Tuesday, 30 September 2008

New Pagers

We used to use maroons to signal the team. Basically a pyrotechnic (firework) that makes a great big bang and can be heard for miles!

For the last few years we have been using these Vodafone pagers to alert us of an incident. These pagers work off an individual number to set them off, like calling a mobile phone.

Sadly over the years we have had problems with "Ghost" alerts which at 2.00am in the morning had caused many a dispute with the family!

So we are going back to Channel Zero pagers, these operate by Portland Coastguard sending "a tone" over our radio frequency (known as channel zero) and this will set the pagers off (we hope!)

With all pagers, there are plus and minus points, coverage being the most important.

Not only does it have HM Coastguard on the front of them (just in case we forget who we belong to), but it has a facility as someone speaks on the radio you can listen! So pager and radio...something else to drive the family mad.

I'm not sure I like the chain either!

Thanks to Austen who has overseen the introduction of these new pagers and to ensure it works, 1) we are keeping the old pagers for a while and 2) I send a text message to the teams mobiles!

Bring back the maroons I say!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Deputy Blog's Alarm Clock

Steel Frames

The steel frames for the new building were delivered to site at 6:55 this morning.

How do I know.....'cause the lorry woke me up!!!

New Boat

Today the Swanage Rowing Club, named their new gig.

Dancing Ledge is the 3rd gig the club have in Swanage, along with Old Harry and Peveril.

The club is really doing well in Swanage and really does need their new building to house the gigs properly which are stored in a temporary building near the pier.

Membership is open to any age, so fancy a go.....?

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Sore Feet

When setting out for a walk, its important to have the correct footwear on

Incorrect footwear or poorly fitting shoes can cause blisters and on a long walk these can be painful.

You may be lucky and find a passing Coastguard vehicle for a plaster.....(AND NO IT WASN'T ME!)

A Puzzle ?

The other day a friend of mine was looking at my photos when they started to laugh at the picture below.

This is half the picture but contains the vital clue, can anyone spot what made my friend laugh so much?

Answer in a few days.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

A day out in the Country

Readers of the Swanage Lifeboat blog will have read that we had a day out on Thursday to Wimborne.

The Coastguard along with the other emergency services were invited to Dumpton School in Wimborne were it so happens that John Gilmour of the Swanage Lifeboat teaches.

Residents of Corfe Mullen and Wimborne were perhaps a little worried seeing a Coastguard vehicle driving around their towns, had global warming got that bad?
Now most modern vehicles have Sat Nav....not the Coastguard.... the high tech map!

Us "coasties" don't get out very much so it was a pleasure to go and give a talk to the children, we were well looked after and the school meals......well I never remember them like that.

Thanks John, nice day out, hope the children enjoyed the day.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Down the Drain

End of week three and we are nearly out of the sub floor construction stage - or whatever you call it. Looks like the drains are in (black pipes) and some water (blue pipes). Sadly I can’t see any broadband or cable TV lines.

Not a lot else to say really; more building updates next week.

On the rescue front, will the sunny weather this weekend keep us busy? Have to wait and see!

Passing Out

Richard Curtis, known to the team as "RID"...has just completed his probationary year.

I sit down and discuss with a few of the senior members of the team his work and if there has been any problems etc.

Credit to him, not many his age would be interested in giving up their time and carry out duties.

So I sent the email off to the Sector Manager to confirm I was happy.

Sadly having sent the email a situation involving Rid, saw the number plate of the vehicle fall off and then as we started training the other night, "the gate fell off in his hands"

Sorry the photo is blurred, I was laughing so much I got the shakes.

Well Rid if there is any comfort to this weeks events.......18 years ago I did the same things and now I run the place!

Well done and welcome to the team.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Working with dummies

Training this week was a little different, a mock road accident!

Not quite a standard Coastguard incident but on average we deal with one every year (just happened to involve a bus this year).

The scenario:

Driver of the above vehicle had a heart attack at the wheel, swerved across the road and hit a motor bike...(you have to guess who was the motor bike rider?).

So a bit of everything for the chaps to get their teeth into, including position of our vehicle to protect the scene setting up the lighting and treating the injured.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Getting it level

Back to the site today to see the progress and get an update from Lionel the site manager. Yet again he took the time to explain the progress to date and what was actually being done.

This is the frame work that sits on the piles, the wooden plate with the bolts sticking up is rather critical as if these are set in the wrong place, when the steel frame turns up next week, there will be a problem. (sorry not quite builders terms but the way I understood it!)

Its only taken a few days to put the frame in, Lionel explained years ago this took a number of weeks to put even the shuttering together as it was wood in those days not plastic.

