Sunday, 30 November 2008

Finer detail

Whilst the builders continue at a pace, there are "little" things that need ordering and here Pip and Austen are measuring up for the new Station sign, sadly I wasn't allowed to hold the tape measure as I haven't done the course and I'm a couple of inches shorter than Austen...a highly skilled job so I'm told.....

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Lack of Spark

Thursday saw another site meeting with The MCA, Farnrise, Swanage Town Council and Parsons Brinckerhoff.

The building is moving on nicely and would have been about 2 weeks later (due to the problem with the floor) and then with Christmas we were looking at about the 4th January........however!

There is one slight problem...we have no power! We are now waiting for Southern Electric to come and plug us in and they have indicated the earliest this can be done is the 12th January! (busy people I guess??). Once that has been done the final commissioning can be done so that could see us in around the 19th January.

Rather disappointing in some ways, so if anyone from Southern Electric is reading this....please please please any chance of coming sooner??

Friday, 28 November 2008

Leading by example

I try and set an example and ensure that if I expect someone to do something, I can do it myself.
Deputy Blog highlighted the "Coastguard" Lego game the other week, and set a challenge....well 1.5 hours later, your Station Officer got promoted to Admiral!

O yes! what a game.....I never have to leave home again. Im now thinking of testing all new members of the team on this game.

Right chaps...any thing else for your leader??

Submarine Racing

One of the chaps at Swanage Sea Rowing Club (SSRC) sent us these pictures of the Submarine Racing championships in Plymouth last weekend.

Yes very funny!!!

Meanwhile on a more serious note the SSRC are working hard to find a new home and receive planning consent to build their gig shed / clubhouse. They have had a few knock backs so far and it’s probably going to be a hard task – it took us 5 years!! – but the Swanage Coastguard team will be providing all the support we can. (We have a Town Planner on the team)

I’ll find out what their latest information is and put it on this blog next week.

Or see here……

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The photo that wasn't!

Another photo from earlier this year ....the photo that wasn't!

How many chances do you get for a photo like this,
Swanage/ Sunset / Clear Sky/ Calm Sea and Rescue 106!!!!!!

After carefully positioning Austen for a blog photo showing how
small the new helicopter is .... it flew off! argh!!!

...luckily we have photoshop, so Austen's efforts were not wasted.

And no we don't normally 'Doctor' photos...

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Operation Dinosaur

As you know the plan was to help lift a fossil out of Durlston Bay very soon, however after Sunday's visit to have a final look, we had to make the decision to put the project on hold for a bit due to the cliff being unstable.

You wouldnt want one of these lumps to come down on top of you??

As stated yesterday, we are a little concerned at some of the areas and as the photo above shows there are going to be some slips to come. This one is just behind the current station, so perhaps its a good thing we are moving soon!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Rock falls

Yesterday afternoon, Austen and I popped down into Durlston Bay to have another look around and have a look at a couple of rock falls that have occurred. There has been some big falls at the Peveril Point end of the bay and looking at this picture there is going to be some more during this winter.

We ask anyone visiting Durlston Bay or even from the cliff above (the Down) to take care as this area is currently quite unstable.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Going Home

One of my favourite photos this year – The Swanage Coastguard Team returning at sundown after a cliff rescue that involved assistance from Swanage Lifeboat and the Swanage Sea Rowing Club.

300 posts

I was thinking what I could write about today as not much happens at the site over the weekend and in the Coastguard World there is nothing to report, so I happened to mention to one of our supporters that I had written the 300Th post and got told well why didn't you say......!

So to keep that one person happy this is in fact the 303rd post, there has been just over 19,000 page hits on the blog and 12,500 have viewed the site since January!

Originally the blog was to map out the progress of the new building, however it seems to cover the full range of what the Swanage team does and if YOU the reader are happy, we will continue?

We are always open to suggestions and ideas.

And a big thank you to deputy blog for looking after the site when I can not.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Puppet on a String

The question is will the new crew room have the space to dangle Tom from the ceiling?

Let's hope so.

Photo: Tom hanging around.

No, he’s not a Thunderbirds Puppet (Not sure if he’s Scott, Virgil, or Lady Penelope)…he’s actually training on a cliff harness.

You will probably make out that there a number of buckles, clips etc on the harness; and sessions like this allow us to practice how to put these on quickly, and more importantly properly.

