Saturday, 31 May 2008

Purbeck Fun Day

Sorry for the short notice but today is Dorset Police's Fun Day

Held at the Purbeck School Worgret Road Wareham, the Police Fire, Coastguard and other services will come together to meet the public.

So if you have a spare hour why not pop up and meet us between 10am and 3pm

(We shall be there from about 1.30 subject to being required somewhere else, Kimmeridge Coastguard will be there this morning)

Friday, 30 May 2008

I see no ships

Richard Curtis, known to us as Rid.

Not many at Rid's age give up their time so much to do a voluntary job.

Still studying at college, and working part time (plus all the other things a young chap gets up too but probably best leave that off here!!!)
Rid's about halve way through his training and making steady progress, attending some of most difficult incidents this year.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008


On Monday, we were called to Studland to monitor a yacht with engine failure, before the Lifeboat arrived.

Looking at the weather conditions we had the slightly easier task of just driving along the beach monitoring the Poole Lifeboat and yacht until they safely arrived in the harbour.

The National Trust staff kindly delivered a cup of tea to us whilst the lifeboat attached the tow line, and I suppose holding a cup of tea whilst driving along the beach was the nearest we got to the crew of the lifeboat in the difficult conditions. (I never spilled any and just to confirm I was not driving at the time!)

Monday, 26 May 2008


Whilst on patrol today we spotted something in the surf....was it a rock? a bomb? no this was a unidentified floating object!

Having got the boat hook out the vehicle, timed the waves right, quick dash in and pull.
O its an old lobster pot, still left there a small boat could have hit it. don't get in it that way???

In fact we were saving the lives of several crabs that had been caught up inside the pot which by the looks of it had been in the water for sometime.

Sunday, 25 May 2008


The team underwent their MCA Medicals yesterday.

Following the usual height, weight, blood pressure, eyes, and ears assessments we were asked to do something different??? The mind boggles at this point. The nurse requested that we do what can be only be described as a ‘little dance’ in front of her- a bit like the Can-Can really! Apparently this was to test our ‘range of movement’.

Now normally I don’t mind a little boogie at the end of the night but at 9:30 in the morning I wasn’t sure. Unfortunately for me, Austen had turned up who thought my whole performance was side splittingly funny, so much so that he sat there convulsing with laughter but not actually making a noise.

Anyway, the whole team passed their medicals / dance assessments , so well done chaps…perhaps we should do the Can-Can at the carnival?

Saturday, 24 May 2008

One very lucky chap

Old Harry Rocks, beautiful place....but of course those cliffs can be dangerous. The man who fell today was lucky not to be killed, over the years we certainly have attended incidents in this location and the result very different.

The crew of Rescue 106 did a wonderful job and managed to pluck the male to safety and then on to hospital, he certainly has some injuries.

Just in case you can not see the winchman, same picture again .

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Bank Holiday Weekend

Another Bank Holiday and the weather looks like being wet and dull.
Well I'm sure it will not put everyone off visiting the area or taking to the water.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Are you looking a bit pale?

The Bank Holiday weekend is meant to be a time of rest, sadly we have the added pressure of all going for a medicals!

The Coastguard Agency has started a program to check all their Coastguard Rescue Officers (just over 3000 of us) to ensure we are fit for the role.
To be honest, this is no difference to the other emergency services and other employers, its their "investment" in us.

As you can imagine, some of us are feeling a little nervous about the process.....lets hope she warms her hands first!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

School talk season

Today saw the 1st school talk of the year, 52 children visiting both the Coastguard and Lifeboat House.
Assisted today by my able deputy Austen and with a small input from Eric, the children got a insight into our world.
You will note the posh flooring that is laid specially for the school talks, we like to ensure our guests have a little comfort.

Yacht ashore

Interesting sight this morning on the main beach, a yacht! It appears over night it came off its mooring and came up on the beach.

The team kept an eye on it during the day and heard that it was going to be pulled off around high water at 20.00.

As it was training night we moved to the patch of land where the weather station is (next to Sandpit field) not only could we use the slope to practise the rope work, but also monitor the attempt.

Swanage Diver and the crew of the yacht (plus a few members of the public) did a good job and managed to re float the yacht which was escorted around to Poole.

We hopefully will add a photo in a day or so.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Hoax calls

In 2005 the Coastguard received 406 hoax calls, no doubt many were investigated at a huge cost to the tax payer and for all those called out.
Today I'm aware of such a call:

"Come quick there are people drifting out to sea on a raft in Poole near Sandbanks"

The person hung up and despite efforts to call the person back the call went to voice mail.
Whilst checks were being made on the persons mobile number, the Coastguard were advised, and with the risk to life, a passing lifeboat and Sector Manager were sent to investigate.......nothing found, no further reports.

Why do people make these calls?

It could be their lives at risk as rescuers are searching somewhere else after a hoax call?

Well whoever the person was, its logged with Police, they will receive a warning text message re the miss use of the 999 system, then there is a possibility the mobile will be cut off from the network.
Thankfully 99.9% of the public can use the 999 system properly and we rely on those genuine calls to help save lives.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Barry's Challenge

This is Barry Ashdown, known to us as the Studland Safer Neighbourhood Police Officer.
Barry is a keen supporter of the Coastguard and trains with us in case as a Police Officers he is required to go over the cliff. (it helps he is part of the Police ropes team)
Barry is soon to undertake a small challenge:
In his words
" I am going to attempt to kayak across the Irish Sea hopefully on a calm day in June. The distance is roughly 60-70 miles and will take 16+ hours. I will be kayaking with a very good friend James aka 'Moose'. Rainbow Trust is such a worthy charity which I am proud to raise money for. Please give as much as you can and as often as you can as I am aiming to raise £2750 or more! A big big thank you for your support.
Have a read of his websites
We obviously have an interest in Barry's safety so will be keeping an eye on his training and when he sets off.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008


No this isn't a weather forecast.....but our new Field Operations Guide.

