The answer was normally a search for a missing diver or a cliff rescue, that was until the evening of the 7th October 2004, events that day took a respected friend away from me and the team.
I was about to leave for work and walking down my footpath to the gate when my mobile rang, it was Dave Ogden (the DSO at that time), his voice was unusual that night, what he was about to say crashed my world in a flash, one of our team had died.
Mike (Spike) Williamson had been in town with friends when he collapsed and died, despite the efforts of the Ambulance crew.
Spike was born on the 31st December 1952, and joined the Coastguard on the 28th June 1974, he had just completed his 30th year in the Coastguard. A plumber by trade, but known more recently as the assistant pier master, he was a man of few words but huge actions,.
I had never dealt with anything like that before, Spike was the key member of the team, well respected and liked, steering the team during the week up to the funeral was difficult, going through Spike personal effects was something I hope I never have to do again.
So now when I get asked , "what is the hardest thing I have ever done in the Coastguard", it's no longer a rescue, its the loss of a friend.