Sunday, 31 May 2009

Kayak V Canoe

Right this one’s for the boss. The difference between a Kayak and a Canoe.

I won’t go into long complicated descriptions, it’ll only confuse him. See if you can spot the difference readers:-

Above :-A Canoe

Below :- A Kayak

See its easy, peasy.

And this is a ........

Chief Brody: “You're gonna need a bigger boat ...” moment

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Blues & Two's

The other day when our vehicle was going through town to a report of a male stuck on the cliff, a wife of one of team overheard a conversation in Boots, " Do they have to use those things" referring to our blue lights and siren".
She bit her tongue and didn't say anything on this occasion, however I will,

The use of the blue lights and siren is given to the Coastguard to aid our progress to an emergency. It does not exempt us from the high way code and in fact we do not get all the allowances that other emergency services do.

I'm sure if it was your loved one stuck on the cliff you would like us to attend as quickly as possible.

And finally next time you drive down Institute Road in your car, see how many people step into the road, as an emergency driver this is very scary hence the use of the siren to warn people of our presence.

Our team are fully aware of the uses of the siren and blue light, its factory set so we cant turn it up or down, its there as a warning to others and the team are instructed when and when not to use it.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Caption of the week?

A little picture from last week, I cant remember what I had just done, but I was smiling about something. I'm not sure why Austen is holding his head, may be I had just poked him in the eye?

Anyway I see Deputy Blog has again got a survey I'm not getting another biscuit ban!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Another day out

A couple of days ago, Pip asked me if it was possible to help lift a few boxes.

The plan was to move the Southampton Sector Office to Lee on Solent.

On arrival yes there were some boxes to move (once they had been packed!) and then a few cupboards, then a drive across Southampton and Portsmouth to Lee on Solent.

Thankfully we didn't have to unpack them at the other end!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Catamaran versus Cata-Meringue

Yesterday at 14:01 the Patrol were called to a ‘Catamaran Dinghy’ which had sank – apparently someone had forgotten to put the drain bungs in, oops- easily done though. Most of our calls come between 14:00 and 17:00 at the weekend hence why it’s sensible to put patrols out.

The Police RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) assisted in towing them slowly back to shore to meet with the team who checked everyone was ok. The Catamaran was drained of water and probably ready to sail again in ten minutes.

For those of the non-nautical mind a Catamaran is a double hulled boat, not to be confused with a Cata-meringue Which I assume is a boat made from whipped egg whites and powdered sugar. I’d also assume that such a boat might taste nice and would float initially, but doubt it would survive more than a force 2 sea. (You would not believe how many people call them Cata-meringues - always makes me laugh!)

Below: A Catamaran

Below: A Meringue

Monday, 25 May 2009

Chippy Chips

Yes, we'd been on Patrol for a whole hour before someone got the munchies. So it was off to Middle Beach Cafe, Studland.
Above: Austen eating chips in a very aggressive manner.

Sunday, 24 May 2009


After the helicopter training the other day we returned to the station......for coffee !

However with an hour to go I got the team to rig the equipment for a breeches buoy set up, this was the traditional method of recovering people from a shipwreck close to shore and before helicopters.

Whilst the equipment for that has been removed a long time ago, it is still possible using today's modern rope rescue equipment to have a similar set up.

Using a tree as the pretend boat the equipment was rigged to enable the rescue strop to be pulled out on the line and then back. Whilst I doubt we would ever use this set up, the exercise was done to demonstrate using the equipment in a safe manner and for slightly different reasons.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Beach Wardens

On Monday we invited the beach wardens to the new station for a beach safety workshop.
Having started the day with coffee and a tour of the station, we went through what the Coastguard do, plans for this year, what we can do to improve safety on Swanage beach and various other bits.
We ended the morning with a certificate presentation by Cllr. Alison Patrick.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Yesterday Incident

Residents of Swanage probably thought we had gone a bit mad last night, one minute we were heading up to Durlston the next we came back down the hill and headed up to Chapmans Pool!

