Background to MF&RS Marine Rescue Unit
The Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MF&RS) Marine Rescue Unit maintains a
continuous 24 hours a day, 365 days a year service, providing a rapid
and effective rescue provision for all river users. MF&RS Marine Rescue Unit
has an operational area that includes 60 miles of coastline.
In 2006, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority agreed to invest in a new and improved rescue
craft that would better equip rescue crews for the demands placed upon them in the
unique environment of the Mersey Estuary, and provide a much-improved level of protection
for the community. They appointed Liverpool boat manufacturers Marine Specialised
Technology (MST) to construct a vessel that was fit for purpose.
The boat, the MST Rescue 1000, was brought into service in 2008. Capable of speeds
in excess of 40 knots, it is 10.5 meters in length and powered by twin
370 hp diesel engines. The boat is kept permanently on the water and is continually
This provision, combined with the boat's exceptional capabilities means that
most casualties are recovered from the water within three minutes of the boat
being called out. It is this rapid and skilled response that invariably makes a
life or death difference.
Since its first year of operation in 1984, the Service has attended over 4,500 incidents and has assisted nearly 3,500 people. Additionally, the Service has gone to the assistance of more than 2,000 vessels
found to be in difficulty or distress. Many of the crew are in receipt of multiple Resuscitation
Awards from the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society.
As part of its commitment to make the River Mersey a safer place, MF&RS is at the front line in terms of developing new rescue techniques and
equipment. This philosophy has, in recent years, seen the introduction of equipment like the Pathfinder Rescue Sled and also the Slide Raft, a 60 man, towable rescue raft. The Marine Rescue Unit was the first Rescue Service in the world to use the raft on fast-flowing tidal waters.
Boat crews are trained as Rescue Swimmers and are able to
utilise a range of rescue equipment including rope systems.
Approximately two million people live within five miles of the River Mersey's shoreline. The river has been an important artery for seaborne traffic for many centuries. Its banks are heavily industrialised but, despite this, the estuary is of international importance for its wildlife.
The Marine Rescue Unit is committed to the core values of Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, which are to make a positive difference to the community, respect the environment and provide an excellent operational response.