Tuesday, 31 August 2010


Winchman about to lift from Sheps Hollow yesterday

Run Forrest

During the incident on Swanage beach yesterday, the location of the male was unknown so we started a sweep of the beach to locate him.

Halfway down the sea front I met Rick, aka Forrest Gump, one of our beach wardens who said "...shall I run ahead.....?"

"Yes" I replied.

That was the last I saw of him, he just took off and showed the rather slow Station Officer up!

Should of sent him in the other direction, might have stood a chance.

Monday, 30 August 2010

The Figures

Its just taken 3 hours to finish the end of month returns for the team........

For August the team put in 413.5 hours

42 incidents

377 miles driven in the MRU

Thats 81 incidents between July and August

130 incidents for the year so far.

So if you see a Coastguard asleep on a bench somewhere, best leave them!!

Batman and Robin

Batman and Robin (Austen and Dee) have been out in the Bat-truck today and as of 14:00 picked up two jobs. Just to round things off they then went out on a training patrol.

Both jobs involved helicopters in one form or another. The second at 14:00 saw Rescue 106 deploy the winch man to pick up a chap who was taken ill at Sheps Hollow to the north of Swanage. Perhaps more on this job from Ian later.

Another busy day!

Lost anything?

The station had a clean and tidy on Friday, most clothing found a home however names were missing in a few items so we have started a lost property box.

Cant wait to find out who claims the red fairy wings!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Tea for Two?

Tom and Brian at the "Coastguard" beach hut on Shore Road yesterday.....my role was to make tea.

The hut had an excellent view of Punch and Judy so the pair were happy and were only upset when the steady stream of public enquiries came in and disrupted their viewing.

In fairness the team deserve a cup of tea, its been a busy couple of months.

Studland 5k Fun Run

Congratulations to Claire Thompson who, to quote the race commentator, was a '...very popular finsher' in today's race.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

MCA News

A couple of news items from the main MCA web site...

1st a message from the Minister about the bank holiday.


Next comes a serious incident from Cornwall, very similar to the incident we had in Studland Bay where the owners of a boat fell out and didn't have a "kill cord". This incident involves a father and son who were hit by their boat twice.


If you are out this weekend and using a powered craft, please ensure your "kill cord" is fitted correctly.


Well what can be said that's special for the 1000th blog?

The blog was started to show the building of the new station, its gone on to promote the team and the Coastguard Service. Sometimes its funny, sometimes its serious, the English and spelling might not always be correct but we do our best to get our message across.

So to all our readers thank you.

Thank you to all our supporters, the Swanage lifeboat crew, Dorset Police, South Western Ambulance and Dorset Fire and Rescue Service who all work so hard to ensure the residents and visitors to Swanage remain safe.

This blog is dedicated to all those workers who often don't get noticed but this year have worked so hard in testing financial times.

Friday, 27 August 2010


999 ....No not the number to phone in an emergency, but this blog. Yup this is the 999th one which means the next one that Ian writes will be the best one yet...No pressure. Over to you Ian.

Meanwhile I've had a cracking time writing these blogs it's always hard choosing between a funny or serious message. Basically we try to give readers a insight into to highs and lows we experience as a coastguard rescue team. I hope it's entertaining or informative. Hopefully over next few months we'll get other team members to give their insight into what we do.

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Mountain Biking = Helmets

Interesting piece on cycle helmets debating whether they are of use or not.


From the two mountain bike accidents we have attended this year and two the year before I would venture a layman’s opinion that at least 3 of those 4 persons are alive solely because of their helmets. In a crash situation the helmets deform and take the brunt of the accident rather than the skull; if you come off downhill at 40mph like those chaps well it's ‘Goodnight Vienna’ unless you’ve had the sense to wear one.

Normally the helmet is sent with the casualty to hospital in order that the surgeons can see exactly what happened to the casualties head and then work accordingly.

Be prepared

Thursday morning we got called to an incident at Studland along with the Swanage Lifeboat.

Two persons rowing out to a yacht capsized their tender and then the anchor of the yacht started to drag......they called for assistance.

The vital issue here was the weather, certainly the TV weather reports had indicated that the weather was poor, had these two not seen the forecasts?

