Using the Maritime & Coastguard Agency website

Q How is the Maritime and Coastguard Agency website structured?
A The Maritime and Coastguard Agency website has been restructed to move away from the internal structure of the MCA and more towards a customer based perspective.

  • Working at Sea - This area is for seafarers who make their living from working at sea, whether it is on massive tankers or small fishing vessels. Covering health and safety, certification, etc.
  • Leisure and the Seaside - This area is for the general public who use our extensive coastline and surrounding oceans for leisure and sport, whether its a trip to the seaside with children or water based activities like surfing, sailing, etc.
  • Ships and Cargoes - This area is about the vessels that sail the seas whether it's ferries, crusie liners, yachts, fishing vessels, etc. Covering safety legislation, cargoes, surveys, etc.
  • Emergency Response - This area gives information about the Martime and Coastguard Agency's reactive services in times of emergency included rescues, pollution control and also Reciever fo Wreck./
  • News and Publications - Here you will find our press releases, PR, events, prosecutions and detentions.
  • About Us - This area is about the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as Government body, here you will find contact details, locations of MCA buildings, careers in the MCA, our staffing policies, freedom of information, data protection, coastguard history, etc.

Q How can I move to a different area of the site?
A The blue rollover buttons at the top of the screen below the main banner are links to the main areas of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency website. When rolling over these links they will expand to list the links to pages with in those sections, after this all links are within the pages of content. Alternatively, click on the 'bread-crumb-trail' near the top of the page. This changes to show the area and page of the site that you are currently using.

Please note the rollover navigation requires Javascript to be enabled on your browser, if it is not enabled then alternative links will appear instead over the background images

Q How do I know which area of the site I am using?
A At the top of the screen, Just below the main banner there is a 'bread-crumb trail' that shows which part of the site you are in. For example: You are here: Home > Working at Sea > Training and Certification

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Still need further help?

Q I cannot find the answer to my question.
A If you are still having problems or have a question that you want to ask, visit the Contact us page to send us your query by email.

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Q Which browsers can I use to access the Maritime & Coastguard Agency web site?
A For the best results when using the Maritime & Coastguard Agency web site the following minimum browser and operating system combinations are recommended:

  • For Windows PC:
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 and above
    • Firefox 1 and above
    • Netscape Navigator 6.2.2 and above
    • Opera 6.01 and above
    • Safari
    • Mozilla 1.5 and above
  • For Macintosh:
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 and above
    • Netscape Navigator 6.2.2 and above
    • Safari
  • For Linux:
    • Firefox 1 and above

Q What if I don’t have one of the recommended browsers?
A This website has been designed to support as wide a variety of browser and operating system combinations as possible. Browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox or those from other suppliers will allow the user to access the site and use the pages but might not display the site as designed, nor provide the user with the best experience of using the website. Most browser suppliers will allow you to upgrade for free, either because they don’t charge for their browser or because you have bought a previous version. To upgrade your browser go to the supplier's web site and follow the instructions provided.

Q Why doesn’t my browser display the Maritime & Coastguard Agency web site properly?
A In order to support as wide a range of browsers as possible and allow users of all abilities (including those with a visual impairment or physical disability) to access the Maritime & Coastguard Agency web site, the site has been developed according to recognised standards set down by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). One of these standards is for the use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS2) so that the site supports any browser that in turn supports this standard. Some browsers, particularly earlier versions, either do not, or only partially support, this standard. These browsers might not display the Maritime & Coastguard Agency web site text and graphics properly.

Q Which screen resolution should I use for displaying the  Maritime & Coastguard Agency web site?
A The recommended minimum display settings for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency web pages are 800x600 and 16-bit colour (65,356 colours or thousands of colours depending on your operating system). For information on adjusting the display resolution try the help files of your operating system or consult the manufacturer's website.

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External sites

Q I am trying to access an external website but keep receiving error messages.
A We cannot guarantee the operation of other organisations' websites. There are many reasons why such a website might be unavailable, from server-side problems like addressing and scripting, to browser issues. If, however, you continue to have problems linking to a site from Maritime & Coastguard Agency web site please contact us.

Q How quick is access to external websites from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency web site?
A This depends on the transmission speed of your modem. A minimum transmission speed of 28.8KBps is recommended. A 14.4KBps modem will work although your connection will be slower.

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PDF files and Adobe Acrobat

Q What is Acrobat Reader?
A Some webpages are not written in HTML but in a special format called Portable Data Format (PDF). Browsers cannot display PDF documents so you will need a plug-in program called Adobe Acrobat Reader. This program lets you magnify and find screen text. It is freely available from the Adobe website. The Adobe Acrobat Reader download is also commonly available on CD-ROMs and is often preloaded on computers.

Download Abode Acrobat Reader

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Q What is a plug-in?
A A plug-in is a program that enables a browser to access multimedia zones on the web. Some plug-ins are needed to access the Maritime & Coastguard Agency web site, although some might be needed for accessing audio, video or special file formats on websites to which we link. Some external websites may offer you a download of the plug-in needed to view the site. Where this is the case you should receive clear instructions on screen. Be aware there may be legal and system requirements you need to satisfy.

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Information for new internet users

Q As a beginner, where can I get information about the internet?
A The Maritime & Coastguard Agency web site does not provide basic information about computers, networks and the internet. However, if you are new to this subject a good place to start is the UK Online Centres site. These have been set up to help everyone in the UK who wants to learn how to access to the internet.

Q What is a cookie?
A Many websites use cookies to "remember" information about you. A cookie is a file sent by the server to your computer. It makes it more convenient for you by allowing you to visit pages within a site without having to reintroduce yourself with each mouse click.

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