Sunday, 30 August 2009

Friday, 28 August 2009

Coastguard Cuts

When we go out on patrol we are often stopped by people who say:-

“That Austen, he has a rather smart haircut.”

Well today readers we can exclusively reveal that on kit nights, Coral, our resident Coastguard Hairdresser pops round to ensure he maintains his razor sharp appearance.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

New Lifeboat seen at Swanage

What a fine craft she looks, (refering to the craft not Gavin in the boat!)

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Get Lost!

Training last week was based on a search exercise with a few extras thrown in. Now the problem with a search is who is going to go and get small band of regular mispers are beginning to be well known by the team so I had to look a little further and thankfully I managed to find a new helper. The plan was go up to Old Harry and fall off your bike, we will do the rest.

The team found him a little quicker than hoped, luck or skill????

Then Terry took over and gave the team some things to think about based on our incident the other day with the biker.

Thanks to Andy Lyons for helping, his neck is now several inches longer! However shortly after a real search began when it was realised that part of a pair of sun glasses where missing.....thankfully they were found too!

Monday, 24 August 2009


I'm sure many of you remember the 1980's arcade game frogger?

Well those of you too young to know you had to get your little frog across a busy road without getting run over, well in those days this was as good as it got!

So what does this have to do with Coastguard?

After the air show in Bournemouth this weekend, the many craft watching decided it was time to go home, several hundred all heading back into Poole harbour

Only a small problem, a very strong tide and a chain ferry , a little like the frog?

Very interesting to watch, Poole's Lifeboats doing a couple of towing jobs, Poole Coastguard one side and Swanage the other watching this event.

Sunday, 23 August 2009


So there we were at Terry's retirement party last night at Durlston Castle.

A good surprise for Terry who didn't know anything about it.

We were all looking forward to the pig roast that was being prepared outside and then bleep....the pagers went off.

Overdue climbers at Anvil Point, not far from where we were but we had to get the vehicle and equipment first. Having done that we arrived just in time to find the climbers walking towards us, quick check over and then back to the castle just in time to see the end of the presentation. Now we made a small presentation to Terry however due to the call out I forgot to take a picture of it!

Friday, 21 August 2009

The Roar on the Shore (The Bore on the Shore?)

The Roar on the Shore was billed as a World Record Attempt to set off 110,000 fireworks in 60 seconds. These were to be fired from a barge moored off Bournemouth Pier.

A load of us Coastguards, Lifeboats chaps and our families set off to watch this firework extravaganza from the cliffs. This would be good!

Now as it was for charity, I shall be kind. Far kinder than I should be.

It was rubbish. Sorry to say, from were we were standing at ‘Old Harry Rocks’ it was (very) rubbish. There was a flash, and what appeared to be a boat on fire for 3 seconds and the some smoke. Yup that was it.

To be fair I’ve saw a bigger flash and a bang when our oven blew up last year.

Still at least the charity benefited.

Thursday, 20 August 2009


The bike rider from last Sunday's incident being airlifted by Rescue 106. Not easy when close by there are electric pylons.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


Looking like a birthday cake? This was the anti tank mine that the team dealt with the other day, and yes it was still live 60 years on.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Unseen and under valued?

When the PCS newspaper arrived this week, out fell this little leaflet! The PCS is one of the unions for the Coastguard Service and represents volunteer and full time Coastguards.

Some might remember the 'strike action' that some full time Coastguards took over their pay and to be fair whilst the action stopped, the campaign for better pay continues.

So it was a little odd that the union decided to use a picture of our mobile, and we believe Tom! We think it was over 6 years ago as we haven't had the Landrover for that time, what we can confirm is that Tom has put some weight on! Who took the picture, well that again remains a mystery.

So unseen and under valued? Well to be fair yes in a way, having done a fair amount of hours in July mostly on accident prevention and PR, the great British public still do not understand how or what the Coastguard do, a typical question " so where's your boat?" answer, do you mean the lifeboat? "yes" no that's the RNLI, oh so what do you do? .....and so on

So unseen yes until you want us and despite our efforts this remains a hard thing to over come, as a group of dedicated volunteers for a Government Agency we can not really do more than we are already, in July the team put in a massive 420 hours, that works out at just over 37 hours each team member or an extra weeks work on top of every ones normal working week, with 13 in the team we just can not be everywhere.

Undervalued, personally not, ask the people we have rescued or the other services we work with? Pay and conditions for our full time staff may be an issue but to be honest I believe at a local level we are appreciated.

Sunday, 16 August 2009



“Did I tell you I’ve got a new iPhone?” said Terry flashing his snazzy new gadget about.
“Have you?” said I, knowing perfectly well that he had because he told me ten minutes previously and ten minutes previously to that.

