Thursday, 31 July 2008

Sky Lotto

Swanage Coastguard Team provided safety cover for a wide range of carnival events last night including Kayak Racing, Red Devils (Blokes jumping out of planes with their trousers on fire) and Fireworks; with the RNLI Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) providing cover at sea.

One new event this year was the ‘Sky Lotto’- Billed as a ‘Spectacular Attraction’

What’s Sky Lotto? Well instead on Eamonn Holmes’ big lucky balls, Swanage opted to have a chap in a ‘noddy’ helicopter drop ping-pong balls into a rubber ring at sea.
The winner being the person whose ball dropped in the centre of the target. To be fair Sky Lotto was marginally more exciting than watching the tide come in; and I for one can’t wait to see this spectacular attraction again next year.

The lucky winner was……well….. we’re not sure as one of our Coastguards (Gareth) parked the Rescue Vehicle right in front of the chap announcing it! Oops sorry – apologies to Miami Vice look-alike doing the announcing.

We did however find out that Kevin Dimarco RNLI Inshore Helmsman won third prize – a luxury meal at a local golf club. Kevin was ‘well chuffed’ and looked forward to dressing up smart and hob-nobbing it with the rich and famous.…….which begs the question what was the ILB actually doing alongside the rubber ring….and why were the RNLI crew spotted buying ping-pong balls earlier in the day?

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Red 10

Before the Red Arrows arrived on Sunday, we were requested to meet the road manager Flight Lieutenant Andy Robins in his helicopter at Swanage Middle School.

Using the school ground with kind permission of the site manager allowed a safety working area with no public close by.

Having got Red 10 and his team away to Sandpit field this allowed us to do that all important photo shoot......nice that they use a helicopter in the same colours as our truck!

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Studland Swimmers

Well I never did get to find out what the Biathlon was! Just as Austen was tucking into his double portion of battered sausage and chips, the team were tasked to Studland to assist South Western Ambulance with two swimmers who had got into difficulties.

Upon arrival it was clear that the preferred course of action would be to CASEVAC (Casualty Evaluation) the swimmers to hospital by helicopter. Rescue Helicopter 106 was on scene within minutes and the first swimmer lifted from the beach and onto hospital with paramedic on board.

Rescue 106 returned promptly to take the second swimmer; this time landing on someone’s front lawn; with their kind permission of course.

With both casualties safely evacuated the team took late afternoon tea and biscuits on the lawn before returning to base. (Chocolate Digestives and Bourbons)

Naturally, Swanage Coastguard Team wish the swimmers a speedy recovery.

Team Briefing

Before the carnival events started on Sunday, the team (and families) got together for a briefing ....well breakfast/lunch.

The briefing lasted about 2 minutes before everyone settled and had their food.

Things were really going well until Tom decided to do his Tarzan impression!

Monday, 28 July 2008


Its Carnival week in Swanage and tomorrow there is a Biathlon. I asked the boss what a Biathlon involved and he said ‘See Austen’, so I asked Austen who said ‘See Ian’. I suspect neither of them knew.

So using a search function on the interweb I have found out that:-

‘…biathlon usually refers specifically to the winter sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting’. Source: Wikipedia

Austen Rockett - World Champion

Perhaps I’m missing something, but Swanage is hardly in the running as a venue for the 2014 Winter Olympics. As for the rifle shooting, I’m not sure the fluffy bunny rabbits up on Ballard Down will be best pleased!

Well I suppose all will be revealed on the Quay at 18:00 Tuesday.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Carnival Arrives

Carnival arrives today and one of the1st event we are involved with is the 12 mile road race.

Well actually to be truthful our involvement in the road race is to stand and watch whilst out own Richard Curtis and Claire Thompson take part in the run.

Claire is wife to Terry Thompson and Mum to Richard so its a family event for the team and one we are supporting for a good cause.

