Wednesday, 31 December 2008

..and the winner is?

And here are Deputy Blog’s top three photos of the year…….

At number three we have Austen at Swanage Carnival; this photo never fails to make me laugh. The reason? .Well Austen didn’t know he was being photographed! No seriously he didn’t. Lord knows what he’s doing?

At number two, the rescue at Chapman’s Pool. The Swanage Team were called to back up the St Alban's Coastguard Team, after a chap and his dog drove over the cliff. (Both were ok in the end). It was a beautiful Sunday morning and we turned up to find the helicopter below us, allowing this photo.

And number one….the Coastguard / RNLI / Swanage Sea Rowing Club ‘Joint Rescue’ in the summer. The photo was snatched at arms length behind the photographer's back, without even looking at the viewfinder. It shows the Rowing Club Gig ‘Old Harry’ in the background and was a great example of how this community pull together- what we do best.

Happy New Year all.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Review of the year part 2

24th May, saw one of the luckiest persons we have come across, whilst standing on top of the cliff at Old Harry, he slipped and fell down about 60ft. Rescue 106 lifted him to safety.

15th June , saw us working with St Albans and Kimmeridge teams when a car drove over the cliff, the male was found him the next morning and airlifted him to hospital

30th June, the team were tasked to Ballard and a male who had fallen down part of the cliff. This was the 1st time we got close to the helicopter! (real close).

29th July, some of the team were in action with the helicopter again!, two people airlifted to hospital after nearly drowning at Studland. The helicopter landed in the garden of one of the houses in Studland, then after the team members had tea on the lawn with the owners of the house!

31st July, propably the most unusual incident of the year that the team were tasked to, the 150 Bournemouth to Swanage open top Bus is hit by a car on the ferry road and tips over, fearing the worse every emergency services availble were sent, to find several people thrown from the top of the bus. Thankfully the people fell onto gorse and heath, so only cuts and bruises.
The team were all sent a letter of thanks from the Ambulance Service for their attendance.
Thankfully after July it calmed down abit, maybe the weather had an effect on the incidents, until the 19th September when the IRT had 3 incidents in the space of 2 hours. Then on the 18th October, the IRT were tasked to the Pier to meet a dive boat which had a diver with mask squeeze on board! (Sorry no photo, but it must have hurt at the time)
So as 2008 draws to a close we stand at 118 incidents, down on last year by 4 incidents.
A challenging but awarding year, thank you to the team, their families, our supporters, Swanage Lifeboat Crews, Dorset Police, South Western Ambulance, Dorset Fire & Rescue (Swanage) and everyone that has helped in one way or another this year.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Review of the year part one

Its been an interesting year for us, here's just a few of our incidents that we have dealt with during the year.

On the 20th January we had a visitor, a dolphin!
A large crowd turned up whilst a member of the public helped it back out to sea.

The 27th January saw a tragic incident at Anvil Point, A climber fell, friends went in to help him. He was airlifted to hospital along with one of his friends where sadly he passed away.
As we were dealing with that incidents a female fell 100 metres away leaving her daughter on the top of the cliff, sadly she died also.

The 27th January was a very long day for the team and probably one of the saddest.

6th April, Dorset Police requested assistance in searching for two walkers missing on a heath at Studland, the IRT drove in and around locating them and taking them back to their B&B in Harmans Cross.

22 March saw this item discovered on Studland Beach. Still live after 60 years , the bomb disposal unit dealt with it.

1st May saw Rescue 106 and them team search Ballard for a Han glider on Ballard, nothing was found.
In between the incidents, lots of training on the new rope equipment, and getting ready for our new station.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

So where were they?

Deputy Blog brought up a very important subject yesterday, who's on call.

24 hours a day 7 days a week there are always 2 people on call to attend any immediate incident called the initial response team or IRT, anyone else available that day makes up the Back up response team (BURT).

As volunteers we are not contracted to remain in Swanage or to be on call, we "offer" to be available.

Having only 13 in the team, sometimes (as last night) we really get short, we have lives and not all of us sit at home waiting for the pager.

