Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The axe

I'm sure you are aware of the Governments budget last week and although we are volunteers we are an Agency of the Department of Transport so were expecting some impact.

After several comments from the public in the last few days, I think it would be best to explain what is going on and to assure you all the Coastguard (at this time) haven't been closed down.

Its probably easier to start with what we can do.

We are still an emergency service and will respond to maritime and coastal emergencies.
We can still exercise
We will still prepare and check the equipment to ensure its ready for service.
We can attend to do limited school talks

What we can not do (even voluntary or on foot)

Patrol (accident prevention)
Public Relations (fete's carnivals and other things we do for the town)
Attend meetings where we represent the Coastguard.

Its early days yet on this new way of doing things, but I would like to reassure the public we are doing the best we can to continue the work the Coastguard do, this is just not local this is every Coastguard Station in the Country.
Please continue to use the 999 system to report incidents or concerns, your role in this is very important.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Odd things

No end to the talents of the team, Mrs B wanted to check out her new tent last week at the veteran's weekend. Six team members inside whilst Gareth helps on the outside.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Sad News

There is a lot of things happening in Coastguard World and this will come out in the next few weeks, however one bit of news we need to tell you about is that our boss "Pip Hall" is leaving us next week to move to Devon.

Pip (pictured above showing us how to walk like a robot" has been the East Dorset Sector Manager for 6 years, during which he has been a driving force moving the Coastguard into the modern world!
His support in getting our new station was super and he has always been at the end of the phone for us when we needed support. Life can not be easy for a lonely Sector Manager, having to tow the party line and present the details to 48 Coastguard Rescue Officer who all know better could never be easy, yet Pip carried this out to full (usually food helped soften the blow).

So I hope everyone will join us in thanking Pip for his time in our area, East Dorset is losing a very skilled manager, East Devon is gaining one.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Parachute Flares

Immensely powerful for their size. 

Training last night was to demonstrate and then fire parailluminates (flares) safely. Gloves, safety goggles and ready for action. Oh... we told Portland Ops Room before we did!

In the days of budget cuts it was a case of using up the flares before they went out of date and have to be decommisioned. A total of seven 999 calls were made into the Ops Room. The callers were thanked for calling to report the flares and an explanation given.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010


Another photo from Dave Gough, dated 1981 the lookout when it belonged to the Coastguard

Monday, 21 June 2010

That Hurt

I didn't know at the time that the incident on Ballard yesterday involved my god son! Whilst out with his older brother somehow he had gone flying over the handle bars and landed on his back.

The picture above is the remains of his helmet after the back section snapped off on impact. Thankfully 5 hours later he was released from Dorchester and this morning is rather sore.

When we visit local schools we explain how important it is to wear a helmet when cycling or climbing , its so important and saves lives.

Ballard Down - Cyclist.

Some video footage taken yesterday once the casualty was safely aboard.

More on this job from Ian later today.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Busy Day

Austen & Terry have had a busy day , more on this story tomorrow

The Old Days

This wonderful picture was passed to me by Dave Gough the previous Station Officer of Swanage Coastguard. Taken in 1981 when Coastguards were grown up and I was in shorts!

This was before the old station had its extension and Swanage had two landrovers with winches on the front

O how times change!

Friday, 18 June 2010

People we have to work with

Swanage has lots of people in the back ground making it clean and tidy and Dave above is just one of those along with his staff.

There is no better way to say this but his company cleans the towns toilets and thats why we have contact with them as they clean the public toilets on the end of the building.
(Which they do to a very high standard!)

Sadly this morning Dave forgot who he was supporting (im told there is a football match tonight?)

##Call that a football match?? My mum plays better in midfield ## Deputy Blog~~

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Helicopter Cuts

Government makes £9bn of cuts, and it's only the start!

The government has started to wield its axe and has cancelled 12 projects worth more than £2bn and put on the back burner a further £5bn of expenditure agreed to by the previous Labour government since the start of 2010.

Looks like one of new government’s cuts will be the suspension of the new Search and Rescue Helicopter’s Project in attempt to save £4.6bn. Still at least it has been suspended rather than cancelled!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Helicopter Rescue

Mr Bowerman up at Godlingston Farm kindly turned out to help us the other night. He's put this video up. He's also got a calf that lives in his kitchen ...more on you tube.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Proper Job

Part of one of the WWII machine gun emplacements over at Peveril Point has collapsed so we thought we better have a look from a public safety point of view.