“Do you want to know the weather in Honolulu? If you did just ask and I’ll look it for you on my new iPhone with embedded 3G internet.”

You see Terry knows that I should love an iPhone but that I haven’t quite got to the procurement stage yet. He’s also a great wind-up-merchant.

“It takes photos too!...and music…and…and…and.”

In my house I have to get the boss (the wife) to agree before I can purchase one. She says I can have one only if my old one breaks. Well I’ve kicked it down the stairs, dropped it in the sea and sat on it, but it keeps working (that’s the phone not the wife)…so for now I’ll have to wait.

“…or the price of fish in Hong Kong, I can definitely find that out for you now on my new iPhone! with embedded 3G internet”

Embedded 3G Internet… It’ll be an embedded iPhone soon Terry ;-) !!

I’m only envious.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Training ...and a Cold Beer to Finish

Training on Thursday night involved practicing stake holdfasts and a herringbone holdfast.

This is a complicated way of securing the ropes using smaller stakes where the cliff is to rocky to put the large stakes in. The herringbone pattern distributes the load and in reality it is actually a very secure holdfast despite the stakes only being 15cm into the ground; very effective but time consuming to put in.

Then the lifeboat chaps turned up (Dan, Darren, Deasy and Gav) for a bit of banter, watching and teasing one of their colleagues whose engine had failed as he traversed Peveril Ledge in small boat. Poor chap trying to restart his boat while coastguard and lifeboat teams both watched on shouting helpful comments down the mobile phone and waving at him.

Afterwards it was up to Terry’s place for a cold beer/soft drink and some nibbles to celebrate his retirement from the Ambulance Service. His front lounge was full of Ambulance, Police and Coastguards. The neighbours must have been wondering what was going on.

Friday, 14 August 2009

I've got a headache

Above: Miserable old bugger (Only kidding)

It official......Terry finally retired yesterday from the Ambulance Service.

So after training last night we "popped" round his house to share a soft drink and wish him well.

The good news.......he hasn't left the Coastguard

The bad news, that queue at the post office on Tuesday morning has one extra person in it!

I guess with the extra time he has he can use the buses a little more, well it is free isn't Terry?

From the team our very best wishes.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

A little bit of PR

Yesterday Purbeck Housing Trust held a fun day at the Swanage Middle School, one event was the emergency services grand prix. The Police thought they were on pole, however the burger bar soon had their driver in the pits, then telling the RNLI lifeguards their surf board was loose, soon had us cross the line first.

It was a great afternoon, thankfully no one caught me on the climbing wall being beaten by my daughter to the top!

But at the end of the day, advice was given to public on a number of subjects, and if the 10 year old we spoke too is reading, Tombstoning really is not a good idea!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Lucky Puppy!

10 Aug: After a report of a dog fallen from cliffs at Handfast point, the IRT were sent to investigate. On arrival a passing yacht had spotted the incident, picked up the dog and brought it ashore to the Coastguard team and a happy owner.
Tasked: IRT +
Team: E. Hudson, P. Brown

More Here:


Last night Austen and I attempted to put the notice board up outside the station; while Ian gave advice as to the height it should be mounted. He is the boss.

“Higher…Lower….Higher…Lower…” … was like Bruce Forsyth’s Play Your Cards Right.

“What do points make?…prizes!”

Good game - good game….we managed to get the notice board up straight and at a height that Ian can use it!

No doubt he’ll fill it full of informative stuff.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Air Ambulance

Some photos from the other day from Mr T and his snazzy Iphone.

You can see why the team wear safty googles!

02 Aug: As the patrol made its way down the beach searching for the 13 year old, a member of the public requested assistance with a male suffering chest pains. First aid was given to the male and the vehicle was used to transport paramedics on to the beach until the air ambulance landed to transport the male to Poole.

Tasked: IRT + SWAST, Air Ambulance, Dorset Police
Team: I. Brown, A. Rockett, R. Curtis

Monday, 10 August 2009

...or perhaps it is hard work. WARNING UXB!!

Austen and Tom were called to an unexploded bomb (UXB), found by a family in the dunes at Studland on Sunday. A safety cordon was put in place and the Bomb Disposal chaps called. (Royal Logistics Corps)

A full team page was actioned in order that the area could be propely secured before the ordnance was safely destroyed. This involved 8 team members, the National Trust Wardens and the Police Helicopter. We then sat and waited....and waited

Click to view video.

You'll have to excuse the shoddy camera work, the noise in the background is the Police Helicopter.

Once the ordnance was detonated and area checked, we were safe to have a look at the hole! Here's Rid checking it out.