These new books are issued to every team member following our conversion from a cliff rescue team to a new rope rescue team.

The contents include;

Diagrams of the basic set ups

Risk Assessments


Radio procdurces

Roles of the Officer in Charge

Medical information

Helicopter landing site information

These new books are a great reference tool and in time further information will be added to help whilst we are out and about.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

So close to a tragedy

I make no apologies in copying the lifeboat blog today in the following entry, but what occurred on Sunday morning nearly cost two people their lives.

Drinking alcohol and taking to the water just don't mix, had it not been for the actions of a group of lads on the beach, the lifeboat crews and our Coastguard team, this area would have been in the news for the wrong reasons.

Bruce Lack, Watch Manager at Portland Coastguard said Drink and stupidity played major parts in this incident with the two young people in serious danger of losing their lives as a result. From taking a boat with no oars to having no life jackets or means of communication in the darkness in open sea is sheer madness fuelled by drink and bravado. We cannot stress enough how dangerous this kind of game can be, and that it is only at this time of year the sea is slightly warming, but not enough to put you beyond danger of severe hypothermia after prolonged immersion. The dulling of the senses by alcohol coupled with the cold shock of unexpectedly plunging into seawater can be a killer.

The people involved are now helping Police with their enquires, the dinghy they took and sank is still missing, lets hope they really did learn a lesson that night, maybe they might have the strength to come and thank their rescuers??

As I say time and time again, we live in a beautiful area, lets enjoy and remember it for the right reasons.

Finally apologies to the Swanage Lifeboat crew, as in my original report I stated another lifeboat went to this incident, never presume anything ! Sorry chaps as ever you did a great job.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Smoke in your eyes?

Several 999 calls brought Police and Coastguard to the beach by Ocean Bay after smoke was seen coming from this "can".

How it got there and how it suddenly went off remains a mystery, however the Army thought it was serious enough to send an EOD team down from Tidworth (Bomb disposal team).

The brown "ammo" box is what we carry in the vehicle to deal with old flares.

Smoke in your eyes?

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Doing our bit

Despite our best efforts we do create a small amount of rubbish.
A while ago we looked at what we were throwing away and it was about a small bags every two weeks.
Not anymore.....this is the all important blue tub (it should be green but we used what we had)
Anything we can we will recycle or ensure its not sent to land fill.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Team effort

Another team effort tonight with a successful out come. Coastguard, Lifeboat and Police working together quickly locating a distressed female.
Each unit plays an important part, Lifeboat searching the cliff bottom, and cliff face (not easy for the Coastguard to lean over and look)
Coastguard and Police searching the top areas.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Tea for Two

On Saturday I got a phone call from the patrol......."guess where we are?"

Go on tell me........"on the back of a yacht drinking tea" was the answer.

Er, I dont send you out to drink tea all afternoon, accident prevention is the idea.

"Well we were and now we got invited on the yacht"

Hang on, how on earth have you managed to get out on the yacht?

Answer =

The owner was visiting middle beach studland, the patrol checked that all was ok and were invited on board for a cup of tea...thats meeting the public!

Monday, 5 May 2008

A "Q" weekend

In the emergency services you should never mention the "Q" word, as it tends to backfire on you and the next thing you know you are up to your waist in something!

Dare I say "Q" stands for quiet and last time I mentioned it was at our Christmas dinner last December, having said that we then had twenty incidents in two months, (we normally get about three or four!)

For Bank Holidays we gear ourselves up a little for a few extra visitors, thankfully this weekend has passed and we saw just one incident with a yacht broken down.

It may have been the weather or just people haven't started their activities yet? However no incidents is good news for us as it didn't take us away from our families and meant we got on with all those jobs around the house!!!!!!!

Being on spring tides made an interesting view here at Middle Beach Studland, there was a lot of beach today.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Its here somewhere.

Training doesn't always involve rope work, 1st aid or search exercises.

Austen and Tom are here trying to release the spare wheel to change a damaged tyre.

Now it does help that you have a tyre fitter on the team however he might not be there when you get that flat tyre!

Friday, 2 May 2008

A call with good intent

The call yesterday reporting a hand glider stuck on Ballard showed how important it is to call us even if you are unsure what you can see.
The IRT arrived at the first informants house and were pointed in the direction of Ballard, sure enough the IRT were not 100% that someone wasn't there so the full team and the helicopter were requested.

The team arrived with the helicopter and started searching up and down, via modern technology the original informant was "patched" via Coastguard radio to the helicopter crew and she in fact guided the aircraft into position where she thought this object was and enabled the crew to confirm nothing was there.

Speaking to the Deputy Station Officer (I was at work yesterday) several of the team could see something but were unable to confirm what at a distance, when the helicopter arrived they confirmed a fresh cliff fall and with the lighting conditions it was put down to "a trick of the light".

The lady was very apologetic about calling us out, however quite simply, it could have saved someones life, too often people walk on thinking "someone else will call that in"


Thursday, 1 May 2008

Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 106

Tonight saw the Swanage Coastguard Rescue Team tasked to search for a paraglider/handglider that had been reported to have crashed landed on the cliff at Ballard Down.

The Team were quickly joined by the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 106 which undertook a visual search of the cliff face, guided by the informant through a telephone link through Portland Coastguard HQ direct to the helicopter.

Up a bit, down a bit, left a bit…

Nothing was found but the informant did the right thing in calling the Coastguard; we’d rather be called than not! ….and it gave us chance to work with the new helicopter.