The coast guard keeps an eye on the sea

Coast guard


  • 16.09.16

    Annually, the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) awards the North Sea Award to a researcher or a research group to encourage their innovative fundamental or applied research dedicated to the studying the structure or functioning of our world's oceans. Applications are welcome until 30 November 2016.

    More information:

  • 13.09.16

    The past edition of the Safe Shipping Days showed that 35 of 197 inspected pleasure craft were not in order. The Safe Shipping Days, an initiative of West-Flanders governor Carl Decaluwé, are a well-established tradition by now: this was already the fourth time that our coast guard partners Waterway and River Police and Federal Public Service (FPS) Mobility worked together to carry out intensified inspections in Zeebrugge, Nieuwpoort, Oostende and Blankenberge during a ten-day period. The infractions concerned mainly the lack of the necessary registration documents. None of the infractions had an impact on the seaworthiness and no alcohol infraction was establised. 

  • 13.09.16

    Secretary of state for the North Sea Philippe De Backer is working on a plan to reduce plastic waste in the North Sea. No less than 20.000 tonnes of waste is dumped in the North Sea annually. 

    The secretary of state wants to work together with all North Sea users to develop 'blue deals' so as to reduce the mountain of plastic waste. He also plans sensitization actions and the restart of the project Fishing for Litter. Fishermen receive big bags to fill with plastic waste that they dredge up out of sea and bring to shore.

  • 13.09.16

    This summer 1703 lost children at the beach were safely returned to their parents or supervisors, thanks to the lifeguards and a number of our coast guard partners that offer assistance therein (MRCC, ministry of Defence,..). In July, 714 children were lost and in August 989 children. 

    The free wristbands distributed by IKWV ((Intercommunal for Coastal Lifeguard Services in West-Flanders) ensured that most children were quickly reunited with their parents/supervisors. You can get the free wristbands at tourism offices, first aid posts or newspaper shops along the coast.

  • 29.08.16
    Overleg staatssecretaris De Backer

    Friday August 26th ,the coast guard secretariat, the governor of West-Flanders and a number of his advisors had a meeting with secretary for the North Sea Philippe De Backer. A broad range of topics was discussed during the briefing: Coast Guard Centre, Royal Decree Watersports,  dat aan bod kwam: Kustwachtcentrale, Koninklijk Besluit Brandingssporten, contingency plan for the North Sea, underwater heritage, Marine Spatial Planning,...A

  • 29.08.16

    Wednesday August 24th, the governor of West-Flanders presided a meeting of the steering group Coast Guard Centre. Also present were representatives of our coast guard partners the ministry of Defence, Customs, Waterway and River police, Federal Public Service (FPS) Mobility and Transport, the crisis centre of FPS Interior, the agency for Maritime Services and Coast and the coast guard secretariat. The firm Antea presented an interim report about the different options for integration. Another topic of discussion was the possibility to participate to a future call for proposals in the fall. This project was made possible with the support of the Internal Security Fund (ISF)-Police fund, managed by FPS Interior. 

  • 25.08.16

    The cross-border nature park het Zwin (in Knokke-Heist and Sluis) is in the process of a huge transformation. The extensive works took off on March 15th. The surface of het Zwin will increase with no less than 120 hectares . The Zwin trench will be made deeper and bigger to limit the silting up. A new embankment will also be constructed to procect the park against storm sturges out of sea. Our coast guard partner Coastal Division is in charge of the coordination. The works will be finished in 2019. 

    Curious as to what has already been done? You can discover it on Sunday August 28th (10am) on a guided tour. Click here for more information on the tour.


  • 23.08.16

    From the age of 16, you can take a course at WOBRA (West-Vlaams Opleidingscentrum voor Brandweer-, Reddings-, en Ambulancediensten) in Oostende, Brugge, Kortrijk or Koksijde. The lessons take place from September to March, cost about 175 euros and include 25 hours practice and 18 hours theory (43 hours in total). The exam consists of three parts: theory, swimming practice, reanimation and first aid and finally a sea swimming test. If you pass all three parts, you get the certificate 'lifeguard at sea' which is valid for three years. -

  • 19.08.16

    Our coast guard partner Fleet is looking to hire a cook on board its vessels in the area Ostend/coast. Apply before August 31st.
    More information:

  • 18.08.16

    A warm and sunny day? Lots of people and atmosphere along the coast. What's not to like? All the cigarette stubs left behind on the beach, that's what. It can take up to 12 years to break down a cigarette stub and because they contain non-biodegradable plastic, they can never be completely 'digested'. Not very pleasant for other beachgoers, and also harmful to birds and fish. 

    That is why the province of West-Flanders, together with Westtoer and Eneco Beach Clean Cup started with the distribution of free beach ashtrays in all coastal municipalities. You can get them in surfclubs, beach bars, lifeguard posts and the tourism offices. 

    They are made of carboard and can contain 10 cigarette stubs. After usage, they can be thrown in the bin. No more excuses to leave your cigarettes behind on the beach!