Then the concrete turned up, not just a case of pour it in either, again small amount in and then levelled to ensure no bubbles.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Super Chicken

Is it a bird ?
Is it a plane ?
Is it a Paramedic with a rubber glove on his head ?
Even the camera 'auto focus' couldn't cope with these two!

When you find yourself in danger,When you're threatened by a stranger,When it looks like you will take a lickin', (cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck)There is someone waiting,Who will hurry up and rescue you,just Squawk…for Super Chicken! (cluck, awk!)

Super Chicken theme music here.

MCA Podcast - September

This months MCA Podcast features the Lifejacket Awareness Campaign.

September Podcast here:

Fairly hard hitting stuff, and it needs to be. Only this weekend in Swanage Bay two fisherman were suddenly thrown into the sea as their boat sank; they had lifejackets but chose not to wear them.

They survived.

Monday, 22 September 2008

In the Frame

Work continues at a pace, with a load of metal work and pipes being put into the ground.

I guess they have to fill the trench before they can get the digger off that island!! (guess thats why I'm not a builder!)

Sunday, 21 September 2008

100 Up

Just seen the MRU leaving Swanage for Studland under blue lights...that'll be job 100 this year.


Saturday was also a busy day with the IRT (Immediate Response Team) being called to a sinking of a fishing boat and later on in the day to attend to a yacht that had run aground on Studland nudist beach. 5 jobs in 24hrs! Full details here:




It’s been quiet from the last month or so which has been very surprising; this is probably down to one thing- the weather. It’s noticeable that this weekend the better weather has brought more people out which has led to more incidents. I believe my maths teacher used to call this a direct correlation; we could probably do a chi squared test or regression analysis to see if this hypothesis is statically valid….then again.

Bottom line we are on 99 jobs which is the same number as this time last year. Who's going to get the 100th.....my money is the patrol this afternoon.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Pesky Lobsters!

Friday saw a number of jobs including a missing swimmer off Winspit, a boat with engine failure and a missing diver.

The diver was on a drift dive (diving with the current) and was using a delayed Surface Marker Buoy (SMB). These allow the skipper of the boat to follow the buoy and then pick the diver up, normally very safe and effective.

In this case the diver had got caught up in a lobster pot (probably ‘rescuing’ lobsters!- naughty) and had to cut his SMB away. At the same time his buddy – diving partner- who also had an SMB suffered a regulator failure and had to come to the surface, and raised the alarm. The skipper started a quick search and then called the Coastguard, who in turn requested Swanage Lifeboat.

Meanwhile the first chap freed himself from the pot and then came to the surface slowly to decompress. Given the currents he drifted a long way off Anvil Point, he started near Old Harry!

Swanage Lifeboat found the chap and brought him back to shore, well done chaps.

On meeting the diver it was apparent that a serious of incidents had led to the situation, and that he was not to blame. The chap had spent some considerable time on his own in the sea contemplating life and had decided that that a second SMB or flag or flares would be a sensible backup – and for £30 would be a good investment!

So divers out there, the moral of the story….. take backup surface detection devices and leave them pesky lobsters alone.

"yeah get yerhandsoff"

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Co-Responder Training

Tonight saw one of our resident paramedics providing further training for the team, prior to our co-responder assessments early in October.

Reader: Remind me what’s a Co-responder? Well as a Coastguard Team we will work closely with South Western Ambulance Trust and co-respond to ambulance requests for assistance. The key term is assistance as we will not be replacing them!

After a refresher on basic resuscitation and use of a defibrillator we moved on to first aid and the use of ‘steri-strips’ for dressing wounds. As always we all take a turn as casualty; last time bandaging Gareth’s eyes….yes thanks chaps.

Well tonight Ian acted as a casualty who had accidently crashed his scooter into an ice cream van and cut his nose. So…….. out came the ‘steri-strips’.

Little did he know that in the background Deputy Blog was getting his revenge!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Moving on

After the concrete was delivered yesterday. Nice sand castles ?

Being a builder must be fun, draw lines in places then dig up the ground. This is for the main drainage pipe (so I'm told).

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Work continues

Thats the top of the piles.

Then the cement truck arrived ready to fill the trenches again

Question. Does anyone know what North Beach Car Park was? Has it always been a car park, was it part of Days Park? If anyone knows could they drop us a line?

Monday, 15 September 2008


Well done to Ian (Station Officer) for passing his full Motorcycle Test last week.

This allows him to:-
i). Remove the ‘L’ plates,
ii). Give us backies…. Sorry ‘ride with pillion’
iii). ...and deliver pizzas.

Well done boss!

(Note : For security and data protection purposes I've cunningly disguised the numberplate)

Sunday, 14 September 2008


Saturdays Patrol took a little detour to Dancing Ledge. Always fun trying to get the vehicle down what looks like an impassable track. One mouthful of gorse bush later (Gareth forgot to close the window) and we parked up.