It’s pretty difficult to get one on in the back of the Rescue Vehicle, when we’re driving quickly off road in the dark!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Crew room

Not the best photo in the world, but this is the crew room/training room or in the case of a few this will be the escape from home room (big sofa and wide screen get the idea!!)

The black mat is not the floor covering, its one of the membranes I believe.

We haven't quite got to the stage of choosing the wall paper yet but will keep you posted on that.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Windows & Office

The concrete window ledges were started on yesterday, which begin to give the building some character.

Meanwhile the office is taking shape nicely and the electrician has started.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Flushed out

Any idea what this is?..........Its the back of one of the new public toilets attached to the new station.

Looking more like giant air conditioning units these are the state of the art toilets (still can not get inside the pods but this is the back!)

This is the service area the council will look after.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

130 Million Years Ago

130 Million years ago, (give or take a couple of weeks) Swanage looked a little different. The Sector Manager was about but as for the rest of us, no!

For what I understand Swanage was a bit of a jungle/swamp (some say it still is), in Durlston Bay there was a little tree and for some reason it fell over, sadly records don't record why.

130 million years later Robin and Malcolm (from Durlston Country Park) come along and find this tree, yes honest.

Yes this "rock" contains the remains of that tree. So what has this go to do with the Coastguard?

Well the Country Park have asked for some assistance in lifting some examples of these fossils for the new display at Durlston Castle so in a few weeks we will be helping lift the stones up the out for Operation Dinosaur!

Before you all rush down to find fossils, a little warning, the cliffs at the moment are unstable, the removal of fossils without permission of the landowner is illegal.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Dance Hall ?

This is the vehicle bay, yes I reckon this is slightly bigger than what we have now, so plenty of room for the vehicle and trailer.

Work is going on at a pace and the rooms are taking shape, more on this over the next few days.

Just an update on the toilets, the MCA is supplying the toilets as part of the building, this was part of the agreement in the land being given up by the Town Council, however once built the toilets are fully looked after by the Council not the Coastguard!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Super Loos

Here's a photo of the north end of the new station - the public loos, as paid for by the Town Council? MCA? I'm sure, the boss will know.

On the right of the photo they'll be a further one for people with disibilty. These are specially designed to be easy to clean and vandal proof.

They look a bit 'high tech' what with a 'status' light in the top right above the door!
Not sure about the porthole windows?

Saturday, 15 November 2008

It official

After weeks of speculation its now offical what is being built in North Beach Car Park.

Rumour had it that it was a dance hall, council depot, storage for a local group....but no!

Someone is building a Coastguard Station!!!!! (Oh and a toilet block!) we know what it is, best start planning to move in I guess?

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Lego Coastguards

....Blimey Lego think of everthing!

Who needs training when we can practice online.

Leaving our shores

Im sure many of you saw on the television the departure of the QE2 from Southampton for the last time.

The ship certainly flies the flag for this country and its such a shame to see it go for the last time.

Whilst I never got the chance to go on board I remember the ship back in 1982 when she was returning from the Falkland Island, for some reason she sat off Swanage before taking the troops back up the Solent.

A memorable moment for many Im sure.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Please Sir, may I have some more......

This week the brickies have run out of bricks, so had to beg the foreman for some more; luckily there was a delivery of fresh bricks at 7:30 this morning.

Interestingly enough we are using Swanage Bricks which are made in Swanage; very sustainable.

Just to make it more exciting they ship them to the main company up country, who then ship them to a distributor, who in turn sends them onto a depot, who deliver them back to Swanage.

How organised is that!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

The Galley

Visitors to the current building will know what a huge kitchen we have at the moment! Lets see its a shelf, a fridge and a kettle......well, this is the start of our new kitchen area, yes total separate from the vehicle and other things!

Not sure about the tap being in the middle of the kitchen but I guess we are lucky having water!

Monday, 10 November 2008

The Parade

We do like the annual Remembrance Parade its a time for reflection and to put on our best uniform.
The Station Officer (cleverly grown for the photo!) and John Bentham.

The DSO looking grand...........

Tom looking proud in his new hat.

The formation needs a bit of work, but we do all look smart and proud to attend.