The pair were lucky, Swanage Lifeboat located them quickly and took them into Poole, our advice....

Check the forecast
Don't attempt night sailing without the necessary skills
Have the correct clothing on.
Wear life jackets
Have flares on board
Don't rely on a mobile phone have a VHF radio
Speak to the Coastguard for advice........its free and may save your life!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Our Water Man

Trying to sort the drains out last night, Brian in action.........
One bucket of mud later and that got the flow going, just wish it would stop raining.

Water Water every where

High Tide at North Beach Car Park, its not meant to do this?

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


Some years ago a baby seal was found on Swanage Beach under the Grand Hotel, with the mother no where to be seen the RSPCA were called in and took the seal to the Seal Sanctuary down in Gweek, Cornwall.

Whilst down there we popped in and asked staff what had happened after the seal arrived.

The pup was fed and cared for at the centre but when the time came to release it back to the sea, a tracker was put.  Sadly having been released the staff at the centre have never heard from Narla again......

However as can be seen they did use the photo taken at Swanage

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Punch and Judy

Rather than Punch and Judy on Swanage Beach, today it was the turn of the Eric and Nick show. It appears they were called out on three separate occasions to inflatables being blown off shore.

Scary stuff.

Sometimes they blow out to sea with no one on them, once found the Ops Room have to assume the worse and start looking for people. Only last year we had helicopter and lifeboats out for an inflatable killer whale off the Isle of Wight. The very next day exactly the same thing happened with an inflatable Crocodile. (...not Mr Punch's sausage eating crocodile)

Still its worse with kiddies in inflatable dinghies. Once the wind has got them they are off like a shot. Two minutes and kids find themselves a long way off shore.

A good idea is not to use them in an off shore wind or to tie a length of rope on the front and then tie it to a deckchair. An even better idea...get dad to hold the rope.

As Mr Punch would say "that's the way to do it...."


Rescue Rockett

'Rescue Rockett' rejoins the team today after a weekend away in a field somewhere. I think it was some music festival thing and he went along as his favourite band Girls Aloud were playing. Unfortunately he was unable to get an autograph due to the restraining order which bans him from approaching within 15 feet of them. It's a long story and I shouldn't go into the details on the coastguard blog but needless to say it wasn't entirely his fault, more a case of mistaken identity.

His welcome return will no doubt mean we are going to get a load of jobs. Austen was described by Ian as a large magnet (or words similar) as whenever he is on patrol the team get lots of jobs. So if you see him in the van watch out.... get out the sea or he'll rescue you just for fun.

Only the other day off duty he was helping in a road traffic collision (and no he didn't cause it).

During the day he can be found 'rescuing' Subway Sandwiches in town.

Worrying trend ?

Yesterdays incident at Studland saw the total number of incidents for the team hit 122, so what you might ask?

Well the last time we hit that many incidents was in 2006 and 122 was the year end figure and was the busiest year the team had ever had.....2010 , 122 and still 4 months to go?

So whats going on?

For the last 7 years we have logged our incidents and there does not seem to be any pattern, some years the weather is bad and that might mean more or sometimes less incidents?

Did the ash cloud at the start of the year mean visitors are staying in the UK?

Is the economy having an effect?

Has stopping accident prevention patrols got anything to do with it?

The list goes on, what I do know is that the demand on team has been very high and as ever supported by family, friends and employers we have continued to provide the service to the community.

Note: Since this blog was published yesterday we have had another 4 jobs.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Tommy Two Boats

Tom today with the Royal Navy and Dorset Police Marine Section.

Wet wet wet

No not that rubbish Scottish band.

Last night 23:00 in the middle of the rainstorm over Swanage bang on cue the pager starts beeping at me. A call from the Ops Room and we have two ‘Mispers’ or missing persons who are on the cliffs somewhere.

They were reported as overdue from their walk from Weymouth to Swanage.

Time to get wet.

Got to station, already soaked, vehicle kitted up, waterproofs on, and torches out ready for action

Phone call from Ops Room, ‘Stand down stand down, they have been found’.

Phew! Neither Ian or I fancied being up on cliffs last night, and to be fair the weather was that bad that Ian was thinking twice about putting a full team out on the cliffs given the treacherous conditions. He was saying that he probably would if there was a risk to life. Still luckily it was a call that didn’t need to be made.

So we drove out to Durlston and made sure they were ok and then back to the station to dry off.

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Sunday, 22 August 2010

Welcome to Sunny Swanage

Ok so its not sunny.....it is August and its meant to be the summer, but yet again things aren't correct in the weather world.

Real sad as it affects things like Lifeboat week here in Swanage and the Bournemouth Air Show which saw two days of low cloud which badly affected the flying.

Hopefully it looks like two days of good weather before it starts to go down hill again on Thursday!

Weather Warning

There is a high risk of severe weather affecting parts of Southern and Eastern England during Sunday night and Monday morning.
Heavy rainfall overnight is expected to give 20 to 30 mm of rain quite widely and perhaps 50 to 80 mm locally. This rain may be accompanied by gale force winds towards southern and eastern coasts.


It seems Swanage is having Internet problems which is why we cant upload photos!

Thankfully a neighbours Internet is working so a full update of the weekend will follow tonight, but in the meantime can we advise reader to check the forecast as a weather warning is in place for today, heavy rain and strong winds.

Saturday, 21 August 2010


Seem to having some technical problems at the moment and unable to add photos to the blog.....bear with us.

Meanwhile another long day for the team, starting at 11.30 the truck was re housed at 18.oo

Friday, 20 August 2010

Coastguard Stations

On my recent tour of Cornwall, I was disappointed not to find any Coastguard Stations.

I found lots of many old Coastguard cottages but no CRS/CRE (Coastguard Rescue Station or the older Coastguard Rescue Equipment buildings).
20 years ago it was part of the holiday to visit another station and talk "coastguard", but this is become rather rare and something the Chief Coastguard has touched on in a recent meeting that some of our traditions are disappearing?

Perhaps we should learn from the RNLI as throughout Cornwall there were plenty of signs pointing out the lifeboat stations, in fact having failed to find the Coastguard Station, I visited the lifeboat house instead!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Advanced Warning

I couldn't find a warning sign to advise the team that the Station Officer was returning tomorrow morning at 7am ......lets hope the station is clean and tidy ???

Those Cornish folk are very kind although I'm not sure they have the height of the cliff right in their warning signs? Makes our cliffs look like mole hills!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


I think it has all gone quiet....well until this weekend which is the Bournemouth Air Show. Lots of planes and stuff over the four day show starting tomorrow.

We also have a new team leader for a few days - Mr Bentham is taking over and has promised compulsory keep fit. His idea of a short run is a 20k jog!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010


From our man on holiday in deepest darkest Cornwall....

"News flash... Sennen Cove/lands end Coastguard on a callout? Someone went past with a sign in the window or was it the sun was shining and they had their sun visor down!"

You're meant to be on holiday!!!!


Another job this lunchtime....busy busy busy

Monday, 16 August 2010

More Bananas

Eric and Terry got 'jobbed' about 17:30 to another boat in distress. When they got back to the station your truly washed the truck as it had a weekends accumulation of muck all over it. No sooner as I start rinsing the truck off and another job comes in at 18:58! So Eric and Terry speed off in a nice shiny truck.....it really is none stop at the moment. 17 jobs in 4 days.

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Sunday, 15 August 2010

It's gone bananas!

I think all things considered we've had 7 incidents today... The Ops room are still taking 999 calls this evening from accross Dorset.

....thanks to Eric for the prawns as we drove past a restaurant this evening.


Today sees the start of the Swanage Lifeboat Week......

Log on the Swanage Lifeboat site to see the weeks events.



First of all I better apologise to the neighbours for my little slip on Saturday morning....I was tired and as Deputy Blog said out of all the buttons to hit I managed to hit the "big red one"

Anyway as many of you know its the Studland Beer festival and Gareth and I popped over on Friday to ensure all was OK and liaise with staff at the Bankes Arms.

Drinking and boating don't mix so we went to offer advice as we walked down to South Beach a group of foreign tourists stopped and asked Gareth a question........