Well the reason was this......just before 6pm the IRT got paged along with the Station Officer and Deputy Station Officer, the brief was simple, 999 call to Police from a male saying he was stuck in a bush on a cliff!

Right where do we start looking, the man could see 3 boats.......lets try Durlston.

Off we went, meanwhile our Operations Room in Weymouth were busy tracing this chap, the Dorset Police Helicopter had got airborne as Rescue 106 was on another tasking.

Portland Coastguard talking to man and Police helicopter, man can see helicopter....not in Durlston but Chapmans Pool......St Albans Coastguard on route, Swanage Mobile turned around and head up to St Albans to back the team up.

Arrive on scene (on top of cliff) St Albans team at the base trying to get to the man, despite a very good attempt they just couldn't get to the man so Rescue 106 (now available) was tasked and lifted the man to us waiting on the cliff.

Returned to Swanage and reunited man and wife and got a VERY big thank you.

Happy Station Officer, good job by Portland Coastguard, Dorset Police, St Albans Coastguard and the Swanage Team.

Thursday, 21 May 2009


As we said yesterday on Sunday we had a breakfast at the station. It was a chance for the team to relax and chat and put the worlds problems into order.

One game that was played was an Easter egg hunt.......!

This is an early training technique that we give new recruits to do , learning how to to search for missing people....... missing chocolate eggs, missing people, same principles have to be used to find them!

The above picture shows the search going on, even Mrs Kitching was desperate to join in.....thanks John for sorting this out.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Tilly Whim

As part of our survey of caves and old quarries, John, Austen and I visited Tilly Whim Caves at the week end.

Wearing full safety equipment we checked the conditions of the cave entrance and clearly despite being closed to the public since 1976, there have been many visitors to the caves.

So why did we go and have a look? Well due to the number of visitors we will before long have an incident in or close by so we have to have a good idea of what we face if we were to enter the complex. There has been some big cliff falls (hence the reason for the closure) so our advice is to not enter for safety reasons.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Big Kids

Meanwhile over in Poole a new play area opened at Whitecliff.

But what’s this got to do with the Coastguard???

The Whitecliff Recreation Ground is situated close to Poole Hospital and is the designated landing area for the Coastguard Helicopter. The play area has been refurbished with play equipment in the shape of guess what….a helicopter!!!!

Image: Borough of Poole

So an ideal PR opportunity for both Borough of Poole and the Coastguard….. and more importantly a great day out for the kids.

I know everyone was dead chuffed with the Sector Manager, Poole Team and the Helicopter crew for sorting this out. It looks like they are having fun (The Coastguard Helicopter Crew!!!!)

More great photos below.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Austen's Birthday

It was Austen's Birthday on Saturday, between Austen and I we could'nt work out if we were 37, 38 or something else....who cares!

So on Sunday at family breakfast we had a little party for him, clearly he thought it was fancy dress!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Get the point

The Sector Manager asked if I could go and collect some new stakes from a local engineering firm.These are replacements for the rope teams in the sector. Over the years they wear down and the tips get bent or the weld cracks on the head of the stake.The tips are mighty sharp

Saturday, 16 May 2009


I mean of seaweed of course!
With the strong east wind this week, large amounts of seaweed arrived on Swanage Beach (and a fair amount of sand went up Victoria Avenue!)

The contractors worked hard to clear it in two days.

Friday, 15 May 2009


By my reckoning I have served my biscuit ban, so I thought I would treat myself.

Ha ha I found them all and made up for my ban.........crumbs every where.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.....

It’s not a job we would get called to on the sunny Dorset coast, but made good reading..... Man on Surfboard rescues Kangaroo from Hammerhead Sharks.

“What’s that Skip, man eating sharks in the water?”

Glad there was a hoppy ending to the story!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


As you can see from yesterday's blog, we went back to Old Harry to train on Monday night.

