Maritime Gendarmerie
Gendarmerie maritime
Agency overview
Formed1832 – present[1][2]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionFrance
General nature
Specialist jurisdiction
  • Coastal patrol, marine border protection, marine search and rescue.
Operational structure
Parent agencyNational Gendarmerie

The Maritime Gendarmerie (French: Gendarmerie maritime) is a component of the French National Gendarmerie under operational control of the chief of staff of the French Navy. It employs 1,157 personnel and operates around thirty patrol boats and high-speed motorboats distributed on the littoral waterways of France.[3] Like their land-based colleagues the Gendarmes Maritime are military personnel carry out policing operations in addition to their primary role as a coast guard service. They also carry out provost duties within the French Navy.

The uniforms and insignia of the Gendarmerie Maritime are very similar to those of the French Navy, but the ranks used are those of the rest of the Gendarmerie (which are the same as the traditional ranks of the French Cavalry).


The mission of the Maritime Gendarmerie is as follows:[4]


The Maritime Gendarmerie is commanded by a colonel who is assisted by a staff located in Paris. The coastguard is articulated in 3 groupings, 7 companies and 64 units (brigades of research, brigades of monitoring of the littoral, group of safety of the protected zones, group of monitoring of intervention and reinforcement, patrol craft, coastal high-speed motorboats of maritime surveillance) whose geographical distribution is as follows:[3]


Commissioned officers are recruited from holders of a master's degree; non-commissioned officers from holders of a high school diploma giving access to university studies; auxiliary gendarmes are recruited without any specific educational prerequisite. Members of the maritime gendarmerie are recruited among officers, nco's and auxiliary gendarmes with a few years of general gendarmerie service. Certificate of competency for sea or inland water navigation and training in scuba diving is a merit for those who wants to join. Within the maritime gendarmerie there exists further specializations such as coxswain, mechanic, diver, underwater investigation technician, maritime and port security operative and watch-keeping officer.[8] [9] [10]

Rank insignia
Rank Lieutenant Capitaine Chef d'Escadron Lieutenant-colonel Colonel Général de brigade
Non-commissioned officers
Rank insignia
Rank Gendarme Maréchal des logis Chef Adjudant Adjudant-chef Major
Auxiliary gendarmes
Rank insignia
Rank Gendarme Adjoint de 2e classe Gendarme Adjoint de 1er classe Brigadier Brigadier-chef Maréchal des logis

Patrol boats

Class Picture Type Boat Displacement Note
Maroni class Patrol boat P692 Maroni
P693 Oyapock
P694 Aber Ildut
72.5 tonnes Based in English Channel/North Sea region: Cherbourg, Dunkirk and Boulogne-sur-Mer[11]
Patrol boat P719 Armoise 76 tonnes Former Directorate for Maritime Affairs vessel based in Cherbourg pending arrival of PCG-NG boats starting late 2024[12][13]
PCG-NG class Patrol boat 350 tonnes Six vessels planned for delivery from late 2024;[14] Initially to replace Armoise as well as Géranium and Jonquille classes[15]
Géranium class Patrol boat P720 Géranium
P722 Violette
100 tonnes P720 based in Lorient;[16] P722 in Guadeloupe[17]
Jonquille class Patrol boat P721 Jonquille
P723 Jasmin
98 tonnes P721 based in Toulon;[18] P723 in Papeete[19]
Elorn class Patrol boat P601 Elorn
P602 Verdon
P603 Adour
P604 Scarpe
P605 Vertonne
P606 Dumbéa
P607 Yser
P608 Argens
P609 Hérault
P610 Gravona
P611 Odet
P612 Maury
P613 Charente
P614 Tech
P615 Penfeld
P616 Trieux
P617 Vésubie
P618 Escaut
P619 Huveaune
P620 Sèvre
P621 Aber Wrac'h
P622 Esteron
P623 Mahury
P624 Organabo
41 tonnes As of 2023: 11 units reported based in the Atlantic/English Channel/North Sea region; 7 in the Mediterranean; 2 in French Guiana; 2 in Mayotte; 1 in New Caledonia (1 - P623 - reported unserviceable as of late 2022)[20][21][22]
Pétulante class Patrol boat A789 Melia 16 tonnes Based at the National Instruction Centre of the Maritime Gendarmerie in Toulon[23]
Pavois class Patrol boat P692 Pavois
P693 Ecu
P964 Rondache
P695 Harnois
P696 Haubert
P697 Heaume
P698 Brigantine
P699 Gantelet
10.2 tonnes All boats in service since 2011; reported based in: Le Havre (2 units), Port de Bouc (2 units), Marseilles, Cherbourg, Brest and Toulon[24]