So last night, with at least 2 of the team working night shifts, 3 out of town visiting family, 1 with flu and others with family down (parties etc) it does get tight and when that happens we ask for back up from our colleagues at St Albans, and vice verse sometimes.

All Coastguards station try their best to provide 24 hour cover, but due to the geographical location of stations, people have to go shopping or go to work further away and this at times puts a little strain on the system.

There is always a back up!

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Where are the Coastguard Rescue Officers?

20:07 All quiet, and we're hoping it stays that way!

There's only 2 members of the team available tonight! (It's ok we have reinforcements if we need them)

Friday, 26 December 2008

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Christmas Day

Whilst many are enjoying their Christmas day, others will be working to ensure people are safe. Emergency Services, Hospitals, Carers, Armed Services and key personal in other companies will remain out and about either at work or on call.

Where ever you are today, spare a thought for them, many leaving their families at home.

Take care this festive period, Merry Christmas

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Tracking Father Christmas

The above link takes you to NORAD, a company that is tracking Father Christmas around the world, watch whilst he makes his deliveries.

Christmas Shutdown

The builders have left the site for a well earned Christmas break. The doors are now on, and it really looks like it is coming together.

Ferrero Rocher

...and Christmas wouldn't be Christmas down the Coastguard Station without everyone's favourite festive chocolates!

"Monsieur, with these Ferrero Rocketts, you're really spoiling us"
...oh did we mention he was Coastguard of the Year.

Mince pies & Kit Night

Monday night saw some of the team come together to for the monthly checking of the equipment. However being Christmas, it went a bit festive.

Things will be a little bit different next year, the kitchen will be a bit bigger for a start!

And there will be some where to sit and talk instead of having to move the vehicle out the garage!

Merry Christmas Chaps

Merry Christmas

From everyone at Swanage Coastguard, a Merry Christmas to you all.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Quick Station Update

Looks like we have doors to the vehicle bay!

Beer Coastguard, Devon

One VERY VERY lucky chap!

Monday 22nd December 07:45 - Beer Head, Seaton, Devon. A 21 year old bloke tries to BASE jump off a cliff. Thankfully he will be joining his family for Christmas.



Maddy Davey, of Portland Coastguard, said: "I am pleased to say that the base jumper was uninjured by his ordeal. He was very fortunate there were other solo jumpers in the vicinity and they were able to raise the alarm."The operation to rescue this man was carried out with superb skill and professionalism by the Beer Coastguard rescue team," she said.

Well done to the Beer Team! (website under construction)

The Office

Coming on rather nicely.......the choice of paint is quite large, what shade of white would you like?

I think my bed will fit in there somewhere, perhaps under the desk?

Eric's been on the sherry and is talking 'porky (mince) pies!'

Eric was down the Station last night banging on about a purple Squirrel in Hampshire??.

We just nodded thinking he’d been on the sherry and was winding us up…but oh no, it’s true!!!

Eric, sorry for disbelieving you!

Monday, 22 December 2008

Not More Lego Coastguard!!!!!

Regular readers of the blog will know all about the Lego Coastguard range, and the fact that the Station Officer (Ian) has a motorbike.

Well.... we had a whip round, and with the 0.43p raised, we managed to buy him a
Lego Coastguard Motorbike!

Garage Doors

Garage doors going in, hopefully they will grow over the next few days! Plastering still going on and the carpenter has been in doing the skirting and window ledges.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

MCA Podcast December
The carriage of dangerous goods by sea.

A bit like John Craven's Newsround, just without John Craven.
This month a bloke with a beard talks about some blue barrels.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Mr Bentham

In what could be considered our "2nd" podcast, Mr Bentham (No 3 in charge) shows us what happens when his pager goes off....
Thanks to Coral for sending this in......perhaps hes just getting excited for Christmas?
Children, please note that the Swanage Coastguard team condones any sort of "bouncing on the bed" its dangerous!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Something rather Special

Today is rather special for me........

Anyone who saw me this morning will have known what today is, as I was wearing a special hat.

Yes its my thirty (plus) birthday.

