Monday, 30 June 2008

New member of the Coastguard family

We are pleased to announce that Mr and Mrs Craker...AKA Brian and Eve are the proud new parents to a little girl "Lucy", sister to Nell.
Mum and baby are doing well and we look forward to Brian returning at some stage once he's allowed out.

Brian during Carnival taking his parent duties seriously

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Yellow lines part 2

O dear, I've just been down the station and Peveril Point Road has grown yellow no waiting cones including six outside the station.

If we are late tomorrow for a call out ,bear with us we are trying to find somewhere to park!

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Yellow lines

On Monday the men with the yellow line machine will be turning up in Peveril Point Road to mark out the new parking bays and restrict parking in the road.

Now I'm no expert on road markings but it appears the lines might run right outside the building which will mean we can no longer park along side the building!

Update to follow on Monday!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

The Building

The latest on when work is now due to start is....August!

Regular readers of the blog will note that from April the start date has slipped each month, well lets keep fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Here's a picture of a Coastguard Helicopter, from Louisa, age 7 from Poole.

It definitely looks like a new Sikorsky S92A
Even the reference number G-CGMU checks out.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008


I was asked to go along to Swanage 1st school (Mount Scar) to give a talk on the Coastguard and beach safety.
I do like attending this school as this was my first school and it certainly brought back some memories. It was quite frightening that 30 years ago I was sat on the carpet listening to visitors to the school.

To help me with the talk I take "a little piece" of Swanage beach with me to show some of the things found on the beach and when to call the Coastguard Being local children most have a very good understanding of the dangers which we build on during further visits to schools in their later years.

Ive just found my school report from 1978 !

Ian is a very lively little boy. He likes to be in the centre of things, very talkative and easily distracted. He likes to work quickly and so easily makes mistakes especially in spelling. He must write a little more slowly and look carefully at what he is doing"

30 years on, some things have not further comment !

Pesky Trees 2

Nope, trees still standing tall!

...Trees update

Brmmm zmmm is that the sound of chainsaws?

Find out tonight!

Monday, 23 June 2008

Pesky Trees.

The trees appear to have beaten the Town Council and live on for another day.
But why are we so fussed? Well the trees need to be felled in order that we can commence the construction of the new coastguard station for Swanage.

non-library-photo-of trees.jpg

It's the row in the background that are coming down, namely seven 'Lombardy Poplars'; they actually look quite nice but apparently they're 'orrible things. I've stolen the bit below from some tree website.
"Why You Should Not Plant a Lombardy Poplar!: Horticulturist Mike Durr makes this comment about the species - "I have never recommended, at least while conscious, a poplar." They are canker prone and dirty trees that litter the landscape. Lombardy poplar is a short-lived tree and only survives for twenty or so years. The tree is primarily planted for its columnar form in windbreaks.

Redeeming Features: No redeeming features found. Many horticulturists consider the tree taboo with too many associated problems to ever consider planting."

Reading that I now feel a bit sorry for the trees.

Now you see them, now you don't?

The trees close to the new coastguard station site at North Beach car park are meant to be coming down today!

I'll check when I get home and update the blog!

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Agent Eric

I thought yesterday’s blog might stimulate some response but little did I know that the
Station Officer would take it as an opportunity to be frightfully mean to poor Eric (see comments after the blog yesterday).
He's not that old his credit he doesn’t look a day over 75!

Sorry Eric, to cheer you up, a nice photo of you!


Saturday, 21 June 2008

Blast from the past!

Just found this in my collection!

The Grosvenor Hotel, Swanage.
...circa??? Answers on a postcard please.

Friday, 20 June 2008

New signs

This is one of the new signs on the sea front promoting sea safety. These are all a standard design and appearing all round the country, showing local information and dangers.

Each has a unique reference (top left hand corner) and this should be given to the Coastguard if reporting an incident. This reference will then assist the Coastguard in understanding your exact location and if necessary a Coastguard unit can come and find you quickly.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

The pictures

View from the top of the cliff down to the car

The undergrowth may have slowed the vehicle down, but it wasn't easy to get through.

The remains of the vehicle

The pictures are used with the kind permission of John Bugler Station Officer St Albans Coastguard.

