Thursday, 31 December 2009

Where's Wally

One of our team is having a party tonight to mark the New Year, the party is based on the books "Where's Wally".......

Well its simple Wally is the person who is working tonight starting at 10pm and finishing at 7am tomorrow morning, so on behalf of the rest of the team have a very safe New Years Eve and I hope you can remember the start of the next year!

Happy New Year to all our readers!Check Spelling

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

More photos...1134!

Above: Terry's Terryscope

Above: Brain proudly carrying a stretcher

Above: Tom "I say, I say,I say...have you heard the one about the vicar, the nun and the ...."

Above: Rid shivering

Tuesday, 29 December 2009


Above: Austen modelling the ' Baltic 380'

The Lifejackets are back down the station after going off for their annual tests. Whilst these are not used often, they are essential bits of kit that Coastguard Rescue Officers need to board a boat or get close to water. They are self inflating so are easy to use and ‘fire’ when they are submerged. We even wear them on the pier. “Why?”

Well early this year Tom and I were called to a diver in distress who was on a boat next to the pier, I was tasked to jump on board, within a minute it looked like we would have to take the boat out to sea to allow the helicopter to put a winchman on board to pick the chap up. It turned out that the winchman was landed on the pier but for one moment I was going out to sea and I needed a jacket. The bottom line is the situation changes quickly at sea and you need to be prepared.

Take the chaps on fishing boat off Peveril Point last year, they snagged a rock and were pitched into the water. When they came to the surface the boat had gone! Yup in under 3 seconds their boat had just gone. Luckily a yacht saw the incident and Swanage Lifeboat launched and picked them up; the boat was nowhere to be found. Very lucky chaps as they were not wearing lifejackets. When asked they said they were in the lockers and that the life ring was tied to the roof to stop it floating away! (isn’t that the point?) Still at least they went home to their families - but only just.

Often people, be they recreational water users or fisherman, don’t wear lifejackets as they get in the way. Fair excuse, no! If you’ve ever been in the sea drifting for an hour hoping to be picked up (mine was a dive boat skipper fell asleep and forgot about me) it’s a very quiet and lonely place and you get an awful long time to think about family and friends. I had a dive lifejacket . There’s really no excuse for not wearing one.

So stick on a lifejacket, preferably a brightly coloured one, (not a Gucci black one that looks good but no bugger can see!) And equally importantly make sure your crew do too.

Talking of Lifejackets , here’s the November Podcast from the MCA – be warned it’s not very cheery.

Happy Team

Well Eric and Brian think so! This was kit night followed by mince pie....strange I've never seen kit night done so quick??

Monday, 28 December 2009

Stage Fright

You pop round your mates on Christmas Eve for a few drinks and some snackettes, lovely.

After a few cans ( i wasn't on duty) it's time to answer the call of nature. You pop into the little boy's room and steady yourself when you see to the left of you.....

Ian's ugly mug smiling back at you!

It's enough to put you off.

More photos...3

Above: Helivac of cyclist who fell on Ballard Down

Above: Cliff Training Old Harry

Above: Night Working on Ballard - Dog and Owner rescued.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

More photos...2

Above: That chap that got us a new station. In his hand, a selection of biscuits.

Above: Poor old dafodil!

Above: 'Alfie'Dog Rescue with help from St Albans Team.

This was the day that Austen went over the cliff in his full whites, only to be dragged face first through the mud because of my wrong hand signals..ooops sorry again Austen.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

More photos....

Above: Carnival Week

Above: Messing about in boats

Above: The horse drawn MRU

Thursday, 24 December 2009

A Merry Christmas

After the incidents yesterdays, things appear slightly better in Dorset this morning.

A Merry Christmas to all our readers, families, and colleagues around the country

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Working together

Despite the rain, elsewhere in Dorset it was chaos, I hear there were many car accidents , one closed the Upton bypass and the other the Puddletown bypass with 40 plus vehicles.

When I called the Coastguard Operations room in Weymouth this morning, they were tasking many Coastguard units after being asked for help by South Western Ambulance (SWAST).

With permission from the Watch Manager at Portland, I decided to deploy the Swanage Mobile with an Ambulance responder in the vehicle to provide the town with Ambulance cover whilst front line vehicles attended the incidents above.

Yet again it shows how the emergency services come together to assist the public if required.

What you looking at?

Above: Eric and Austen doing some looking.