See also


  1. ^ "La gendarmerie maritime". Net-Marine (in French). Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  2. ^ Le lieutenant-colonel Ebel. "La gendarmerie de la restauration au second empire". La société nationale de l’histoire et du patrimoine de la gendarmerie - société des amis du musée de la gendarmerie (in French). Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  3. ^ a b "La gendarmerie maritime". Ministry of Defense. 2021-03-16. Retrieved 2021-12-21.
  4. ^ "La gendarmerie maritime" (in French). Ministry of Interior. Retrieved 2021-12-21.
  5. ^ "Un nouveau commandant pour le "La Violette", un navire indispensable à la lutte contre la drogue en Guadeloupe".
  6. ^ "La Réunion : La base navale vue du ciel | Mer et Marine". 19 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Marine Nationale Dossier d'Information, pp. 19 and 23" (PDF). Cols Bleus (in French). January 2023. Retrieved 2023-03-04.
  8. ^ "Gendarme en unité nautique et maritime." La gendarmerie recrute. Retrieved March 26, 2023.
  9. ^ "La gendarmerie maritime : gendarmerie spécialisée entre terre et mer." Gendinfo. Retrieved March 26, 2023.
  10. ^ "Pelotons de sûreté maritime et portuaire : intervention renforcée." Retrieved March 26, 2023.
  11. ^ "The French Navy receives the first two new generation maritime surveillance coastal patrol boats". 28 April 2022.
  12. ^ "Défense. Cherbourg : après 40 ans de services, ces deux patrouilleurs quittent la base navale; La Presse de la Manche". 10 December 2022.
  13. ^ Groizeleau, Vincent (24 February 2023). "Gendarmerie maritime : le patrouilleur Armoise rejoint enfin Cherbourg; Mer et Marine".
  14. ^ "Le premier des six nouveaux patrouilleurs côtiers de la Gendarmerie maritime officiellement commandé".
  15. ^ "Six nouveaux patrouilleurs côtiers pour la Gendarmerie maritime".
  16. ^ Jaouen, Catherine (20 September 2021). "Lorient. Un nouveau pacha pour le patrouilleur Géranium". ouestfrance (in French). Retrieved 2023-03-04.
  17. ^ "La "Violette" des Forces Armées aux Antilles à la Renconte de Guirec Soudée". Le Journal de Saint-Barth (in French). 3 May 2021. Retrieved 2023-03-04.
  18. ^ "Zoom sur une petite « marée » de la Jonquille". Les Amis de la Gendarmerie (in French). 18 August 2021. Retrieved 2023-03-04.
  19. ^ "Le Jasmin sera remplacé en 2024". Direction Polynésienne des Affaires Maritimes (in French). 12 June 2019. Retrieved 2023-03-04.
  20. ^ "Marine Nationale Dossier d'Information, pp. 19 and 23" (PDF). Cols Bleus (in French). January 2023. Retrieved 2023-03-04.
  21. ^ Groizeleau, Vincent (5 December 2022). "Le Marfret Niolon emmène une vedette de la Gendarmerie maritime en Guyane". Mer et Marine (in French). Retrieved 6 December 2022.
  22. ^ "La gendarmerie maritime monte à bord de nouvelles vedettes". Ministère de l'Intéreiur et des outre-mer (in French). 5 May 2022. Retrieved 5 March 2023.
  23. ^ Groizeleau, Vincent (28 January 2021). "Gendarmerie maritime : la vedette Melia en cours de réparation; Mer et Marine".
  24. ^ "Les vedettes de surveillance maritime et portuaire (VSMP)".