The coast guard keeps an eye on the sea

Coast guard


  • 30.07.15
    Autocollant MRCC

    Call the emergency number 112 or contact the MRCC (Maritime Rescue– and Coordination Centre) in Ostend:
    • Phone: 0032(0)59/70 11 00 of 0032(0)59/70 10 00
    • Fax: 0032(0)59/70 36 05
    • VHF Channel 16 – Channel 67

  • 24.07.15

    Not necessarily. Healthy seals need their daily dose of sun. It is important that they can rest, so do not get to close to them and keep dogs on a leash, so as not to disturb the seals.

    A sick seal looks frail and listless and will stay put, even when you come closer. Keep your distance and definitely do not touch the seal. When feeling threatened, it can bite you and transfer germs. Call the  Sea Life Centre Blankenberge: 0032 (0)50 42 43 00.

    The Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models (MUMM) keeps a database with sightings and beachings of seals and other sea mammals.


  • 23.07.15

    On the tentacles of a jellyfish venomonous cells are located. When being touched, jellyfish inject these cells containing venom into the victim.  Depending on the type of jellyfish and the victim's sensitivity, the pain can be less or more severe. Usually being stung by jellyfish on our coast is not dangerous or mortal.

    When you have been stung, carefully remove any parts of tentacles which may have been left on the skin. Do this by rinsing the wound with salt water (not fresh water). Avoid rubbing the wound! Rinsing with salt water or applying a cold compress may help to relieve the pain. In case of severe discomfort, painkillers may prove necessary.
    Take care: even beached and dying jellyfish can still sting when touched!

    Thanks to Francis Kerckhof, RBIN/OD Nature

  • 16.07.15

    It is not necessary to share your pack of french fries or your portion of fresh shrimp with seagulls. They do have food enough. If they are constantly fed by humans, they will no longer go find food themselves. They will tear garbage bags open which causes the street to be full of litter and which attracts vermin. Rooftops, cars and sidewalks are covered in seagull excrement. Moreover, seagulls are known to come and steal food out of people's hands, which can prove dangerous, especially for small children.

    Did you know that is forbidden by law to feed seagulls? If you go ahead and do it anyway, you risk a heavy fine in most coastal municipalities along the Belgian coast.

  • 14.07.15
    Bezoek Douane Rouen

    9 and 10 July, the coast guard secretaries, together with a delegation of the Belgian customs, were invited by the French customs for a visit in order to get better acquainted. They had the opportunity to embark on the French patrol vessel DF P1 "Jacques Oudart Fourmentin" and to visit the operational centre in Rouen. The goal of this visit was to exchange best practices and start up initiatives in order to renew the cooperation between French and Belgian Customs.

  • 14.07.15

    The Secretary of State for the North Sea, Bart Tommelein, visited the oceanographic vessel RV (Research Vessel) Belgica, on the 10th of July 2015. He wanted to see how oceanographic research is conducted during a one day trip.

    The Federal Science Policy Office is the owner of RV Belgica. The ship is available for scientists who wish to carry out marine scientific research. Our coastguard partner the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences (RBINS)' OD Nature is responsible for the ship's budget, scientific equipment and the planning of scientific campaigns. They work together with another coastguard partner, the ministry of Defense, which provides the crew, operational support and a mooring in the home port of Zeebrugge.

    The RV Belgica is at sea for up to two hundred days a year and different teams work on it day and night, both national and international. The ship is a 50.9 metre long floating laboratory and monitors the quality of the North Sea by constantly collecting all kinds of data about the biological, chemical, physical, geological and hydrodynamic processes which occur.The RV Belgica has watched over the North Sea nonstop for 30 years, however, after 30 years a new research ship is needed to keep the North Sea protected. More information: How Big is Belgica.


  • 09.07.15

    Go to your local police station or the police station where the vessel was stolen to report the theft as soon as possible. Bring all the documents that may prove useful: invoices, proof of insurance, proof of property and copies of shipping documents. Also mention anything that may provide a lead: information on equipment, means of communication on board, identity of the passengers, intended route, ports of call and final destination.

  • 07.07.15

    Check the colour of the flag on the life guards' post.
    A green flag means that you can go swimming in all safety. When you see a yellow flag, you are allowed to go swimming, but you should bear in mind that it can be dangerous.  Therefore it is forbidden to take rubber boats, rubber rings or other inflatable or floating objects with you in the water. A red flag signifies that it is strictly forbidden to swim.
    Furthermore, you should follow the life guards'instructions at all times.

    Surfers have their own green (surfing is allowed) and red (surfing is forbidden) flag, easy to recognize by the white logo in the shape of a surfboard.

    Keep in mind that it is forbidden to swim in unguarded areas! These areas are indicated by a prohibition sign. Going swimming nearby breakwaters and moles can be very dangerous because of the strong currents and whirlpools.
    Find the different flags and signs here.

  • 29.06.15

    Our coast guard partner Coastal Divison has been working hard on a brand new embankment in Wenduine for the past nine months. 

    The new embankment is safer, wider and more attractive. The town of Wenduine is now fully protected against superstorms as foreseen in the Masterplan Coastal safety.
    See the website of Coastal Division for a film.

  • 17.04.15
    Avion d'observation

    Our coast guard partner Federal Science Policy has a surveillance aircraft for detecting illegal oil spills on the North Sea. Over the years, a decreasing trend in operational oil spills is observed. The figures for 2014 confirm this. On the other hand, the figures show that the number of operational spills of other harmful substances are increasing since a couple of years.
    More information on op