Now despite being over 18, sadly Ive never grown up really, and I'm a child. One of my presents was this !

O yes.....2 hours of fun, the Lego Coastguard helicopter, just wish my girls would give it back to me now to play with.


Some big changes up at the station, and nice finishing touches.

The back of the building, and footpath around the premises.

Floor laid in the garages

Ramps up to the public toilets

Cladding around the roof now finished off, front door on, garage doors going on during Monday, site being cleared up ......anyone seen Southern Electric?

Thursday, 18 December 2008

'Popped Smoke'

A smoke pyro has been let off to allow the helicopter pilot to gauge the wind direction and strength during landing. A nice bright orange so the chap can see it... you try and stand upwind so you don't get covered in orange dye!

And why the term 'popped smoke'??? Well in the heat of a rescue earlier this year someone (nameless) radio'd into the helicopter on its final run in and shouted 'Rescue 106 we've Popped Smoke!' only to find the smoke didn't go off and the team bursting into laughter! Popped smoke indeed!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Building Update

Another site meeting today to discuss some finishing touches, still waiting for the electric which will happen now in January.
Hopefully will have some latest pictures of the ground work tomorrow.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The real story

Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

As the deputy blog explained yesterday we had a security issue at the site last night.

Last night the site manager contacted me with concerns for the site after seeing some activity during the day. Luckily I was at work so arranged for the Police to attend and also asked any team member passing just to have a drive around and report anything odd.

Pinky (not his real name!) popped up and found the fence moved so reported this to me and the Sector Manager, a second team member (the Brain) attended and started searching the site just in case. That plan was going very well until Dorset Police turned up and noticed torch lights inside the building..., intruders on reported the officer calling for urgent assistance.....Oh stand by

its Pinky and the Brain from the Coastguard! Whoops....OK lets check the site together and secure it!

Moral of the story.........Better communications between the services!.

Security now further improved on the site but that's for us to know and Mr Criminal to be caught!

CCTV inside the new station catching the moment Police turned up.

Hairy Alligators

Last night after dark, three chaps were spotted paying a rather keen interest in the building site! A resident informed Dorset Police (including providing their vehicle details) who in turn contacted the Station Officer (Ian) who in turn tasked Austen and Gareth to check it out, who in turn went to site to wave some torches around.

It would appear that some ‘nefarious persons unknown’ had forced the fence in two places, perhaps with a view to coming back later.

Gareth: ‘Do the Police know we are in here?’
Austen: ‘Yeah, Ian’s sorted it. Why do you ask?’
Gareth: ‘Because a cop car has just turned up!’
Austen: ‘Bugger!’

Policeman: ‘Hello-hello-hello’ (no he didn’t say this, it just sounds good) ‘Oh it’s only you two! That’s alright I’ll call off the Hairy Alligator Team that’s just left Blandford’

Gareth: ‘Hairy Alligators?’
Policeman: ‘Yeah I saw two guys poncing around with torches, so I called in the dog team!'

Austen: 'Flippin Heck! that was lucky!! do you know how quick one of those dogs is!'
Gareth: 'To be fair Austen it doesn't matter how quick the dog is, .....I've only got to outrun you!

Photo: Coastguard Eating Police Dog (aka the Hairy Alligator)

Meanwhile the site has been re-secured, the Police have stepped up their patrols in the area, and Austen and Gareth have returned home without being savaged.

Monday, 15 December 2008


It has always been a tradition at the Christmas party to award the odd award for various things, best probationer, best incident, person put in the most effort and so on.

This year Terry approached me to make things a little more official. In memory of our great friend Mike "Spike" Williamson, Terry purchased a miniature sexton and wished it to be awarded to the Swanage Coastguard who has put in the most effort during the year.

The plan will normally be the team will decide in a private ballot every year, however this year , being the Station Officer, I pulled rank and requested that this year the award be given to one person who in my opinion has really held the team together, got on with the job despite one of his family being very ill.

This years Mike "Spike" Williamson award for outstanding service to Swanage went to

The DSO Austen Rockett.