......and then we went home.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Its not all hard work

Austen grabbing a cheeky ice cream on the beach at Studland.

A quiet patrol which was suprising considering the number of people out in the sun.

Saturday, 8 August 2009


I’m on IRT (Initial Response Team) today. Does this mean sitting around all day waiting for a call?

Well yes and no.

On one hand you are limited to what you can do, basically you need to be within 5 minutes of the station, so no bike rides, walks, kayaking or beer in the pub garden. On the other hand you try and get on with life; you can’t sit round waiting for something that might not happen, to happen….if that makes sense.

Yesterday we had a call to a missing child, naturally to minimise risk to the child we deploy quickly. Three guys on station within 3 minutes; on this occasion we were stood down as the child was thankfully found.

We work on an unofficial rota with team members taking turns on two shifts 7.00am to 19:00 and then 19:00 to 07:00. So someone’s on call 24/7 365 days a year.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Missing Child

Full team page this afternooon for missing child. Team stood down at arrival at station as child thankfully found safe and well.

As ever the Swanage Beach Wardens doing a great job this summer.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Our Terry

Many locals will know 'our Terry', well in about a week Terry will be hanging up his Paramedic uniform for the last time after 29 years service.

Just after this photo was taken we were working together again on Studland beach with a male with chest pains.

Its thanks to Terry we are skilled to deal with incidents like that, giving us confidence to get 'stuck in', and making the casualty comfortable until the paramedics arrive.

So it was special that as usual when working with Terry, there is only one way to go.....that's upwards. Terry has a special hand signal when he wants the casualty to be flown to hospital and this is something we will miss.

On a busy Sunday afternoon, clearing a large patch of beach for the Air Ambulance to land is not easy, but another little plan we had worked on over the last few months with the National Trust came into being......job done

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

What you doing?

The other day, I walked on to the station to hear strange buzzing noises.....

I walked around thinking a fly was trapped somewhere and notice the office light was on.....

What the ??????? I found Gareth 'playing' with my toys.
He confessed the strange noise was his attempt of an engine of a s92 and he was planning our next exercise!.....right

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Red Devils

Despite the atrocious weather last Wednesday evening the Red Devils jumped out of a perfectly good plane high above Swanage.

Sadly the weather curtailed the freefall element of their display, but it was great to watch nonetheless. The photos do not do them justice.

Monday, 3 August 2009


Clearly Austen is really open to abuse during Carnival Week, the only thing left for him is to tell us hes taken up hair dressing!

Sorry to any hair dressers that read this blog, no offence is meant in any way referring to Austen as a hair dresser.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

ooooohhhhhhh arrrrrrrrrrr - said the crowd.

More fireworks last night; a really good display put on by the Carnival Committee. They’ve worked hard all week (in fact all year) and it was nice to see it end with a bang! (excuse the rubbish pun). Everyone who walked past us after the show was commenting that it was the best they had seen; so well done to Darren and the Committee.

Organising the fireworks is a pretty big deal, and all the emergency services are always in place should we be required.

At sea were two men in a little boat patrolling a temporary Maritime exclusion zone – to ensure the boats did not get too close to the waterborne fireworks. I say little boat but it was actually a Pocket Battleship – the 9ft plastic ‘Ark Royale-With-Cheese’, crewed by none other than Tom and Austen who have now decided that they want to be in the navy. (They were off duty- Coasties don't do water)

Above: Looking nervous in training the day before.

They understood that their payoff for patrolling this exclusion zone was to be the best seats in the house when the fireworks commenced. The firework organiser (known as the let-er-off-erer) came over to us ask if the safety boat could move further out as it might be too close; “what was that, nearer? want them nearer, down wind” said Ian smiling.

Jonathan Ross (Local Resident) was not here this year so the town had to countdown themselves 10 – 9 -8 wait 10- 9 -8 -7 wait, every year they do it. …get on with it ….3-2-1 Bang! And we’re off!

Above: The ‘Ark Royale-With-Cheese’ moored safely off shore in a fog bank. - No readers it REALLY is in the middle of this lot. We were smiling at this point.

Within 3 seconds Tom and Austen sitting in their exclusive ringside seats, were engulfed with smoke, spending the entire 20 minute performance coughing and spluttering in the thick firework fog. On shore it would be fair to say that this gave us Coastguards much amusement, especially when the waterborne fireworks went off!

Thirty minutes later and Tom and Austen returned to shore, slightly blackened, followed by a funny gunpowder smell. “Austen, have you been on the fake tan?” "BIT LOUD WAS IT!"…“So how were the best seats in the house, chaps?”

…..their terse replies are unblogable.