Saturday, 31 October 2009


Every space was used up during the lastest work at the station..

Not the best place for the chairs in the shower room!

Friday, 30 October 2009


Sorry for the lack of blogs this week, but we have been busy at the station.

For those of you using the recycling centre at the Car Park,you will have noticed the a large container and the vehicle parked outside the station for the last two weeks.

The main task here was to cover the garage floor and stop it being so dusty.

The special coating ready to go down, the garage had to be striped out of all the equipment, whilst the stuff was laid.

Thankfully every thing is back in now

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

New Equipment

Some new bits arrived today....

1) Something called a "paw"
2) A rather large bag to put dogs in when they are stuck over the cliff
3) A dog collar.

Photos will follow when we have worked out what and how they work. The "dog" bag looks great for Christmas shopping!

Monday, 26 October 2009


Volunteer..... a person who offers to do something ; a person who enrols for military or other service voluntarily, not as a conscript.

As Coastguard Rescue Officers we are volunteers, its not our fully time employment, in fact the MCA goes to great pains to explain we are not employees, we are volunteers.
When the vehicle is out and about, the people inside are giving up their time to support the local community and provide a vital service.
So despite being a Government Agency we do this "Coastguarding" more as a "hobby" rather than a job!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

If you go down to the woods today

It amazing what you can find behind some trees these days.

That saddle looks a bit dangerous!

Friday, 23 October 2009


Many of you will know that the Coastguard team have been working hard towards becoming Responders for the Ambulance service as well as being Coastguards. There was a plan to support the Ambulance service, however agreement can not be agreed between the MCA and South Western Ambulance. (another blog one day).

Anyway having worked on the project for two and a half years we aren't seeing our hard work go out the window so yesterday was the official launch of the Swanage Responder Group. Hopefully there will be some official photographs soon but the purpose of this blog was "yes" you saw us in Green overalls on the sea front yesterday having our picture taken next to a shiny new Ambulance (sadly not ours!)

Watch out soon for some more information about the Responder group, there may be some opportunity to join

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Missing miles

When we got back to the station the other night, there was a bit of a mystery!

Every time the vehicle goes out the times and mileage has to be recorded on a sheet, well Eric went to work the mileage out for the trip (Station to Studland and return) equals 66 miles!

66 miles Eric where the ***** did you go ? Come here you clearly can't work it out properly (reaching for the calculator!) er....66 miles?

Eric, which way did you go Studland? Quick trip to B&Q?

Hold on, I think we forgot to put in last weeks patrol, hold on further shouts Tom so did we the week before!

Next months training??......let me guess

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A right bunch of doughnuts

Sometimes we like to bring you other Search and Rescue stories from around the UK. Now I don’t normally give comment, but the 6 guys who thought it was wise to carry their disabled friend up Snowdon are a right bunch of doughnuts.

What gets me is that they just left him on the final climb! …and then went to the top on their own! They then get back and decide he is too heavy and call in the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team!


Photo:-Snowdon on a good day.

The chap was left on the Llanberis Path at Allt Moses the rocky climb up to the bridge. The path can be seen to the left of this picture. A very exposed location! The summit is a further hour so he would have been left about two hours on his own!

Well Done Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Break In

Just been reading on the BBC news website that the Poole lifeboat station got broken in and the station ransacked by the mindless idiot (s).

Any break in to a premises is bad enough but to a organisation that saves lives is just sick, perhaps when the offender(s) are caught perhaps they could explain to the great British public why they decided to choose this building?

However I guess that breaks a human rights law and they will be protected, never mind the victims of this.....that being the 99.9% of law abiding citizens and volunteers that work so hard to provide this service.

Sunday, 18 October 2009


Whilst there isn't much going on casualty wise, (which is good as no one is getting hurt), work continues ready for next year.

Meeting, meeting and a few more meetings, in fact there are 3 this week!

As well as that the team continues to train and maintain their skills.

The highlight of today was Austen's bacon rolls, the down side......the station has a smell of bacon!

Friday, 16 October 2009


Orange Juice with a straw? Who would drink such a drink.........???

Oh.....That'll be Austen then!
He said he needed to rehydrate after his caving expedition that day, plus to be fair he was driving.

However, neither of above account for the need to have a pink straw!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Can't move

The dinner at a Wareham restaurant went very well last night. I think Gareth was the winner of " who went up to the buffet the most". I think it was 6 times, compared to Austen who says he only went 5. I only managed 4.5 times but thinking about it Eric may have crept up more times than officially counted.
No doubt Deputy blog may have some comments to make especially about one members drink.

Training tonight is slightly reduced due to the fact most of us have eaten far to much in the last 24 hours, something gentle I think.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

It ain't half hot

Rather large fire on the hill tonight.