Sunday, 9 November 2008


This year is 90 years since the end of the 1st World War, many Coastguards lost their lives in that war, the following is taken from William Webbs "An Official History of HM Coastguard"

The Coastguards who went to sea in the battleships of the Royal Navy had an unhappy experience. They had to serve mostly in old reserve ships which were no match for the ships of the German High Seas Fleet or their U- boats. The vast majority were never to return to their wives and families in the Coastguard Stations around the coast of the United Kingdom.

Many of the Coastguards had been drafted to three old cruisers of the 7th Cruiser Squadron, Cressy Aboukir and Hogue, which had been based on the Nore, 'to ensure the presence of armoured ships in the southern approaches of the North Sea and eastern entrance to the channel and to keep the area clear of enemy torpedo craft and minlayers'. This patrol had been maintained since the outbreak of war. Because the weather was so bad in September 1914 their destroyer escort had been withdrawn as it was reasoned also that no German U- boat would be able to operate in it. On the morning of 22 September disaster struck these three old cruisers. The German U-9 commanded by Lieutenant Weddigen came up with the cruisers which were steaming at a steady 10 knots and not bothering to zig zag. The Aboukir was stuck by a torpedo and sank in 25 minutes. Hundreds of men were in the water and the other two cruisers came to a stand still as they lowered boats to pick them up. This was a fatal error for, first Hogue and then the Cressy were sunk. In less than one hour one submarine had sunk three battle cruisers. Out of 2200 men on board these three ships more than 1400 were drowned and most of these were Coastguards. Others were young cadets from Osborne who had been posted for safety to these old ships.

This was just one sad occasion that men from HM Coastguard lost their lives.

Today we shall be remembering all those in the many conflicts around the World past and present who have lost their lives for the freedom of others.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Latest Podcast

The lastest MCA Podcast has some good bits on the Dover Coastguard spotter aircraft and the Coastguard Helicopter, see it at

You never know the Swanage team might be able to produce its own Podcast next year!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Swanage Brick

These are Swanage bricks, made at the brick works at Godlingston. This will be the final finish of the exterior of the building and I think its fitting that our building is using materials from the local area.

Yesterday my lesson's on building continued when it was explained the cement used is angled so the rain water comes off and doesn't sit on the brick(now I thought it was just a case of lay a brick and slap the cement in...wrong!!!).

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Site Visit

Today was an official site visit to discuss the project. After the meeting it was a chance to get into the building to see how things were going.

This is the office, (small amount of work to be done here!)

This is the front door, kitchen will be to the right.

Roof is being fitted so at least the site is now covered and gives a little protection from the weather.

Rogue trader standing in the vehicle bay.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


The Coastguard have used 4 main types of Pyrotechnics for many years, Orange Smoke, White Stars, Maroons and Para Illuminates.

Over the years there uses have become less and less due to technology being improved, for example pagers instead of using maroons, night vision equipment instead of Para Illuminates.

These items also have a shelf life of only 4 years and it was found that many were not being used so along with safety issues (they are a little dangerous in the wrong hands) the Coastguard have with drawn the use of all items except the orange smoke.

So there is another chapter in the history of the Coastguard closed, we will for the time being still be collecting old flares from the maritime community, but even that could change in the new this space.

Please can we also highlight around bonfire night that it is an offence to fire maritime distress flares when not in danger, every year the Coastguard spends time following up flare sightings and it could divert resources from a real emergency.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Mean while at the site

The walls really are going up at the site, the roof also appears to be on.

Sadly I couldn't find the site manager so couldn't go and have a close look today.

I like the little wall by the site the office!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Building Re-design

...can your mate re-design it to accomodate our new vehicles?
Jetski, Quad bike and Kayak!

The final design?

With the lack of photos of the current state of the building a friend of mine decided to take the matter into their own hands and design the final look for the new station! (they said they were fed up waiting)

Clearly some people have to much time on their hands for a start, the MCA could have saved a fortune by getting someone to design the building out of Lego and lastly perhaps we could have built the new station out of Lego then we could have changed it from time to time?

I'm told that the person in the picture is me with a cup of tea in my hands and a pair of binoculars!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

How to lift the floor in

This is how they lifted in those large concrete slabs, not the easiest of tasks.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

The building

Sorry, but I haven't got a photo of the brickwork going up but I can assure you that it is.

The project is about two weeks behind due to the problem with the floor.

Hopefully I will get up there this week to get some pictures.