Old Harry was where I learnt my cliff work many years ago, back then we went most Sunday mornings to train then off for a bacon sandwich at Middle Beach. With busy lives and shift work its hard to go every Sunday and there are many other things to be done.

Old Harry is good to practise on, its about 90ft and being half a moon its good for me as I can monitor the cliff technician as they descend the cliff.

The purpose of Mondays training was to start getting some others over the cliff and start their technician training ready for their assessments by the Sector Manager shortly.

First Austen went over to "test" the cliff.

Then Brian went over.

Nothing fancy, this was the team lowering each person, then winching them back up.

Next up Gareth.

So the next stage is for the cliff technicians to have control when they go over the this space.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Cliff Exercise Video

Keeping fit

This could be the way in future the Coastguard carry out their patrols!

Here Brian shows how with his rescue suit tucked in his socks and still wearing heavy boots, it is possible to cycle.

I will be discussing with Brian, the lack of head protection and of course we will ensure all members of the team have their cycling badge before heading out.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Working together

Yesterday when the patrol was out, we found a little incident on the hill.

The land ambulance couldn't get near the male with chest pains, so the crew requested the air ambulance.

Thankful we have have most keys to gates in and around Swanage and if we don't have one and urgently need to gain access, we have a very special key for every lock going. The downside of using the "special key" is there isn't much of the lock left and a bill to replace the lock!

Thankful on this incident we had the correct keys!

Sunday, 10 May 2009


This morning a training exercise was arranged to demonstrate what we do to Dorsar.
Dorsar is a volunteer group that search for missing people around Dorset.

Nice day for a cliff exercise and busy out at Old Harry.

John Bentham descending down the cliff.

Members of Dorsar watching.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Dont Panic

Like a scene from Dad's army, our very own Corporal Jones, a.k.a. Tom Simmons, shows what would happen if this Country ever was threaten.

Yes CRO Simmons would be the front line, fear not.

Thankfully Sgt Rockett was on hand to show Tom which end of the gun to hold!

All he has to do now is point it in the right direction.

Day 2 of war games at Studland is tomorrow at Fort Henry.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Paper work

Some of you may remember the desk at Peveril Point?

There was about a dozen files (damp & covered in black soot!)

Now 4 months on, big sort out and a few projects started.....

And its growing......(The number of files not the cabinet!)

Thursday, 7 May 2009

A little tale

I heard a little story yesterday........

It was about 4 people who took a boat to the Isle of Wight,
It was going well, a little rough then bang.

Checking the boat over they found the fan belt had come off,
O dear........its rough and the boats drifting,

Make a call to Sea Start (the water equivalent to the AA or RAC)
Call the Coastguard and advise them, but give the boats name not his own.
Lucky that no one heard his voice.
It wasn't me before anyone asks!

Just being a member of the Coastguard, doesn't stop you having problems.
Sea Start arrived, fixed the belt and a good weekend was had by all.

In fairness it wasn't his boat and it was done all very safely, it just made me smile that even the experts get it wrong sometimes .......I won't say who it was but check the labels!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Mountain Rescue

Deputy Blog is in Snowdonia.

Today he played spot the Search and Rescue can play too. Fair play to this pilot chap 'cause walking in the clouds was dangerous enough let alone flying.

Sunday, 3 May 2009


What is Tombstoning?

Tombstoning involves jumping or diving from a height into water, and its getting more popular with youngster around the country.

The facts are simple:


So its something we are taking seriously this year and the patrols in Swanage will be working with our partner agencies to reduce the risks and advise people who are taking part in this dangerous activity.

Things to think about........

Water depth alter with the tide:

Water may be shallower than it seems:

Submerged objects like rocks may not be visible:

Cold water may make it difficult to swim:

Strong currents can sweep people away:

Alcohol, drugs or peer pressure affect judgement:

So please talk to your children and friends.......The MCA has put a short pod cast on its web site and shows an interview with Nick Biddlecome. Nick bet 50p and a cigarette he wouldn't jump first, sadly Nick is paralysed now after breaking his neck.