Sorry forgot to say for the benefit of the health and safety bods at HQ, I was off duty (IE not wearing anything coastguard related other than my pager) I was over a mile away, the fire was travelling in a South Western direction but yes I was standing behind a wooden fence which perhaps wasn't a good idea.

A table for 15 please.

Austen, Eric, Ian and myself are fasting….yes that’s right we’ve given up food today and tomorrow for a very special reason…no not a charity event….but a team excursion to an ‘all you can eat buffet’ tomorrow night. Should be a fun night out for everyone…..and no Ian they don’t have biscuits.

Sadly for us Mr Bentham aka “The Human Vacuum Cleaner” is not coming. I have never seen a man who to eat so much and to be fair he would only demolish the entire buffet.

Lets hope no one does a Mr Creosote!

Above:- Monty Python’s “Mr Cresote”

Maître d' "Ah, good afternoon, sir; and how are we today?"
Mr Creosote "Better."
Maître d' "Better?"
Mr Creosote "Better get a bucket, I’m gonna throw up."

Maître d' "A wafer thin mint, sir?".....and the rest is cinema history!

Thanks for organising Austen!

Did the earth move?

Last weeks detonation of the bomb, caused a few comments to be made.

Why didn't we tell people? - Answer the risk to the public was low as long as they stayed out of the exclusion zone. If the event was advertised then it would be difficult to control the areas closed off.

Some thought it was a mini earth tremor - it certainly made the pier wobble and was felt in the health centre.

But then my thoughts turned to how the bomb got there and did some research on the Internet.
I knew from a local book that Swanage had more air raids than London, reading various reports it seems that Swanage was often the first bit of land the bombers flew over before heading to Bristol or up north to other major cities. Perhaps the aircraft had a problem and turned back dropping its load over the sea.

I guess we will never know, however having seen the results at sea I'm glad it landed where it did!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Acute Ear Barotrauma

On Saturday the IRT was called to respond to a diver in distress. The Diver had potentially suffered an acute ear barotrauma and required a medivac via Rescue 106 (Helicopter) to the Poole Decompression Chamber (Or Hyperbaric chamber).

Lots of technical words in the above sentence, but let me try and explain.

When diving you need to equalise the pressure in your ears as you descend. This is relatively easily done by squeezing your nose and blowing gently until you hear a pop. You continue to do this as you descend otherwise you suffer pain in your ears due to pressure build up. You have probably experienced it at the bottom of a swimming pool. On the way back up your ears normally equalise back on their own accord, but yawning (and yes you can yawn underwater) or moving your jaw can aid this.

In this case it appeared, and I say appeared as I do not have the full details and I am not a diving doctor, just an ex diving instructor, that something went wrong. The chap was unable to clear his ears and this led to a pressure imbalance in his ears. This is incredibly painful - trust me - it really is not good. Best way to deal with it is to descend slightly and take your time coming up.

Often the imbalance causes you to become dizzy (or start to samba), nice feeling but you risk making bad decisions or unconsciousness. In this case his dive buddy who happened to be his wife got hold of the diver and made an assisted ascent with him. From a depth of 30m this was technically difficult and put her at risk, but fair play she played a blinder. Well done.

Given the situation the chap was taken as precaution to the decompression chamber. Hopefully he’ll make a full recovery and be diving again next year.

More technical bits here:-

Note:- and that is why dive masks have a silicon bit by the nose- so you can equalise.


As well as Coastguard stuff we like to tell you about our town. Highlight this week is a revamped Coop store. We now have a self scanning till, which for Swanage is a bit frightening!

Yes, simply scan the barcode and the machine tells you what’s what and then charges you accordingly. “ Apples 42p….Oranges 61p….” All so very clever but we have it on very good information that the machine does have a fault.

It can’t say the word “bananas”…no really it can’t.

….try it next time you’re in town, the machine gets all flustered.

Who says Swanage isn’t an exciting place to live.

(P.S. There are plenty of other stores in town)

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The meeting

Austen and I headed off down to Weymouth and started with a large "fat boy" breakfast to set the day.

Most of the meeting was set discussing various operational issues within the Coastguard Service and I think we ended up having to submit various reports on several issues we have had during the year.

One thing we discovered is that a team at HQ spend time looking over photos in the press and the Internet (I knew someone was reading our blogs and website) to ensure we are carrying out our duties correctly ......we will see how good they are at spotting things then!

Saturday, 10 October 2009


This sunny Swanage morning Ian and Austen are over at a SO/DSO Coastguard meeting at the Ops room in Weymouth. No doubt they will be sitting there eating biscuits talking about Coastguardy type things; possibly jam doughnuts also.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Lobster Rescue

The Lobster is honestly he is....HE'S A BIT DEAF...but ok.

The Ops Room have been taking calls about the lobster from worried members of the public - seriously they have. I'm reliably informed that they've found him a new home. Contrary to rumours the bomb squad chaps did not eat him either.

More info on the bomb story below:-

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

500lb - Lobster Thermidor!