The vehicle will most likely remain at the location as to recover it will be too dangerous, we urge the public to stay away, and take care if viewing the vehicle from the top of the cliffs.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

How do we get there?

As mentioned in a previous blog, the incident on Sunday involved 16 Coastguard Rescue Officers, how do we all get there?

This picture was kindly sent by John Bugler (Station Officer at St Albans). John was the Officer in charge on Sunday as the incident occurred on his 'patch'.

Our official vehicles can only carry 4 people due to the equipment needed, so thankfully some of the other team members bring their 4X4's.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

News reports

Following Sunday's incident, as usual the phone was read hot with the press asking lots of questions and getting that special angle to beat its competitors.

As the incident was not on the Swanage patch I referred all the calls to our operations room and in turn to our Sector Manager.

Reading the papers today its interesting the slight differences in the reports.....see if you can spot the difference.

Picture A

Picture B

In Picture A, the item in the circle is in fact a fisherman hut!, had that been the location the whole incident would have been slightly easier to get too.
Picture B is slightly better!

Monday, 16 June 2008

A rather unusual day?

The pager went off at 09.08, I phoned in to be told to get the team together and head up to Emmitts Hill at St Albans head, there is a report of a car over the cliff.

This is serious and someones life depends on us.

We arrival on scene and get a briefing from John Bugler the Station Officer from St Albans

Its amazing in an area of outstanding beauty that there has been such an incident.

The team set up on the top, Rescue helicopter 106 is dropping their winchman

16 Coastguard Rescue Officers (from St Albans, Swanage & Kimmeridge)

1 Coastguard Sector Manager

1 Rescue helicopter - 4 crew

3 Police Officers

The male is airlifted to Poole to be met by further Coastguards and the hospital staff.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Co Responding

Yesterday we started training for our co responding scheme.

The idea behind the scheme is when we are out on patrol we can support our colleagues in the Ambulance service, in return we get extra training and equipment.

This was only the start and we will now continue to train for at least the next six weeks before sitting an assessment, hopefully by then the formal agreements between the Coastguard and Ambulance will be signed and we can begin the scheme.

Special thanks to Phil (Ambulance trainer) , Phil (Station Manager Dorset Fire & Rescue) for the use of the facilities at the fire station and finally the Brown family for supplying the bacon rolls at lunch time.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

The Trailer - Part one

Due to the lack of space in the station, the trailer was taken to be stored at the Swanage Middle School.

Whilst this gave us the space, it wasn't easy to use the trailer, and whilst covered, the weather began to take its hold and the condition of the trailer deteriorated.

Clearly looking like this we couldn't use it, so we decided to bring it back on station.

So once again, attached to the vehicle, lights checked, off we went to return it to the station. A little service by Avenue garage found it was fit for purpose, just its appearance wasn't very good.

Having been washed and cleaned, and with the help of a lifeboat mechanic who kindly found some paint the trailer was handed over to......yes you guessed it, Agent Bentham and Austen, who then spent several weeks, rubbing the metal work down and painting it again.
The story will continue.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Coastguard Rescue Station

The residents of Garwoods, Seaward Road (I’m one!) today received a letter from Swanage Town Council informing us that tree works are going to be undertaken to the Lombardy Pines in North Beach Car Park. This is a prelude to the much needed new Coastguard Rescue Station which will be built later this year.

Now it’s always regrettable to see trees felled but in this instance, and I speak as a resident directly affected, the damage they do to my cars is horrific! Tree sap, branches falling off and bird poo! In reality they are well past their prime and more of a liability that a benefit.

Above: Trees with no leaves on in June – Must be one of Ian's 'library photos'.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Community First Responders

Having got the rope work under our belt, our next major project is to become Community First Responders.

This is a scheme run by the Ambulance service for communities like Swanage where a group of volunteers provide vital first aid cover until an Ambulance arrives.

Current private schemes run in Kimmeridge, Lulworth and Lyme Regis.

Following a trial in Hampshire with the Coastguard, we hopefully will be the 1st team in Dorset to take part in this scheme.

