Monday, 25 January 2021

Adapting to new ways of working


Like everyone else these days , some training and meetings have gone on line for the time being to keep us safe.  

These are unusual times and we all need to adapt to doing things a little different. 

Stay safe and in an emergency dial 999 Coastguard 

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Help us to stay safe.

 As the days roll into weeks, we just wish to remind everyone to stay safe at the coast. 

Paths and the ground are slippery after the rain so ensure you have the correct foot ware on. 

The teams remind on standby for emergencies so help us by following the guidelines and advice. 

In an emergency 999 Coastguard. 

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Duncan is our Coastguard of the Year!

The team held its annual review of the year last night, and like so many things these days, it was done over Zoom rather than over a supper along with families and partners.

An important part of that evening is the award of the Coastguard of the Year.

This is to the team member who has gone the extra mile throughout the year, the one who is an ever-present at training, who makes themselves available when we needed, who keeps working at their own skills behind the scenes to keep operationally ready, who contributes to team discussions and looks out for the welfare of others.

2020 was certainly a difficult year with Covid and all that that brought - home working for many, lockdowns, a period when we had very few callouts and no training followed by our busiest summer on record and an Autumn/Winter period with some intensive training requirements as we worked to catch up.

The ever present throughout that period, and the person who is our 2020 Coastguard of the Year is 'Swanage 07', better known as Duncan Hobbs.   Well done Duncan!

Sunday, 17 January 2021

The year we won’t talk about

Sunrise 1 January 2021

 So normally we would have given a detailed update on the incidents of the previous year but feel we will keep it brief. 

It was a very different year for us all and was the teams busiest year to date with over 200 incidents.  That included 57 maritime incidents involving vessels , 44 medical incidents and 18 searches for lost people. 

We all hope that 2021 will be brighter for us after the next month passes.  It’s important we all remain safe and follow the guidance to protect the front line services. 

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Website gets a facelift


It’s been on line since 2004 and along with the blog and Facebook it’s been one way to tell you what we get up to in Swanage. 

Well thanks to our colleague Dave, the site has been refreshed and given a fresh look for 2021. 

So pay a visit and keep up to date with our incidents. 

Swanage Coastguard

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Shore line Search


The team were called on Tuesday evening to assist the Police in searching the shoreline for a male who may have entered the water. 

Joined by colleagues from St Albans Coastguard and the inshore lifeboat from Swanage , teams searched the shoreline before the male was located in the town by the Police. 

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Team called to climbers


The Swanage team backed up by colleagues from St Albans Coastguard and Swanage Lifeboat were tasked just before 5pm to a report of  climbers in distress. 

The report gave the position between Anvil Point and Dancing Ledge so on arrival the team carried out a search along the coastal path. 

Shortly after arriving information was received from the deputy station officer that the climbers were ok and safe.  It was a false alarm with good intent with both climbers getting to the top safely. 

We would rather be called to check than someone be in serious trouble. During these difficult times we would like to confirm the situation regarding climbing. 

Help us to stay safe by following this national advice

BMC Advice

Climbing and walking appears to be acceptable as a form of exercise under current guidance, but only if it can be done within your local area (now better defined, see below). However, it is worth stressing once again the immense pressure the NHS is currently under and highlighting the need for everyone to dial back their aspirations to objectives well within their abilities.

Whilst the new national lockdown will be disappointing news for all, it is hoped that the new guidance together with the rapid roll out of the vaccination programme will allow restrictions to be lifted again in due course once case numbers start to

UK Climbing guidance 


Following the government's announcement of a national lockdown in England, updated guidance has been released on what is acceptable in terms of exercise.

Exercise is permitted once per day, either with your household or bubble, or with one other person.

The guidance for lockdown activities is slightly clearer cut than last year's lockdown where 'local' was never really defined. This time your local area has been clarified as 'the village, town, or part of the city where you live.' This will be disappointing news for some, but good for those who have crags on their doorstep.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Red flare sparks search


Solent Coastguard tasked the team this afternoon just after 2pm after receiving a report of a red flare off Old Harry. 

