The coast guard keeps an eye on the sea

Coast guard


  • 16.11.18
    Compendium VLIZ

    The Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) launches the third edition of their Compendium for Coast and Sea on Friday 7 December 2018. The Compendium includes scientifically based and up-to-date information on the Belgian part of the North Sea and the Flemish coastal areas. The launch event takes places in De Grote Post in Ostend from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm and is open to marine scientists, policy makers, industry and other interested users or stakeholders of the sea and coast.
    More information: 

  • 13.11.18

    The brochure 'Marinas along the Flemish Coast', a realisation by our coast guard partner Coastal Division, got an update. It offers a comprehensive overview of the works that were executes in Ostend, Blankenberge, Zeebrugge and Nieuwpoort and the plans for the future. At Nieuwpoort an extra 500 berth will be created along the right bank, together with space designated for living, for shops and for restaurants and bars. A new bridge for pedestrians and cyclists will connect this new part of town with Nieuwpoort-centre. To prevent the further silting of the harbour channel in Blankenberge, a new and higher dam would offer a solution. The execution thereof is planned for the second half of 2019. Curious to read more? Brochure Marinas along the Flemish Coast.

  • 23.08.18

    Feeling nostalgic? Take a stroll through the rich past of the Belgianc coast on

    You will find a precious collection of olf pictures, postcards, drawings and posters from Middelkerke, Oostende, De Haan and Blankenberge. Currently, the database contains about 73.000 images. The intention is to expand the database even more and your help is appreciated. You can do so by uploading interesting images, but also by helping out as a volunteer with tracking down, digitalising and describing the images. 

  • 22.08.18

    Planning a trip to the seaside in the coming days? Before you leave, do not forget to check the coastal weather forecast. That why you know immediately what to bring, your sunscreen or your umbrella. Our coast guard partner Coastal Division makes a special forecast for the coast and the sea. It is updated four times a day and split between the westcoast (De Panne to Oostende) and the eastcoast (Oostende to Knokke-Heist). You can also see webcam images of several coastal municipalities.

  • 20.08.18

    An afternoon at the beach? An ideal time to browse throug the summer sea newspaper!
    This is already the 11th year that the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and West-Flanders province keep you informed about a wide range of marine-related subjects. Find out more about walrusses, microplastics and drowned Ostend. The newspaper also features a shell identification chart so that you can learn all the names of the shell at your feet. 
    You can get the newspaper at the VLIZ offices or at the visitor centres and tourism offices along the Belgian coast. Sadly, it is only available in Dutch, but that's a good motivation to work on your language skills, no?

  • 01.08.18

    August 1st 2018, administrator-general Jacques D'havé from the agency for Maritime and Coastal services is retiring. Not only was he in charge of the four coast guard partners unified in the agency (Coastal Divison, Shipping Assistance Division, Pilotage and Fleet), he was also chairman of the Coast Guard's policy-making body. We want to take this opportunity to thank captain D'havé for the years of coopeation, his pragmatic handling and solution-oriented thinking, his continuous availability and for the crucial role he played in the creation of the Coast Guard structure. We wish him a well-earned retirement!

    Mr. D'havé is succeeded by Mrs. Nathalie Balcaen, who was up until now maritime and logistic advisor for the regional minister of Mobility and Public Works. The Coast Guard is not an unknown factor to her, since she used to work at our coast guard partner Coastal Division as the deputy head of Flemish Hydrography and director Coastal Development. 

  • 24.07.18

    On the west coast of Belgium, in De Panne and Nieuwpoort, there are more jellyfish than usual. Several people were stung and had to be treated by the lifeguards. The jellyfish now spotted on the west coast, is the so called 'compass jellyfish', the most common jellyfish in summer. It has a brown, compass-like pattern and long tentacles and is likely to cause severe skin irritation.

    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

  • 19.07.18

    Even in high summer, our coast guard partners keep busy, as proven by Coastal Division. One of their most crucial core tasks is the protection of the population against the forces of the sea, storms surge and flooding.
    Basic infrastructure in the coastal harbours of Nieuwpoort, Oostende, Blankenberge and Zeebrugge is also maintained by the division. 
    Did you know that you can find an overview of all ongoing projects on the Coastal Division website? There you can also admire all the completed works and see which ones are planned for the near furture.


  • 05.07.18

    Since 2016 our coastguard partner Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences (RBINS) has been using a so-called ‘sniffer’ sensor on board the Belgian Coastguard aircraft for the airborne monitoring of ship-source atmospheric pollution in the North Sea. With this innovative sensor ship emissions can be measured offshore and based on that the fuel sulphur content of ships can be calculated. This enables a more effective monitoring of ship emission standards and the identification of potential offenders.

    Our country is a real pioneer in this activity. We already co-operate with the Netherlands, and other North Sea countries are also considering following our example. This monitoring programme does not only arouse a lot of interest within the EU, our approach even attracted great attention in Canada and China! The international interest motivates the scientists of the Belgian aerial surveillance to continue to strive for a joint, strengthened enforcement of atmospheric pollution from ships.

  • 03.07.18

    On June 13th 2018, it was officially the first anniversary of BE-Alert. BE-Alert is an initiative of our coast guard partner Crisis centre of the Federal Public Service Interior. It is a system to help the Belgian municipalities and cities alert their citizens quickly during an emergency situation. The results after one year prove promising: 407 municipalities have joined, during 46 emergency situations BE-Alert was used to notify the citizens, and the national database counts already more than 330.000 registred addresses. The crisis centre still wishes to extend this system. That is why a big-scale alert test will be organized July 5th.