Life as the DSO is no fun, you are stuck, carrying out the Station Officers requests, and listening to the team requests, Austen has been a great support to me, covering me whilst I have been at work, keeping the station and equipment clean, and getting on with it despite one of his daughters having a major operation. Austen always has a smile on his face and does that little bit extra where required to keep the team going. He has lead the team out on several occasions, this year to some serious incidents (the bus crash) and the feed back that I got back was nothing but praise.

Well done Austen, you really do deserve this award.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Christmas Party

Last night was our Christmas dinner, at Chilled Red.

Some entered into the spirit of things as usual, let hope Terry does get some new ear rings for Christmas!

Austen and Gareth up to no good as usual.......planning something I think!!

At the end of the night we held a small presentation, and someone got a very nice award, more on this in the week.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Police (Fire, Ambulance and Coastguard) Camera Action

Just a little note to say the following photos were an exercise using actors.

At 20.30 last night residents of Swanage must have wondered what was going on......

2 Fire Appliances
1 Ambulance and 1 Ambulance Car
3 Police Cars
1 Coastguard Truck.

With permission of the Police, all emergency vehicles proceeded to Broad Road Car Park to a report of a car accident........

The scenario set up was that 4 young people were stuck in a crashed car, and there was a demonstration by the Services to show how they deal this these types of accidents.


Well in Dorset alone this week 5 people have lost their lives on the roads, the idea of this display was to show the younger drivers what happens in an emergency and encourage them to drive more carefully and responsibly.

This initiative was lead by Dorset Fire and Rescue and Dorset Police and will be used throughout the county.

So why did the Coastguard attend.......?

In Swanage we support our colleagues in the other services, you only have to think about the bus incident at Studland, our role would be to set up a landing site for a helicopter, or assist in the first aid of the casualties.

There must have been about 70 people watching and as it was filmed other young drivers will be shown it....

Well done to all those involved

Friday, 12 December 2008

I won't miss this

Went down to the station today.....that's the current one not to the new one.

It was like a freezer down there, I didn't take my coat off.

Today's tasks

1) Update paperwork (you can see the folder on the bench, as that's where the heater is)
2) Make coffee
3) Empty bins
4) Phone Council to grit road as it was like a staking ring outside the door.
5) Another coffee, as it was cold
6) Sector Manager turned up, returning life jackets
7) Abandon station, too cold
8) Visit New building and measure up for new was warmer up there with out the doors!

I remember why we need to move now.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Building update

Visited the site today as I haven't been up for a week or so, the ground workers are back and in the next few days will be putting down the paving slabs around the building and the bollards at the front of the building.

There plasterer was hard at work inside preparing the walls.

This is the next most important room in the building (after my office) and the one that we have never had before.....the toilet!

Some sad news that Lionel, the site manager of the project from the start has moved on.

On behalf of the team, thank you Lionel for your time and efforts up there, we shall miss your humour and teaching of the building trade!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Busy Sunday

Austen and Rid had a busy Sunday, they popped out on Sunday to meet Dorsar (Dorset Search and Rescue) at Studland as they were on an exercise, just as they returned, they got a call to attend Durlston Country park to a person who had slipped on ice and broken their ankle. Having arrived they then found a second person also injured so helped them to the Ambulance too!

Then at Midnight, Austen phoned me to say they had been called out (We like to share this vital information what ever time of the day) to a report of two people who failed to return from swimming at Dancing Ledge. With the area to search quite large, he was going to request the team if required however as time went on thankfully the pair were located safe and well in a local pub!!!!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Training - Coastguard / RNLI - August 2008

...just found 50 or so photos of this training session - Photos courtesy of my missus.

Must remember to pass these onto John Gilmour at

Saturday, 6 December 2008

New Station Photos

Sorry we haven't had many photos this week, this is due to it being dark when I go to work and dark when I get home!!

Anyway, the windows are in and scaffolding down so it's looking good! Just need to sort out the roof trim and do the insides.

Then we are waiting on Southern Electric pull their finger out! Amazing that it takes them 4 months to connect us, especially as we are an emergency service!