The MCA is urging boat owners to take a selfie before setting off to act as an official record of who was on board and what they were wearing

For some it’s a zeitgeist trend spawned by social media, but for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency the selfie is a useful habit for boat owners to adopt.

The MCA is urging boat owners to take a photo of themselves and all of their crew before setting off as part of its Safety Snapshot campaign.

The thinking behind this is that if anyone goes missing or falls overboard, then there is a record of who was on board and what they were wearing.

Last year during the peak boating months of May to August, 40 searches for missing people were carried out in Norfolk and Suffolk alone.

Peter Byatt, station officer with the Lowestoft and Southwold Coastguard Rescue Teams, emphasised the safety value of taking a selfie:

“It’s something most of us like to do when enjoying a day out at the coast, but taking a photograph may also help us find one of your group if they go missing.

“It’s a useful tool that we can use to help in our search as we would have key information, such as what the person looked like and what they were last known to be wearing.”

And while mobile phones can be useful for many things in an emergency, the MCA was keen to remind people that their first instinct should be to dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.