Ian stuck on the cliff harness, avoided the dog poo, and climbed out to take some photos. Whilst the drop is only a couple of metres we thought we'd best do things properly.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Ian's Biscuit Rescue

Above: Where are those biscuits?.... I was told there were some jammy dodgers under here.

I'll explain what he was actually doing tomorrow.

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Friday Night

The IRT, Austen and I were called just before nine to a young chap who had collapsed on the path leading up to the Obelisk. From the information given South West Ambulance were already on scene (...a local crew of Ian and Tam) who required assistance in extracting the casualty. On arrival at scene it was apparent that the casualty was located half way up the path which many of you may know is one of the steepest paths in the area. It’s one of those places where you say ‘oh no, not there!’

A quick risk assessment was made where the judgement call was that we would need at least 8 team members to carry the casualty down a particularly steep and rocky slope in the dark, and then a road extraction by ambulance taking another 30 mins. Weighing up the risks to the casualty and team members the operations room at Weymouth requested assistance from Rescue Helicopter 104 from Lee on Solent. A good call.

Within 15 minutes Rescue 104 was on scene, dropping off the lineman and winchman to assess the lift which would be tricky given the terrain. Three lifts were made at what I would consider fairly close quarters , firstly the paramedic equipment, then Tamsin the Paramedic, followed by the Casualty. (To be fair Tam wasn’t too happy to be winched into a helicopter by a strapping young winchman but after a lot of protesting she agreed to go ;-)...well done! )

The casualty was screened from the downdraft by the team including one of the school’s helpers/teacher who frankly did a cracking job looking after the lad throughout the entire process. Sadly I didn’t get her name but it was fair to say she was particularly cool under pressure and gave the chap reassurance throughout, even when being thoroughly buffeted by downdraft and grit. It’s great when you get a member of the public prepared to get involved and help like that, thank you. Naturally Swanage Coastguard team wish the young chap well and he’s welcome to pop over the station any time. Thanks also to winchman ‘Simon’ who’s compassion and straight talking helped allay the casualty’s concerns about being winched.

Back to the truck and a smile and a laugh thinking that was an exhilarating night out and far better than watching France v Uruguay, with those inferno vuvuzelas. Meanwhile Ian the paramedic had to drive to Poole to pick up his colleague.

All in all a textbook operation.
Photo's later....

Friday, 11 June 2010


A quick "sorry" to the residents and holiday makers of North Swanage who have just had their quite Friday night disturbed by Rescue 104 and Messrs Rockett and Kitching!

A young male suffered a medical condition on the pathway close to the water works at Ulwell and required to be airlifted.

More to follow soon.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Parking Problems

Cor blimey I would have hit the roof if this happened to me on a job!

Fair play to the shop manager who helped sort it out.

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Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Rescue video - 03/06/10

Some footage of last weeks rescue taken by our colleagues on the Swanage Inshore Lifeboat; thanks chaps.

They arrived on scene first and were able to reassure the casualty while the Coastguard cliff team were deployed. Cliff Man John Bentham did the honours.

From the lifeboat it doesn't look too high, trust me it was! I was standing on the edge working as one of the Cliff Top Safety Officers monitoring John and the casualty and thought "mmm...that's a long way down".

Monday, 7 June 2010

Sunday Shift

A busy day for Austen and Steve yesterday. A diver in the morning, some more divers and a collision in the afternoon.

Details of incidents can be found on the main website.


Although this blog is now becoming the main website? Anyway extracts copied below:-

The IRT were tasked to Swanage Pier after a diver was reported ill. A local diver boat skipper was treating the female and had requested a helicopter due to her condition. The female was airlifted to Dorchester hospital.
Tasked: IRT + Rescue 106
Team: A. Rockett, S. Lacey

Above:- Austen and Steve with lifejackets onboard Swanage Diver helping the helicopter winchman lift the diver to the hyberbaric chamber for recompression. (Also known in diver parlence as 'The Pot' or being 'Potted')

06 Jun: Just as the IRT finished the airlift, another report came in of 5 divers overdue from a dive around the pier. A quick search by the IRT soon located them at the other end of the pier.
Minor Incident +
Team: Not required

06 Jun: The IRT were tasked to Knoll Beach after a jet ski hit a trimaran off Studland. The rider of the ski had a serious leg injury and was airlifted to Poole Hospital whilst the yacht was escorted into Poole by Poole Lifeboat.
Tasked: IRT + Rescue 106, Poole Lifeboat
Team: A. Rockett, S. Lacey

So a busy day, and naturally we all hope everyone involved makes a speedy recovery.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Meringue Bandit

Some people just can't get enough meringues.....

