantee their safety.

    More information on www.ikwv.be

  • 17.08.15

    - go to the life guards
     - when you cannot find a life guard, dial the emergency number 112 or contact the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre (MRCC) at 0032(0)59/70 10 00
     - mention clearly to the life guard/emergency services where you have last seen your child, their name, age, colour of swimming suit and any other information which may be helpful

    Do not forget to go and fetch you free wristbands. Your kids can choose between the animation figures of Maya the Bee and Wickie the Viking. Fill in the name of your child, the location and your mobile phone number, so lost children can be reunited quickly with their parents.

    On the beach you can get the wristbands from the lifesavers and there is always a bag with wristbands to be found at the bottom of the lifesavers' chair. You can also get the wristbands at the tourism offices, the first aid posts or the newspaper shops along the coast.

  • 10.08.15

    The governor of West-Flanders is nominated as the receiver of underwater cultural heritage. This means that it is mandatory to report all findings to the governor. The receiver is required to record these findings in an electronic inventory and he has to provide advice concerning whether the finding can be regarded as underwater cultural heritage.

    Go to www.vondsteninzee.be for more information. The website also allows you to report your findings and to browse the inventory. This project is a collaboration between the governor of West- Flanders, the Flemish Heritage Agency and Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ).