Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Its not all glamour

Team goes out and rescues someone........well behind the scenes there has got to be a lot of work just to get the vehicle and station ready to do that, and some of the jobs are not pleasant.

Here Austen aka the Deputy Station Officer, lifts the drain covers up at the front of the station.

And discovers the drain is full of mud!


Having cleaned the drains, he then appeared under my desk! (I was doing the end of month paper work and drinking coffee ((I think they call it supervising?))
And just in case you think your eyes are going funny, Ive "smudged" the back of his T shirt....it had something on it that was a little rude for our site!!!!

Ironing Board - The Sequel

Suddenly……..they both came to their senses realising it was just an old wooden ironing board that had been left on the quay. All’s well that ends well!...For all we know the ironing board is still there.

Meanwhile up at the Coastguard station we are minus the truck (Motorised Rescue Unit MRU) which is in the garage for a new clutch. If we get a shout today we’ll have to go on foot, in our own cars or call for assistance from the St Albans Team at Worth Matravers.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Ironing Board - Cappuccino and a floater.

Given the truck had a clutch problem, Austen and Rid had to do a patrol on foot.

Rid was dead chuffed that he had a new pair of overalls, all freshly pressed and ironed, and decided that this was a good day to give them their first airing. Not to be outdone Austen put on his Oakley wrap-around designer sunglasses. What a smart pair! They were ready for action; they were ready for whatever Swanage would throw at them.

Our intrepid officers managed to make it a full 172 yards before they stopped for coffee at Ocean Bay. Rid had a cappuccino and Austen a floater. They sipped their coffee knowing that this afternoon was different, there was an air of uncertainty about it, a breeze of nervousness and a slight whiff of danger; both thought they might be tasked to a dangerous job. Suddenly acting on a hunch they ran to the Stone Quay, well I say ran, they walked quite quickly.

On arrival at the quay they were confronted with a situation that every Coastguard Rescue Officers dreads, no not high cliffs, windy weather, gorse bushes or big dogs, but worse, far far worse …..an unattended ironing board.

Yes folks, a wooden ironing board on the Stone Quay. Now the team have dealt with seals, dolphins and sharks but this was a very different kettle of fish- the chaps would need their wits about them to deal with this situation.

Photo: Lesser Spotted Wooden Ironing Board (Baord rivestente di ferro- di legno, that’s Latin you know! - well Italian but that’s close enough)

This ironing board was of the wooden variety which is most uncommon in British waters. It appeared to be sunning itself on the quay, perhaps waiting for its mother to return from sea. Austen and Rid are experienced operators and knew that they had to approach the ironing board slowly as they can be quiet nervous and will bite if challenged. It is also important to remember that much like grizzly bears you must never get between the ironing board cub and its mother or you might be attacked.

For those readers not familiar with the ironing board it attacks by trapping ones fingers in their folding mechanism. And for the chaps out there …that is why you should never iron naked, …not that a bloke should be ironing as that’s women’s work! (I’m so dead for writing that!).

Anyway what do you do confronted by an ironing board, well you sit very still and try to ignore it, eagle eyed readers will see from the photo that no one is making eye contact. Even the football behind it is trying to move away slowly. Austen and Rid took the view that the ironing board was docile and decided it might be worth trying to catch it. No justifiable reason, they just thought “Hey, let’s catch it”.

Austen and Rid slowly moved in slowly using the ‘pincer movement’, suddenly ………..

More tomorrow.

New comments

We've decided to make the site a bit more interactive.

So from today we are making it easier for people to leave comment; you no longer have to be google member and have a password. Feedback suggests that this has been putting some people off comenting - already we have a comment from Pat in California, thanks Pat.

All comments are moderated as we have had some problems with people trying to advertise for free ....including Manuel from Paella Properties who's always trying to flog us a Spanish timeshare. No thanks chap, I'm sure it is hot and sunny in Spain.
...oh did I mention 'extreme ironing'? More later.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Nothing to report

Well another weekend passes and not much action for the team.

Today the patrol went out on foot rather than in the vehicle, (1) to start topping up their tans (2) to leave the vehicle in the garage until it can be checked.

Austen has put the blinds up in the station, and the kit is all clean and tidy after Wednesday trip out to Ballard. The mammoth task of getting the paper work continues, with new folders for this and that (a future blog!).

We are still waiting to hear when a few of the little "issues" are going to be finished on the building but its not stopping us too much.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Up Terryscope

Terry Thompson’s Telescope - ‘The Terryscope’

The weather has been a bit changeable today, sun, rain, sun, rain etc. so there was little action for the Patrol this afternoon. So Terry got his massive telescope out. – Now officially known as the ‘Terryscope’. Apparently it’s a 90 times something. I don’t know a lot about it but it sounded quite a meaty one.

Above: Terry and his massive telescope.

From Anvil Point we couldn’t quiet make Cherbourg but you could pick out freighters at 180 degrees far out in the English Channel. At 090 degrees Terry spotted a Napoleonic Fort just south of the Isle of Wight.

“Are you sure” I said? “Looks suspiciously like a large barge”
“No, it’s definitely a fort”. said Terry “See, it’s very clear!”

I didn’t argue given that Terry is almost twice as old as me.

We managed to nurse the truck along Studland Beach due to a problem with the clutch…the problem being we have no clutch. You could see walkers pulling funny faces as we drove past them, probably the smell of the clutch. Ahh the smell of freshly burnt out friction linings. A cup of tea was taken at Middle Beach Café – very nice as always. They take good care of us there, at Middle Beach Café. In fact its the best Beach Café at Middle Beach. Sorry for that shameful plug for Middle Beach Café.

Below: Terry fiddling with his massive telescope.

Anyway, as we were drinking our delicious tea a Napoleonic Fort passed by, under tow by a Tugboat.

I couldn’t resist “Oh Look Terry…it’s that Napoleonic Fort!”
“No, it’s definitely a barge”.
said Terry “See, it’s very clear!”

Friday, 27 March 2009

More Photos

Rigged For Rescue - Night Closing In

Operation run under the halogens

Helicopter on scene - Everyone onto 'reds'

Thursday, 26 March 2009


Last nights incident was technically challenging due to the location and terrain.

Whilst the team set up, the next task was to cut a track through this lot! Its amazing what you can do with a spade and a metal stake! (oh and you need a Rid, who attacked the gorse very well). Gareth pointed something out about the countryside act......I quoted the Coastguard Act of 1925.....Coastguard allowed access anywhere to save life (I hope!)

Not the best photo, but this is Eric on the cliff edge, the blue tarpaulin was placed over the gorse on the cliff edge, then Austen just walked over the top of it all and over the cliff to the man and his dog.

Having arrived, and with light fading, Austen confirmed lifting the pair out of the gorse would be to dangerous so Rescue 106 was requested.

If we can get the video sorted, then it will be down loaded on to this blog soon.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Cliff Job

Cliff Rescue this evening, more tomorrow.

Hazards of the night

As deputy blog commented yesterday, the exercise on Monday night was delayed whilst there was a search of the area for offending items!

Nights exercises are tricky enough but having to tip toe round the cliff edge in case you tread in something is no fun, let alone getting the equipment (rope) contaminated.

During an exercise there is time to check, during a real rescue we don't have time to check, and this could of course be a health hazard to some.
So sorry if you are reading this whilst eating, but come on (no doubt the minority) of dog owners and clean up after your dogs.......

Lets keep Swanage clean and tidy.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Training, Dog Poo and Biscuits

Training Last Night

7:00pm saw the team cliff training up on the Ballard Estate. As we only had seven in total we sadly were unable to go over the cliff (8 are needed to do this safely). Given we have not had a proper ‘Cliff Job’ since last May it is even more important that the team keeps its skills upto date.

What made the set up more interesting was the amount of dog poo which we had to avoid. Once again Brian ‘took one for the team’ be treading in the dog poo and then wondering why there was a funny smell that was following him and why the rest of us kept running away.

The set up went well and allowed the SO and DSO to assess and sign us off as proficient on certain parts of the procedure. A good training session all in all.

After an impromptu ‘Dog Poo Inspection’ … “No DOG POO in the truck!” we returned to the station for tea and ….biscuits. As an experiment a packet of super value digestive biscuits were passed around- these known in the trade as the ‘Decoy Biscuits’. Once everyone had a handful the SO suddenly ‘found’ the posh biscuits which he was then able to eat all by himself without interruption from the rest of us. We had been hoodwinked.

Final discussions centred on the team’s work over the next few months, the benefit of a Navtex over a weather station, who threw perfectly good brakes pads in the bin and why Brian had yellow trousers.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Saying Goodbye

Saying those words "Good bye" is never easy, whether a friend or some thing you have been connected to for 18 years.

Today the keys for the old station at Peveril Point will be handed over to the Town Council.

The building was owned by the Coastguard but the land belongs to the Council and in our case the agreement stated the building would be handed to the Town Council when the Coastguard leave.

How did we ever fit in there?

Sunday, 22 March 2009

A few updates

Right, feet back under the desk having spent the last week near Coventry! So yes I really was "Sent to Coventry"!!!!!!)

Thanks to Austen for looking after the station, Austen, John & Tom for clearing the final bits out of Peveril Point.

Gareth for looking after the Blog and chasing the youths away from the new station. (with vocals from Heather.)
Yes we have some good images of the youths round the back of the building...expect a visit soon chaps the hoodies really do nothing for you.

So the mission for this week.

Finish sweeping the front of the station.
Chase up some bits that are out standing re the building.
Hand the keys to Peveril Point station to the Council.

Sunday Patrol

Patrol goes out 14:00 till 17:00 today.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Saturday Patrol

DSO Rockett and CRO Simmons on Patrol Saturday afternoon, all was quiet despite it being busy.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Studland Bus Crash Trial Ends.

Readers of the Blog may remember the open top bus crash on Ferry Road, Studland that hit the national news last summer. A sports cars hit a double decker bus which then overturned.

The Swanage Coastguard Team were tasked to back up the other emergency services by providing assistance in landing helicopters to take the injured to hospital. Given the potential severity of the traffic collision both the Air Ambulance and Coastguard Helicopters were brought in. Thankfully everyone survived.

The Bournemouth Echo are today reporting the conclusion of the court case; see here.


Wednesday, 18 March 2009


A mystery Coastguard (Coastguard X), turned up last night. Suddenly we have new stickers and writing on the back of the trailer. Thanks Chap!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Perry Rescue Line

Coastguards don’t like getting their feet wet. Basically if someone is actually in the water then it’s the RNLI, normally the inshore boat.

Don’t get me wrong were not scared of water, it just we are under orders to leave it well alone.

What we do have is a Perry Rescue Line, or throw bag. Basically you throw the weighted bag at the casualty in the water, and the internal the rope then uncoils. If you’re smart you’ve remembered to hold on to the end of the rope! Then you drag said casualty back to shore.

Above: Bag in storage state Below: Don't forget the wrist strap.

We were given a shiny new one last week and so Brian and I had some practice throws in the car park. There is technique, but its surprising accurate once you get the hang of it. Brian demonstrated his skill by nearly taking my head off at 20 yards.
Tomorrow.....A mystery visitor to the station - 'Coastguard X'

Monday, 16 March 2009

Big Brother

Day 31 in the Big Brother Coastguard Rescue Station. *in Geordie accent*

We’ve had more CCTV professionally fitted over the weekend, this time internally. How many cameras?! (Can't say any more due to security). Still it’s good for security and will no doubt keep Oz, Brian and myself away from the biscuit cupboard.

I can just hear the boss now

“…move away from the biscuits!”

Sunday, 15 March 2009


It took a few weeks but I finally finished it and its now back up at the new station.

Saturday, 14 March 2009


When clearing out the old station at Peveril Point, we removed the cover that had this beautiful fire place covered for many years.

I don't know when the last fire was set in the station, but it certainly was used as there is a lot of ash and soot.

All those years I spent freezing down there and I could have lit the fire!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Red Nose Day

Doing our bit for Red Nose Day........I just hope it stays on and does'nt fly off!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

The mast takes shape

Day two of the great mast construction, saw the concrete arrive.

This has to "set", then the riggers will turn up with the mast and radio stuff.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Charity Blog

Here's an interesting blog...someone who is trying to get around the world in 30 days relying soley on free donations of travel and accomodation gained by using the internet site 'Twitter' and his blog.




He's raising money for 'Charity Water'.

Only 8 days in ..and he's in Pittsburgh, USA. You can donate offers of help or money through his website.

Well done chap.


Training the other night was not just about drinking coffee and eating biscuits.

It started with the usual "things to be brought up", everyone gets a chance to raise any issues then it was into search management, this is a posh word for looking for someone!

We then moved to "how to lift things properly". As shown by our Sector Manager, you go for the little bag of rope, not the big stuff (leave that for the big chaps!)

Having been shown the correct way of lifting it was practice time.....its so important to lift that biscuit and mug of tea to the mouth in the correct order!

The evening was rounded off with Austen showing the team how to clean some of the equipment.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Hero Brian - 'Takes One For The Team!

There’s an unwritten rule at the station when it come to biscuits; you can’t start on the second layer of biscuits until the first layer has been eaten. After scoffing all the nice chocolate and fancy biscuits last training session we were left with a solitary digestive in the top tray.

Despite the box being passed around, no one would eat it because that meant the others got first pick of the fancy biscuits in the second layer. The atmosphere was tense …a sort of Russian roulette of biscuits. Who would capitulate first.

At this point 'Saint' Brian unselfishly fell on his own sword and ‘took one for the team’ by finishing that digestive. There’s a true man for you, the man that lays down his life (or in this case eats the last digestive biscuit) for his comrades. Brian a man who spits in the face of danger.

Suddenly the second layer was up for grabs! There was an instant riot, utter biscuit carnage, ….the scene was reminiscent of David Attenborough’s Nature's Great Events series when he presented those big fat grizzly bears feasting on the 'Alaskan salmon run'.

Oz was quickly in for a couple of chocolate biccies while Ian nailed three smiley faces in under a minute. John went undercover and dispatched a coconut macaroon, while Tom enjoyed a chocolate finger. Rid, Paul and myself battled over a handful of custard creams. The Sector Manager Pip looked on bemused, then went for the kill, a bourbon.

As quickly as it had begun the 'biscuit run' had finished.

The leftovers:

Monday, 9 March 2009


At the end of this week we are due to hand the old station at Peveril over, its looking a little sad now.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

London's calling

On a recent trip to London, by the Cutty Sark is this sign......despite nearly falling off the back of the fast ferry down the Thames I didn't fancy testing the system.

For information, whilst London Coastguard look after the river Thames, there are full time RNLI lifeboat station on the Thames (I think there are 4), there are no Coastguard Rescue Teams.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Street Hawk brought down.

I saw the boss limping around yesterday; he looked a bit sore after falling off his motorbike. Apparently he hit some ice, skidded and then he fell off – technically speaking he didn’t actually fall off as he was still attached to the bike as it slid along the ground. Ouchers! He seems reasonably ok (although I think he's actually more hurt than he's letting on) and I’m told that the bike aka ‘Steet Hawk’ survived – all good news.

Why do I call Ian’s bike Street Hawk?

Well for those too young to remember the 1980’s TV series Steet Hawk –

“This is Jesse Mach (Read: Ian Brown) , an ex-motorcycle cop, injured in the line of duty. Now a police troubleshooter, he's been recruited for a top secret government mission to ride Street Hawk--an all-terrain attack motorcycle designed to fight urban crime, capable of incredible speeds up to three hundred miles an hour...and immense firepower. The Man...The Machine...Street Hawk.”