It was team member Rid's (..and his twin Ashley's) 21st birthday bash. A great night out.

Who ate all the meringues?

At one point we thought Terry was having a seizure but it transpired he was throwing shapes on the dance floor... He was quickly escorted from the floor in his chair.

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Saturday, 5 June 2010

Beer Goggles

Probably the funniest photo of the year so far?

Today we attended a fun day for Purbeck Housing Trust in Wareham where there was a driving game with a difference. By wearing this special glasses, it makes you drive like a drink driver.

Now there was only one problem, the glasses actually made Austen drive better!

Sadly I didn't get a go as we got a call back in Swanage.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Never a good time

Its not every evening that its your wedding anniversary so nice meal and the pager goes off! Phone your deputy only to find out that hes currently out of town and will be delayed, oh heck

Well after 15 years business as usual then! explain to the owner of the restaurant that I would be back to pay the bill (its a good thing most people know us in the town!) and out to be ready to be picked up by the team.

A local policeman stopped and offered a lift and some advice on the non payment of my restaurant bill!

Team turned up picked me up and gave the standard amount of abuse, as I'm normally telling them off about not wearing PPE! Thankfully we carry spares in the vehicle just in case, even if they are on the large side!

Job done and returned to station for more abuse ......does anyone know a good florist!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

BBQ = Cliff Job

A couple of weeks ago I wrote on this blog....

"We'll probably get a job tomorrow as we're planning a BBQ. Out of four BBQs last year the pager went off three times....."

Well tonight we had a BBQ and guess what...yup a cliff job.

Happens every time. More tomorrow, we'll all a bit cream crackered.


After shamelessly plugging the biggest and best festival in Corfe Castle this year which starts tomorrow, its back to normal business.

Below is a Z Drag. It's a rope configuration that allows the team to haul a person up the cliff face without putting in a winch. The drag works much like a pulley system and gives a mechanical advantage of three. In other words the load feels lighter although you have to pull the rope three times as far, or is that 3 times less far? Even I'm reading this thinking.... ' is that right' and can't work out the maths, but trust me it does work. They even hauled me up the cliff with it! Actually that's a complete lie as they used the winch which was almost smoking when I got to the top (Only joking MCA Safety Bods it definately wasn't smoking)


This photo wasn't taken for the blog as such but rather a training aid so that we could demonstate this on our 40inch plasma HD TV in the training room, if we had one.

It would be great if we had such a training aid as we could do lots of 'training' over the next 5 weeks or so. The lads could come down for say, I don't know 90 minutes or so, and 'train' everyday.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Malcolm and CorFest10

The boss, said no more Malcolm the Gingerbread Man. Apparently unless he was giving proper Coastguard Safety advice he wasn’t needed; he was given his P45 and booted out, all alone in the driving rain, one cold night.

But since he was banned from the blog and mercilessly booted out by the boss we have been inundated with requests to see him again. (....Well to be fair two people have asked). In fact I have it on good authority that he was requested to make a personal appearance at CorFest10 over the next ten days or so.

Sounds like Festival Fun over at Corfe!

So, anyway the boss says I can do one last story about Malcolm

Above:- Malcolm the Gingerbread Man before the boss gave him the boot.

Above:- In happier days (Still don't know why he wore that necklace but he was a good team player).

Sadly the story involves Wilf the dog who only came to the station and ate Malcolm the Gingerbread man! Wilf you doggy rotter...! I think secretly the boss will be glad that the gingerbread man is a gonna as it was getting too much attention.

After further investigation it appears Deputy Boss Austen 'the Hitman' Rockett was tasked by the boss to ensure Malcolm 'disappeared'. They cooked up their evil plan over cheese and biscuits down at the Ocean Bay one evening and decided to make it look like an accident.

....and that's why Malcolm the Gingerbread man won't be at CorFest10 this year.

The Community

After the call out the other night and after we were officially stood down by the operations room, we were invited into Ocean Bay to warm up by the owner Tim Lightbown.

Tim has always been a great supporter of the Coastguard Team both at Ocean Bay and at the Bankes Arms at Studland, in fact many of our incidents start and finish at his premises in Studland.
Being a very popular location in Studland Tim and his staff see a lot of people visit and its a good place to start when we are searching for people in those areas.
Some years ago after a lady had driven off the slipway at the ferry, Tim invited the team back to the Pub to warm up and recharge our batteries.

So above is Austen enjoying his coffee and biscuits at the bar (networking with Tim!)......support from our community is very important to the team, and we are proud of all our support.