Yes that’s right the Royal Navy have been evicting lobsters. While they were there they found a WWII bomb! What are the chances of that.

They evicted him nicely though - they didn't blow the poor blighter up......or 'rescue him' and eat him afterwards!

Photo: Photo taken by the divers who found the bomb and passed to the MCA.
Well done diver chaps.
More here:-

Top Secret Fishy Business

Something fishy was going on last night.

Tom and Gareth were at a secret location with lifeboatman Tom overseeing something secret, by people who were secret, with secret things in a secret van, from a secret place....

Saying that with the Swanage jungle drums most of the town probably already know!

It sounds exciting but we just sat and drank coffee...sorry I meant kept a watch on the situation.

More later perhaps.

Monday, 5 October 2009

A day out

Last Thursday I had a little trip out to Dumpton School near Wimborne to give a talk along with the Police, RNLI and Fire (well sort of fire, they turned up a bit late, got called out and returned just in time for lunch!)

So why did we get an invite to Wimborne? Well those of you familiar with the lifeboat blog will know "lifeboat John" and this is where John teaches so it was rather nice to be invited along.

Of course the bacon sandwiches were lovely but sadly I couldn't stay for dinner as I had to get back to Swanage.

Driving round Wimborne caused a few double looks from people, the Coastguard in Wimborne? high tide expected?

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Terra Firma versus Terry Firmer

Terra firma is a Latin phrase meaning "solid earth".

Well there wasn’t much of that on Studland Beach yesterday. The wind blown sand across the beach looked picture postcard perfect but it's a right cow to drive on. (That’s a technical 4wd driving term).

(Above: Is that Brian Driving? Yes it's a library photo)

The vehicle which is heavily laden with rescue kit likes to get stuck in soft sand and no-one wants to phone Ian or Aus and say the words “…um I’ve got the vehicle stuck”. Now you wouldn’t actually get told off for getting the vehicle stick but you would get merciless leg pulling and probably win an award at the Christmas meal. Yes you could dig it out but when that fails it’s the National Trust Tractor. Still it’s better than phoning up and saying “…um I’ve disappeared up to the bonnet in sand and I think the front wheels may have come off”

So faced with the impending prospect of the ‘stuck vehicle award” Terry demonstrated how to handle the truck on sand. – The ‘Terry Firmer’ style of driving. Basically shove it in high gear 4wd and with no public around keep the speed up along the beach. If you stop or turn sharply you sink. Not the most comfy of rides but pretty effective. “It’s like driving a boat!” said Terry, and it was with the vehicle fishtailing everywhere.

‘Terry Firmer’ is a Latin phrase to describe a “unique style of driving on sand”

Saturday, 3 October 2009


When we clean, we clean, that's everything off the vehicle and John and Henry get down to some serious hoovering.

Every team should have only took us an hour to get him out of there in the end!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Medicals and CRB

There are two new requirements when recruiting Coastguard Rescue Officers. As of this year; the Medical and the CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) Check have been introduced.

Given the work can at times be intense, everyone needs to be physically fit – no laughing now – you don’t have to be Arnold Schwarzenegger, but capable of carrying out the tasks required. We have all shapes and sizes in the team, some who are better suited to carrying the heavy kit, and those racing snakes that can cover the ground quicker. The medical is there to ensure anyone who would not be able to undertake the work without hurting themselves i.e. those with back problems, heart problems or other underlying health problems are filtered out. It sounds a bit harsh, but it is necessary given that the work can be quiet physical at times.

The CRB check is a bit official but it is there to protect the team members and casualties. Often we find ourselves working with vulnerable adults or children; or with people who are distressed and agitated. The check ensures that everyone within the team has no criminal convictions or cautions that might demonstrate the person was unfit to undertake work with these people. The enhanced CRB check itself is very rigorous, and will disclose everything, and that's absolutely everything, but there’s nothing to fear if you’ve got a clean slate.

Once these are completed to the Station Officer and Sector Manager’s satisfaction you’re in the team.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

So how long does it take to train a Coastguard Rescue Officer?

So how long does it take to train a Coastguard Rescue Officer?

Well it’s a how long is a piece of string moment. Much depends on the person and the skills they join the team with.

For instance a paramedic is hardly going to need any training in first aid, dealing with difficult situations, driving blue light or radio comms…but might need cliff rescue training. Equally a climbing instructor, diving instructor or pool lifeguard will bring different skill sets and have different learning requirements. So when recruiting the experience of an individual and their existing skills are of paramount importance.

On average its takes about 18-24 months from scratch, but this can be much sooner depending on the person, and partly the experience gained from ‘jobs’. That’s not to say a new team member does not become an effective member very quickly; in fact they can make a difference in only a few months.

The nature of the job is that you're always learning, yes even those who have been in the service for 20, or 30 years in one case, still train and learn new skills.