Over the next couple of days I''ll be putting up some of my favourite photos from the last year, call it a top ten. No doubt Ian has plenty too!
None of them are Pulitizer Prize winning photos, but they do tell the story of the team in 2009.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Kit Night

Kit night tonight at the station, but being December there is an extra benefit for the team, yes mince pies (got to try and get as many up the station as possible and normally food does the trick).

Sadly there has been mutiny in the ranks caused by none other than the Deputy Blog.....

Text from Gareth " Can we have Christmas music tonight?"

Answer "Yes"

"Excellent we can play this years Christmas Number 1"

Answer "No not that one"

"Stuff u I won't do what u tell me!"

Answer " Remember who is the Station Officer"

"Oh OK then"

Answer " Meeting in the office at 7.10"

Strangely nothing further heard!

Saturday, 19 December 2009


My word it's a bit icy over at the station!

Skiddy-skidster for vehicles. It's caused by a spring in the car park that bubbles up.

Thankfully a team member has got a local business to sponser us so we have some salt to put down!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Ian Surface BEM

Yesterday the team attended the funeral of Ian Surface at St Mary's Church Swanage.

Ian was born in Swanage on the 5th February 1938 and during the service we all learnt some bits about Ian's life.

A carpenter by trade he enrolled in the Coastguard on the 20th March 1968, became the Auxiliary in Charge (now known as the Station Officer) in 1975.

Ian was involved in hundreds of rescues around Swanage, many people owe their lives to Ian's skill and leadership of the team. In 1988 the team received a Chief Coastguard's Commendation for recovering a deceased climber from caves near to Anvil Point, this rescue was lead by Ian who was also the cliff man that day.

After the town flooded Ian lead the other emergency services in helping other people out of their homes, for this and the many years of service to the Coastguard Ian received the British Empire Medal.

After nearly 30 years Ian retired from HM Coastguard in February 1998 and continued his excellent work with the National Coastwatch Institute at Peveril Point.

Personally I owe so much to Ian, without him I don't think I would be the Station Officer today. Yesterday the team carried out their duties so well I was very proud of the team.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Pass the parcel

During the speeches, a game of pass the parcel began , clearly Eric was waiting the music to stop hoping he could have the next chocolate......I never did find out who won.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Father Christmas

Look who popped into the station on Saturday!

The main man himself for the Coastguard's Children's party held at the station, plenty of party food, tea for the adults with mince pies.

Just a little thank you to the children for putting up with us!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Who ate too many sprouts?

Above: Prrrrrrarp

Coastguard of the Year 2009 FIX FIX FIX!

Last’s nights award ceremony and gala Christmas dinner (sounds posh doesn’t it) descended into chaos when it became apparent that there had been voting irregularities..Yes good old fashion vote rigging, ....a stitch,.... a fit up,.... a fix. Terrible news. Or was it......

We introduced the Spike Williamson Memorial Trophy last year as an award to the Coastguard who had done the most/best Coastguardy stuff, this voted on by the team. Austen Rockett was a worthy winner in 2008

Well this year’s winner was......drum roll.....wait for it....more drums....Well this year’s winner was Station Officer IAN BROWN!

Above: Ian and Rachel

This year we fixed it, Jim’ll Fix it style.

Ian doesn’t know this but upon the opening of the new Coastguard station back in February we all decided as a team that we would vote for him as he had worked tirelessly to win the town the new building. Seven years I believe he worked on it.

The voting all got a bit messy last night, as a joke Eric had another wind up going where we voted for him, then people were voting for themselves, and then voting for food on the menu...basically after a couple of beers it all got very messy.

Anyway despite it being a complete fix the right man won it. Well done Ian.

Above: The handover.

He may yet make it a double! Yes next week’s kit night will see the introduction of the all new “McVities Muncher award” for the person who has put away the most biscuits over the year. In order to keep the anticipation going I would say there are many contenders, Austen, John, Brian and even myself, however I’d be lying to you.

I think we already know who polished all the custard creams off ! - don’t we readers!

Saturday, 12 December 2009


Coastguard Rescue Teams are volunteers, people who work full time (well most do, Eric fits work in around his holidays) but when their pagers go off will respond to emergencies.

So working down the team, we have a control room supervisor, school maintenance operative, tyre fitter, shop owner, youth leader, retired person!, painter, painter, something to do with water, care worker, planning officer.
So visiting Poole today I was surprised to see Austen, Gareth, Eric and Tom doing some moonlighting.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Christmas Meal

I know everyone's looking forward to the Coastguard Christmas Meal this year.

Lets hope there are no baby water pistols in the Christmas crackers like last all got very messy! Terry started the trouble as usual, aided and abetted by messers Paul Brown and Eric. It wasn't long until they were filled with beer!