Great to see the lots of novice climbers learning their trade, all properly supervised with helmets and other safety equipment. Less great to see the more experienced climbers not using helmets….you chaps really should know better! Given the geology the rock face is loose so climbers are at real risk from falling rocks, hence the need for helmets.

Also being put to good use was the swimming pool that was cut into the rock; looked lovely and clear.

Some info for our non–locals: ‘Dancing Ledge is part of the Jurassic Coast near Swanage, The 'Ledge' is a flat area of rock at the base of a small cliff (a little scrambling is required for access). It is signposted on the South West Coast Path a few kilometres west of Swanage. A swimming pool was blasted into the rock for the use of local preparatory schools sometime near the beginning of the twentieth century.

Dancing Ledge is so called because the stone cut out of it is the same size as a ballroom dance floor. The stone removed was transported by ship direct from Dancing Ledge, round the south coast to Kent in order to construct Ramsgate harbour.

The cliffs above the ledge are a popular climbing location, with a small (10m)cliff close to the sea, and a larger (~20m) limestone cliff set back above this.’

Saturday, 13 September 2008

We have piles!

Of course I'm talking about the 15 concrete ones that will support the new building!

That's the 1st and probably the noise bit over with.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Ground breaking

Over night a rather large machine arrived. This machine is drilling holes 16 metres deep for piles to be put in. In total there are 15 piles to be done.
The piling team have come down from Wigan. I was kindly showed the site today by the site manager and showed the process involved in putting these piles in.

This is the 2nd hole put in.
Basically that's a 16 metre drill bit and that's how far the piles go down to support the new building.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Day 2

Looks like person with digger has turned up.

Someone with a can of blue paint has been marking something out?

This fenced area is a building site and building sites are dangerous, the photos have been taken from outside the fenced area through gaps in the fencing.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Its started.

At 9.00 this morning a visit to the car park, found no change, so I thought I would have a day out and ended up at Portland Bill.Mean while a lorry turned up and started to unload the fencing.
We will have to wait 14 weeks to see what grows behind it.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Anyone seen a builder?

We turned up today to meet the builders, the council had kindly been up and coned the area off, ready for the security fence and cabins to turn up.

Austen checked the stream, to ensure they weren't hiding down there.

Nope.....not today.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

A heavy heart

Today I have a strange feeling, one of excitement and one of sadness.

After six years of hard work (and please remember there have been a huge number of people involved in this building project) we are finally on the eve to work starting.

My file of letters, emails, plans and ideas is equally large, the path to planning was far from smooth, many a sleepless night wondering if the team would ever have a future in the town.

So finally after the hard work the results will slowly grow in the next 14 weeks, I hope many of you will either visit the site or see the pictures here.

My sadness, well Peveril Point has been our home since 1842.....that's alot of history, in my 18 years the station has been my 2nd home, I've have had some great times there and sad times, the building has looked after us all so well.

So thank you to everyone who supported us, with the new building we hope we will be able to serve the community even better.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Weather Forecast

Swanage borders two shipping forecast areas, "Wight" & "Portland".

Having watched the various activities yesterday around the bay (surfing, swimming and local quickly removing their beach huts from the beach) I thought it would be a good idea to look at the forecast.

Gale warning
2141 Fri 05 Sep (time forecast issued)

Gale force 8 now veered southwesterly

Shipping forecast

0505 Sat 06 Sep

Southwest 5 to 7, increasing gale 8 at times.

Sea State

Squally showers.

Moderate or good.


Gale warning
1517 Fri 05 Sep

Gale force 8 veering southwesterly soon

Shipping forecast

0505 Sat 06 Sep
West or southwest veering northwest 5 to 7, occasionally gale 8 at first.

Sea State

Squally showers.

Moderate or good.

So if you are using the coast or sea today, please continue to take care.

Friday, 5 September 2008

A Problem

Right at the last minute, one of the team has spotted a major problem with the new station, it hasn't got a chimney!

A Coastguard station has to have a chimney.....how do you fix the aerial on, and how does Father Christmas get in? (The team think of everything !)

Site visit booked on Monday to discuss these problems.

Thursday, 4 September 2008


Thanks to the deputy blog for yesterday's entry, sadly deputy blog is now in hiding as both the SO & DSO are looking for him!

On to more serious matters....the building, only a few days to go and lots of paper work arriving. Today's was a plan the lorries have to take to minimise the noise to local residents.....they have to think of everything!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

A Visitor

On the way home tonight, sat in the middle of the bay was an Isle of Wight ferry?

Was it slightly off course from Lymington? Was it checking to see if a new service could be started from Swanage to the Isle of Wight.

Perhaps whilst the Sandbanks ferry is off service we could borrow it to fill in the missing service?

Most likely it was sheltering from these strong winds we have tonight.