It might look like a Pizza Delivery bike - but its' so much more - an all-terrain Coastguard Rescue Motorcycle ...capable of incredible speeds upto 62mph (Subject to statutory speed limits)

New Title

The original plan for this blog was to record the daily progress of the new building, however we have always managed to add a little bit more on the general activities of the team.

So now the building is done, we shall continue on the "Life of the Swanage Coastguard Team".

Friday, 6 March 2009

It can happen to anyone.

Before the rumours start.........yes it was me and yes it hurts a bit.

Setting off to work this morning, sun shining, snow still on the hill, approaching the turning to Langton, noticed a man waving...to late bike and rider on its side sliding across the road.

Thankful I wasn't going quick and jumped up (only to slip again) on the sheet ice. The person waving had slid his car into the ditch, basically it was a ice rink.

A passing Ambulance stopped and I thought it best to get checked over, whilst the Police were dealing with the car.

Thank you to everyone who waved or stopped to help, thankfully its muscle pain only so I'm having a day or so off and the deputies are yet again looking after the team.

Snow Patrol

With conditions a little tricky I decided to take a trip out and check no one was having a problem.

Most areas were clear around 11.00am, however Kingston Hill was a little tricky for a couple of large vans and a few small cars.

I few trips up and down in the vehicle , soon has a clear track through to allow traffic to move a little better.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Coastal Snow

It’s snowing again in Swanage! Just tried to get to work and it took 45 minutes to get to Corfe Castle (5 miles) to find an accident blocking the road – I gave up and turned around as I didn’t fancy my chances of getting to Wimborne.

On the radio they said it was ‘Coastal Snow’; I didn’t know that was an official type of snow, I just know big snow and little snow….although I hear Eskimos have 45 different words for snow.

Wikipedia says (so it must be true!) that it's an urban myth about Eskmos having so many words, but then goes on to say:-

“One thesaurus, ..... includes black frost, corn snow,
crystal, driven snow, firn, flake, frost line, frost smoke, granular snow, graupel, hailstone, hailstorm, hard frost, hoar, ice needle, iceshockle, igloo, killing frost, mantle of snow, mogul, névé (not neve), powder, rime frost, sharp frost, slosh, snow banner, snow bed, snow blanket, snow blast, snowbridge (distinct from a human-made avalanche snow bridge), snow-crystal, snow dust, snowfield, snow flurry, snowhouse, snow ice, snowland, snow line, snowpack, snow pellets, snowscape, snowslide, snowslip, snow squall, snow slush, snow wreath, soft hail, spring corn, spring snow, tapioca snow, wet snow, white frost and yellow snow"

But, ‘Coastal Snow’ is not there, ...so I think the man on the radio just made it up!

Monday, 2 March 2009

1st Job - New Station

Looks like Austen and Tom were out this afternoon on the first shout from the new station. More details later.

The Coastguard Prayer

Going back to the official opening, we invited Rev. John Wood from St Mary's Church to bless the new station.

Now there is a Coastguard Prayer, sadly on the day we had mislaid it but Rev Wood filled in the gaps!

So Father, we pray for all those who staff our Coastguardservice, and man our Naval, Merchant and Fishing Fleets; allthose who work in our ports, all lifeboatmen, and for thewhole great family who go down to the sea. Keep themsafe from danger, teach them to know You through thewonders of the deep, and help them to do their duty withkindness, loyalty and faith. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.Amen
Go forth into the world in peace; be of good courage;hold fast that which is good; render to no one evil forevil; strengthen the faint hearted; support the weak; helpthe afflicted; honour all people; love and serve the Lord,rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and theHoly Spirit, be upon you and remain with you always.

Sunday, 1 March 2009


Its the Sector Managers Birthday.....well sort of

See the problem is that his official birthday is the 29th February so despite his looks he's only about 14.

Happy Birthday Boss.