There is a rumor that the full team will take part next year, (err 12 mile relay race not a full 12 miles run, have you seen us??)

Good luck to the pair today.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Summer Holidays arrive

Today is the 1st day off for the local schools and by the end of the week most of the schools up and down the country will be off.

To ensure you all have a safe summer please follow the advice below.

Keep clear of any cliff edges as they can be slippery when they get wet – cliffs around the UK are very high and do sometimes give way under foot.

Always swim close to the beach in line with the shore.

Don’t drink and drown - eating and drinking before swimming may give you cramps while you’re in the water – you may then be unable to get back to the shore.

Drinking Alcohol and going in the sea is dangerous, it slows your reactions, increase chances of hypothermia and your judgment of distance will be impaired

Check the weather and tides before you leave home – then you won’t get swept away.

Always wear sun cream, at least factor 15 or above, sunbath for short periods of time, use after tan lotion and wear loose clothing that covers your arms and legs to prevent further exposure.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

The Trailer

Some posts ago I wrote about our trailer and how it was having a make over.

Yesterday the DSO spent 4 hours finishing off that job by adding our new cover which replaces the old lid.

The new cover will reduce the weight and is safer that the lid, (the lid had a habit of being blown open on a windy cliff top). Not to say the lid has been thrown away, it will not be stored and once we move, the chaps will have space to repair it properly.

Saturday, 19 July 2008


Training for us continues for us with the new rope equipment. Here the Sector Manager is going through the rope with Rid.

As well as Rid the whole team continues being questioned to ensure full understanding of all the equipment when and where it can be used (or not).

Friday, 18 July 2008

Re fit

This is the East Dorset Sector Office and also one of the Poole Teams offices (they keep the vehicle and equipment elsewhere). Situated on Poole Quay its a grand building and has a long history.

Sometime next week the contractor will move in to bring it right up to date, but being a listed building there has to be a lot of care and attention.
You never know someone might start on ours soon!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

People behind the scenes

Whilst the team is the "Front line", there are many people at HQ supporting the Coastguard Rescue Service in many ways.

Today I was lucky to meet one of those people whilst on a trip to Poole. Danielle is a member of the Human Resources team based in Southampton, part of her remit is to look after the 3500 (or so) CRO's (Coastguard Rescue Officers) and that's no easy task!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Another Strike

Sadly this weekend some of our colleagues in the Operations Room who belong to the PCS union will be taking industrial action over their long standing pay dispute.

Plans are in place to cover 999 calls and emergencies on the VHF radios, however this weekend sees the start of the summer holidays and this will no doubt put pressure on the system.

Coastguard Rescue Officers are not affected by this action and remain on call and available to respond to any maritime emergency.

The MCA have issued the following

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is reminding holiday makers and boat users to look very carefully at their plans and precautions in advance of a strike called by the Public and Commercial Services Union which will affect Coastguard Stations around the UK this weekend (18th – 20th July).

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Rescue 104 & Rescue 106

Another one of those weekends and some interesting incidents with the new helicopters. Being so much faster we don't get much time to think and clear the areas, but they have done a really good job.

I don't think we have ever lifted from the boat park before?

Rescue 104 At Anvil Point

Three wise men plus two friends?

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Rescue 106 - Diver CASEVAC

Within 30 seconds of starting this afternoon's patrol the IRT team were tasked to the Lifeboat Jetty to receive a diver who had decompression sickness (DCS) (The 'Bends').

Rescue 106 was immediately tasked to allow prompt CASEVAC
(casualty evacuation) to the recompression chamber at Poole.

Thursday, 10 July 2008


Carnival time is fast approaching and the committee have been busy organising the many events for the week.
With the extra visitors to the town, this can increase the number of calls for the emergency services so on Tuesday night Pip, Austen and I met with the executive committee of the carnival to run through a few events where Coastguard assistance may be required.
Lets hope this years event is as successful as previous year (hopefully the weather might improve!).
Other than wishing everyone a safe carnival my only other question is will the Coastguard actually manage to get round with the procession without being called out?

