Friday, 18 January 2019

Chapmans Pool

Swanage joined forces with our colleagues from St Albans and Kimmeridge Coastguard today to effect the rescue of a walker who slipped on the Coast Path and broke a leg. 

The casualty was injured in the valley to the West of Chapmans Pool, and although we were able to walk the SW Ambulance paramedics in easily enough, a stretcher carry-out was always going to be difficult, painful for the casualty and not without risk.  On that basis, the Coastguard helicopter attended and airlifted the lady to hospital.

Despite calling on the helicopter, the teams still set up for a cliff rescue; it's always good to have a Plan B, just in case the helicopter can't perform the rescue or gets called away elsewhere. 

Fortunately, all went well and Plan B wasn't required today and we wish the lady a speedy recovery. 

Monday, 14 January 2019

Night Shift

The team's first training session of the New Year saw a full rope set up under floodlights on the land adjacent to our station.

Now you may be thinking "but there are no cliffs there!", and you'd be right.  However this gives us the chance to do a dry run - a full set up - but without having to worry about being close to the cliff edge. Neither do we need to venture far from base, and so we can use maximum time for training rather than travelling.

Before we started, we sent out an advance party to 'mine sweep' the area; dogs are frequently allowed on this grassy area at the edge of the car park, and quite why anyone can't be bothered to pick up after them is beyond me.  The last thing we want to do is to contaminate our ropes and equipment and risk having to write it off, not to mention the health risks to the volunteers on the team.  Six targets were successfully identified and removed before the area was given the all clear.

We practised a number of methods of hauling the casualty back up the cliff - both mechanical in the form of a petrol winch and manual in the form of 3:1 and 5:1 gearing systems which are created by the use of a rope fed backwards and forwards through pulleys a few times.  Reminds me of my 'O' Level Physics - I knew there was a reason we did that!
Who remembers this from school then....?

Everybody took turns at operating the line controllers which we use to feed out the main and safety lines when lowering the cliff technician over the edge, and when we were finally all done we walked back to the station for tea and a warm up.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Slip watch 2019

The team are aware of a recent slip in the northern end of the bay.

The area will be monitored for further movement along with areas up towards Sheps Hollow.

In an emergency please dial 999 and ask for Coastguard

Friday, 4 January 2019


The team was tasked to assist SW Ambulance at Kimmeridge today with the carry out of a lady who'd slipped and broken her ankle.

Kimmeridge Coastguard Team was initially tasked along with St Albans, but there weren't enough volunteers from the two teams and so Swanage was also tasked to add manpower.

The carry out itself was along a slippy and stony part of the beach and then up some steps to the ambulance and it was difficult in places which is why the control room tasked three teams.

We are limited to 12 volunteers on a team and it's on days like this we wish we had more. Of our team, three were at work and couldn't get away, one was away sailing, one on holiday and one has returned to University.  The other 6 were either free in Swanage or were able to leave work for a while.  Fortunately our school teacher hadn't started back yet after Christmas so he was one of the 6 who were able to respond.

Once the lady was safely and securely in the ambulance, all CG units returned to their respective stations.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Cliff Rescue at Anvil Point

Following a minor incident on Tuesday,  the team was tasked for its first rope rescue incident of the New Year today.

A young female climber was taken ill part way down the cliff in the Subluminal area and wasn't able to climb out. Her partner called the Emergency Services and the team attended alongside our colleagues from St Albans.

Although the rescue would have been a fairly straightforward rope recovery for the team, straight out of the Coastguard text book and exactly the scenario we train for, the Rescue Helicopter from Lee on Solent also attended and in the event its winchman/paramedic winched the lady up and delivered her safely to the waiting teams at the top and from there to a waiting ambulance.

Rescue 175 lowers its winchman whilst the rope rescue technician stands by.

With a rope system in place, the teams deployed a rope rescue technician anyway to help make sure the couple's gear had been removed from the climb and thus preventing any false alarm calls from people potentially finding the equipment.

Rescue 175 lands near the lighthouse to offload the casualty

Monday, 31 December 2018

Sun setting on 2018

So as the sun sets on 2018 pause for a moment to say thank you.

Currently the year has been the 2nd busiest year in our history, with some of the incidents lasting several days.

A massive thank you to the team members and their families for their commitment throughout the year.

Thank you to our colleagues both locally and in the National Maritime Operations Centre.

Our colleagues in the other emergency services , RNLI and National Coastwatch.

Finally a mention to our community who without their support in good and bad times we can’t do without.

We continue as a group of volunteers to train , patrol and respond to emergencies.
Bye bye 2018 and welcome 2019

Friday, 28 December 2018

2018 - Looking Back - December

Training continued in the form of the Christmas Quiz - a light hearted way of reviewing the year's learning and checking what we know, as well as a few random questions and mystery photos!

Quiz Champions!

Seven incidents (so far) in December, the highest profile of which was a rather large piece of ordnance found on the beach in Studland and promptly disposed of by the Navy EOD team.
We were also tasked to a search last night (Thursday 27 December) which also involved St Albans Coastguard, Police and the NPAS police helicopter, possibly our last incident of 2018?

Search HQ

With three days to go, we stand at 151 incidents for the year, which represents our second busiest year ever, and our busiest since 2010.

That brings to an end our review of the Coastguard Year, and we hope it has been of interest.  We are on call 24/7, and if you'd like to follow us we have both a Facebook Page "Swanage Coastguard" and our blog which are both regularly updated - Click on the banner at the top to get the link.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

2018 - Looking Back - November

The high tides and strong winds returned to flood the lower High Street in November, we had a call out on Remembrance Day morning and the team was proud to join the town's Parade later in the day.

We had logged 144 jobs by the end of the month.

Monday, 24 December 2018

2018 - Looking Back - October

October saw 12 taskings which was higher than normal, and there were some fairly lengthy incidents amongst them, including a broken leg at Dancing Ledge, a mini-stroke at Emmets Hill and some overdue climbers at Durlston who'd been stranded overnight. 
Sadly there were two lives lost during the month, one was a kayaker who failed to return from a race between Studland and Swanage and was found drifting 22 miles to the South the following day after an extensive sea and coastal search. The second was a young male who was recovered from the rocks at the base of the cliffs at Cattle Troughs.  Thoughts are with both sets of families.

We did some joint training with the Technical Rescue Team from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue and worked together to recover a dummy casualty from over the cliff........

......before posing for the obligatory team photo!

A windy day near Chapmans Pool saw us dealing with a walker taken ill.  Two Coastguard Rescue Vehicles and a Helicopter in the shot.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

2018 - Looking Back - September

September stayed quieter than normal with 10 incidents, predominantly searches, bringing the running total to 123.

We resumed our training with some rope rescue work under floodlights and with support from the local neighbourhood police team.

Back at the station, the SO learned to multitask!