Who thought it was a good idea to give Coastguards water pistols after they had consumed a couple of pints!!!!??? A school boy error me thinks.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Hot Tub

Finally after weeks of waiting, contractors returned to the station to fit our new "hot tub".

We felt the garage had room for this addition feature and with enough points saved on the Nectar Card we ordered the all singing and dancing hot tub.

Pictured above the base being prepared

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Sad News

Some sad news over night that retired Auxiliary In Charge Ian Surface passed away. Ian was in charge of the Swanage Team for many years up to 1997 during which he was awarded the British Empire Medal.

Our thoughts at this time are with Chris, Christian and Hannah.

The Coastguard Energy Equation

They say ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’. Well after being referred to as the Christmas Fairy in yesterdays Blog I’ve decided to ‘strike while the iron is hot’.

So here is a photo of a chap who never eats any biscuits, …..well eating biscuits at 4.37am in the morning.

Above: Ian scoffing biscuits

Joking aside after 3 hours of searching a beach on a cold stormy night you need to keep the energy levels up. However applying the coastguard energy equation calculation:-

x-(6/82kcalories)/(temperature/cc)x(R+T)= Y

Where x is constant and cc=Custard Cream, R=Russian, T= Tea.

Resulting in Y, namely the number of hours that Ian could sustain a search based on the energy in kcalories that he derived from the biscuits eaten.

Now, I’m no mathematician or dietician, or even beautician, but from my reckoning Ian consumed a minimum of nine custard creams which when applied to the above formula demonstrates that he had enough energy to continue searching for at least another nine days. It also demonstrates he is not to be trusted around biscuits.

One further finding from our investigation is that I will now be sweeping the vehicle bay for the next 2 months.

Monday, 7 December 2009

The Tree

It was off to the shops last week for the new stations Christmas tree.......

Not quite a large Norwegian pine but still nearly

Only one problem, we were missing the fairy.....problem solved in true Coastguard fashion

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Waldorf and Statler

Following on from yesterday.

In the station we have a large poster of Waldorf and Statler, basically if any one has any gripes (much like the two muppet characters who are always complaining and moaning) they are put up on a post it note and then attached to the poster.

This is a prompt to discuss the grievance at the next session. They tend to be ‘No muddy boots on in the training room’. ‘Someone left the vehicle light on’ and “Who ate all the biscuits”.

So Waldorf and Statler have nothing to do with Terry and Tom; other than the passing resemblance.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Terry and Tom

Looks like Terry and Tom, our very own Stadler and Waldorf have been on the internet again!

I’m so dead for this.

“But this isn’t very ‘Coastguardy’?!” I hear the reader cry.

Well it is sort of, more later of how Waldorf and Stadler do actually play a part!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


After the recent rains, I spent over an hour clearing the mud up out the front of the building, before it ends up inside the building!
However this afternoon it was back to square one! Joy the boating park is back and if anyone wants some yourself.
On a positive note, Southern Electric resolved the issue of the wasn't ours!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The Full Team Page

So what happens on a full team page?

Well rather than the two IRT (Initial Response Team) Members being paged, the full 12 person team is called. The pagers give a very loud audible tone or beep, followed by a voiceover from Portland Ops, Room. One minute you are asleep the next there is a loud beep and a man (who may as well be standing by your bed) saying “Full Team Page- Swanage!”, which is a little disconcerting at in the early hours. Everyone makes a quick telephone call to the ops room to get brief details and the rendezvous point for the team, normally the Coastguard Station. Kiss goodbye for the loved ones and out the door,

The first person at the station unlocks, sorts out the alarms, opens the vehicle bay doors and gets the truck out. He then makes a call to the ops room to say he is on station and starts taking down the full details of the shout – locations, type of incident, numbers of person, weather conditions. As the team turn up at the station they start kitting up with their personal protection equipment (PPE) helmets, coats, boots, radios, etc etc… The Coastguard Rescue Vehicle is then equipped with any extra equipment that we made need depending on the job. This could be torches, search bags, the cliff trailer. Meanwhile calls are being made to team members who may not have heard there pagers; if we can’t raise enough a call is made for backup in the form of the St Albans Team.

The officer in charge – normally Ian or Austen then give a quick briefing of the tasking and the risks and we set off. All in all we can be out of the station in around 8-10 minutes (on a good day) from the actual pager being activated. On the journey cliff harness are put on, torches checked, and more calls made both radio and mobile to ensure the team all meet at the same point.

On scene, a sit-rep call to ops room, another quick briefing and we start work proper.