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

The Command Chair

We have visited the office before.

However this poor old seat "The Command throne" has seen some action.

Normally after an incident, it gets piled up with clothes, then turned round and cleared for someone to sit in to write up the incident in the log.

There isn't much room, just enough for the smallest member of the team to sit there.....the Station Officer then!

Sadly being the throne not many kneel at my feet, but I have requested a new super big chair for the new office.

However my boss said no and in fact he might only get a one legged stool like they use to have on the cliffs!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Contract Awarded

Normally I would add a photo, however I keep getting told off for "Library pictures" and I haven't had a chance to get up to the North Beach Car Park today.

We have heard today that the contract to build the new station has been awarded to a company called Farnrise Construction.

Having looked them up on the net, they are based in Hampshire/Sussex.

Now before all the local builders come looking for me or any of the team, can we point out that we have had nothing to do with the contract at all its all done at a very high level.

Clean Sweep

Very odd; 7:15 this morning the roadsweeper was driving round and round in circles cleaning the area where the new coastguard station will be built.

Either the chap has lost his marbles
or perhaps, just perhaps we might be getting ready to build........

Monday, 7 July 2008

New Building Furniture

Boss, I hear the Sector Manager has given you a catalogue to choose furniture for the new Coastguard Station.

If so, may we have a table football?

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Working Together

Last Monday, we got a call reporting someone stuck on Ballard....this wasn't going to be an easy job.
If its the 1st part of Ballard we may have to carry the equipment from Sheps Hollow, further along and we access the cliff from the top so its important to locate the casualty 1st before setting off.
Having all arrived at the station , we searched and searched but couldn't see anyone. One of the team spotted the Rowing club just under Ballard so knowing they listen on a VHF radio we gave them a call......into action goes the rowers at a speed some motorboats would be proud of!

With Steve Vince at the helm we soon established the location and set off, this really did help us and a credit to his crew, but it didn't end there......

When we arrived we found Steve had carefully put one of the rowers ashore who happened to a 1st aider and was treating the casualty who had fallen about 15ft.

So on behalf of the Coastguard, thank you to Steve, Holly and the rest of the crew for a job well done.

It goes to show how well we work together in Swanage.

Friday, 4 July 2008

A little thank you

The original idea behind the blog was to show the building of the new we know we are still waiting for that to start so we have been posting little bits and pieces which we hope show what we do.

Yesterday the blog indicated 10,000 hits from the start and I can not believe its just me, the deputy blog, the team and a friend who are taking time out to read what we have written.

We just want to say thank you and hope you enjoy it. Having just filed a report to my boss about the 1st half of the year, the Swanage Team, together with our colleagues at St Albans, the lifeboat crew and partner agencies have had some difficult incidents so far this year and we are all grateful for the support you show us.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Another step forward

We were told yesterday that the contract to build the new station has been awarded, (sadly we haven't been told who too!)

Contracts are now being signed (4 weeks) and building then can start...14 weeks to build (we will see)

So I make that the 4th (ish) November then!

So that's why I have used a library picture because I reckon those trees will look the same.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Yellow lines - The result

Well the big day did arrive and I really expected the worse.

But what a result, thanks to the Town Hall, we now have a little area to park without the worry of a parking ticket.

Thanks also to Dave Turnbull for taking the picture whilst I was at work.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Its a bit windy

We all took a bit of a blast on last nights incident under Ballard where a male fell about 15ft on to rocks.
Now this is the 1st time we have got real close to Rescue 106 the new Coastguard helicopter, in fact we got very close at one stage.

This aircraft certainly has some down draft (force of the air from the rotors), to say we got shot blasted was an under statement.

A good job from our point of view but a very special thanks to the Swanage Sea Rowing Club who help locate the casualty and then put a member of the crew ashore to assist until we arrived.