However even before we get anywhere near the training there are CRB checks to be carried out.
CRB or Criminal Records Bureau checks are a requirement by the Ambulance Service and all team members have had the joys of completing the forms. (in fact twice as we managed to put the wrong address on the forms so had to start again!). These will be sent away this week and we start training at the weekend.

Just one small problem......the Coastguard actually hasn't signed the agreement with the Ambulance Service yet.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Kayak Patrol

It was a sunny evening last night so I went for a stroll ....well actually I went for a kayak accross the bay.

I would go out more often but it's bit of a pain getting these things to the beach, they are actually quiet heavy and awkward to move, especially with all the other equipment, ....paddle, buoyancy aid, radio, spray top, throw rope, etc etc. If only someone in the team could design something to make life a bit easier.......cue Special Agent Bentham who we believe is working on a prototype launching trolley.

What's the round black bit at the front of the kayak?? Well it's a 'dry hatch' where you put stuff that you want to keep dry, the only problem with this one is that it leaks!!

Friday, 6 June 2008


64 years ago today the view from Peveril Point for the duty Coastguard would have been very different. The Coastguard then under war conditions had a slightly different role, the following is taken from the MCA's main web site.

The Coastguard Service Act (1925) still allowed the Admiralty control of the Coastguard in time of national need. In the 1930s the departments worked together to prepare the Coastguard as a War Watching Organisation.

When war came 4,500 Auxiliary Coastguards were recruited on National Service to strengthen stations coast wide. Intelligence and signalling were again key tasks. In May 1940, fearing invasion, the Admiralty assumed control and armed the Coastguard. Life saving was hampered by beach defences but in 1940 the LSA Brigades met one of their greatest challenges. The destroyer's 'Ashanti' and 'Fame' ran aground on the rocky Durham coast. Life Saving Apparatus carried the local firemen aboard the burning 'Fame', ferried ammunition in danger of exploding ashore, and overnight landed 104 men from the two ships.

In the south Coastguards gained a new rescue task. Lookouts used cross-bearings to direct the air/sea rescue service launches searching for airmen who had ditched in the Channel.

D-Day brought safety from invasion and a reduction in the Auxiliary Coastguard numbers. In 1945 the service was placed under the Ministry of War Transport, eventually returning to the Marine Division of the Board of Trade in 1959.

By 06.00, 64 years ago, the duty watch keepers and the shore battery crews at Peveril would have already witnessed a massive flotilla of ships leave Poole and head for the shores of Normandy, no doubt this continued for several days if not weeks.

Many of those men who were either local or trained for many months in the Purbecks never returned.

Less we forget.

Thursday, 5 June 2008


We were very honoured this afternoon to open the station to a group of Bulgarian Coastguards
Despite the language barriers (thankfully they brought an interpreter) we explained what happens and our role in the Search and Rescue world.
Of course the trip around the station didn't take long, but we did explain that there is a new building on the way at some point!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Team working

10 years ago you could visit stations all around the coast and the cliff work would be done slightly differently....
Today that does'nt happen, it shouldnt matter where you are in the country the rope work will now be the same.
The Coastguard has really changed in the last year and this is a credit not only to the teams but also the management in supplying the equipment and training us.
We are very fortunate to have a very forward thinking Sector Manager who has supported us very well, help drive through plans for a new station, get us extra equipment and basically been there for us in some "dark" moments.
Being a Sector Manager is a thankless task, locally he has four teams, normally about 48 team members all who have their opinions, however somehow he manages to channel most of opinions into the way the Coastguard want things done today.
Well thanks boss, we are grateful !

Monday, 2 June 2008

Purbeck Fun Day

We got to the Police event in Wareham (just) and lasted about 20 minutes before being called back to Swanage for an object off Durlston Head.

It looked a good event, sadly we missed the chance of going on the steam train around the school.

Now sadly the photo I didn't get was Eric buying the biggest ice creams I have ever seen. Just as he returned from the ice cream van, we got the call!
As he was duty driver he did his best to eat it but no time, so it was handed to me. I did my best and only got a little bit on the seat!!

Sunday, 1 June 2008

A busy day

Rescue 106 hovering to winch a lady who had fallen whilst walking on the coastal path. Another job for the emergency services on a very busy day.
Listening on the radio and attending one ourselves, four divers were taken to Poole having surfaced to quickly.