The Swanage team deployed to key locations from Swanage to Studland checking the area for someone in distress , this included  Old Harry, Peveril Point, Swanage Bay, Knoll beach and the Chain Ferry. 

With vessels and NCI also checking the area a report of two kayakers in the area was checked but these were confirmed entering the harbour entrance safely. With nothing further located and no further information the team were returned to station to clean and sanitise the equipment. 

Sunday, 3 January 2021

Thirty Years of Service - Ian Brown BEM

In our final update of 2020, we brought you the news that our Station Officer Ian Brown has been awarded the British Empire Medal in Her Majesty the Queen's New Year's Honours List.  In this, our first blog of the New Year, we look back at Ian's thirty years as part of Swanage Coastguard.

Ian Brown BEM, Station Officer, Swanage CRT

Ian joined the Swanage Coastguard team on 07 October 1990 and a week later participated in his first cliff rescue on the 14 October 1990.

Coastguarding was rather different then; the team was summoned by maroons, watches were kept on the surrounding sea area from the lookout on Peveril Point with the team based at the Coastguard Rescue Equipment Store nearby. Lifeboats, with a few exceptions, moved at 8 knots; RN Wessex Helicopters (max speed 115knots) provided airborne search and rescue.

Ian became Deputy Station Officer in February 1998 on the retirement of Ian Surface BEM and Station Officer in July 2002 on the retirement of Dave Gough.

Change over the last 30 years has been rapid and unrelenting which Ian has embraced, supported, and led the way.

Ian has qualified as Rope Technician, Water Rescue Technician, Search Technician and Coastguard First Aid Trainer. He is also an experienced, qualified, and well-respected Officer in Charge.

Swanage in the 1990s was very much a cliff rescue team, with rescuing of climbers in locations such as Anvil Point, Boulder Ruckle, Cattle Troughs very much to the fore. Ian took part in a number of these as the Cliffman on the end of the rope.

The team also assisted in the search for missing divers from the cliff top especially in the vicinity of Anvil Point. Ian was especially proactive in building relationships with the various groups of divers with the result that education and prevention are an effective way forward.

The trend has been for cliff rescues to be less frequent, with more complex multi-agency undertakings often in adverse conditions.  Ian has proved to be a capable leader and co-ordinator in several high-profile rescues.

Search has become increasingly the dominant field of activity of the Swanage Coastguard Team with Ian being a proponent of current theory, practice and recording.  As a result, the team has a reputation for effectiveness and efficiency.  The team has faced a number of multi-day searches led and supported by Ian in difficult conditions, sustaining long searches, maintaining morale and protracted, effective effort.

Outside of Coastguarding, Ian is key member of the Swanage Community Defibrillator Partnership which oversees 35 public access defibs across the Purbeck area.  Ian’s involvement was initially driven by the death of Mike “Spike” Williamson, a much respected and long serving member of the Swanage Team.

Coastguarding today involves a high degree of accountability and the co-ordination of complex multi-agency rescues. One recently involved; Poole Lifeboat, Coastguard Helicopter, Air Ambulance, Paramedics, an ambulance, National Trust and the Swanage Coastguard Team. Ian excels in this environment.

Technology has improved: the team is now summoned by an alerting and tasking app; team members are equipped with individual vhf radio; clothing and equipment is ever improving. The human element and leadership remain ever important. Our fellow rescuers are also better equipped with a Shannon Lifeboat capable of 27 knots and the Coastguard Helicopter (AW189) with speeds up to 169 knots.

Two thousand and twenty brought with it the complications of Covid-19 to Search and Rescue. Ian once again bought a calm voice of reason to a stressful, ever-changing environment, in a busy year which has seen 206 incidents.

Ian was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to voluntary rescue in the 2021 New Year Honours List, having been previously awarded the Coastguard Auxiliary Service Long Service Medal and clasp for 30 years’ service (which has included around 1700 incidents), and a Chief Coastguard’s Commendation. 

Congratulations to Ian on this award, recognising his leadership and dedication.