"Where is the white hairy dog"...Gareth repeats, "you mean you have lost your dog?"

Now I'm never one to see a mate suffer and thought as a responsible Station Officer I better step in at this point.

"Gareth, she actually said where are the OLD HARRY ROCKS"

With directions we sent them on their way.....Im still working out how it went wrong but in fairness I dont have a strong German accent!

Saturday, 14 August 2010


....thought that I best get my revenge in quick before Ian blogs something I said to a holidaymaker yesterday!

So we have a dirty great sign on the garage doors that says no sirens at night because of the close proximity to residential homes (including mine!)

Someone last night not naming names (Ian) accidently pressed the 'whoo whoo' button.....it was 02:38am!!!!! mmm yes its pretty damn loud.

Still its easy to do , I mean he had the choice of 78 other buttons in the cab to press but still managed to hit the gert big one saying sirens......We then proceeded to OLD HARRY ROCKS.

Early risers

Morning all it's 3.01am!!! Currently Ian and I are sitting in the vehicle up at Old Harry . This is the second call out since midnight to Studland South Beach to assist with yachts.

It is dark, so here's a picture of the truck radio.

It's official, neither if us has stepped in dog poo. Don't ask.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Flower Power

At St Mary's Church in Swanage this weekend there is the flower festival and one of the displays is dedicated to the Coastguard.

Well known local florist Ann Fletcher has had a long connection with the Coastguard and asked for some pieces of equipment to use in an arrangement.

I took a sneak preview and there were some lovely displays in the church, so if you are passing please take a few minutes and take a look.

Being Stubborn

Being a volunteer you have to be treated "nicely" and above the DSO decided a sit down protest after discovering the Station Officer didn't put sugar in his tea.

Thankfully it only lasted a few minutes after Gareth made him a energy drink to make him feel better......excellent team effort.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Happy landing

This is Harley the dog......

Harley out for a walk with his owners decided to take the quick route down a 40 - 50ft cliff and having been sent to investigate we were so please to see him walking with his owners.

Having met them at South Beach we escorted the party to the local vet as Harley was limping and unable to put weight on his front right paw.

Its nice to get a good and happy result but please can we remind owners to take care and use leads near the cliff edge.

Royal Protection

Terry having Police protection during this years carnival procession. His vehicle played an important part this year, not only was it the back up vehicle in case the mobile got called out (which it did!) but also acted like a buffer in case those lifeboat chaps lost control of that lifeboat that they were pulling! (which they didn't!)

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


The above photo is of Rescue 106 airlifting the mountain biker off Godlingstone Hill a couple of Sundays ago.

We (Swanage Coastguard) and the MCA have a strict code of conduct when it comes to releasing photos of incidents, the casualty always comes first and as in the photo above we had done our bit and were in fact sheltering behind the truck due to the very strong down draft from the helicopter.

We believe its important to show incidents where we can as this promotes the work we do and hopefully in some cases highlights some of the risks involved in certain activities around our area.
Last Saturday when the passenger vessel ran aground I was able to send photos within minutes to the Operations Room in Weymouth so they could see what was going on, something we couldn't really do 10 years ago.

If anyone sends pictures to us we always check them first before putting them on our website. If you do have any of the team in action you can send them to :


Monday, 9 August 2010

Red Arrows - Swanage

Super photograph sent to us by local photographer John Palmer.

Roaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrr (something like that)

Above: Red Arrow if it wasn't too obvious ;-)

John was sitting up on Ballard Down eating sandwiches on Saturday morning and managed to get some cracking photos. For those in the know :- The Camera was a Canon 7d with Canon 400mm lens.

Apparently I have to credit his other half Alison for the sandwiches. For those in the know:- The sandwiches were ham salad.

More of John's stunning photographs here....well worth a look!


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Aground 2

Don't panic the Solent Scene didn't run aground again! In fact I believe the vessel was back in business having been checked out by surveyors on Sunday.

Being a commercial vessel there will be an official report carried out by the MAIB - Marine Accident Investigation Board and this will be published in due course.

Thankfully on Saturday the weather was being kind, and following the incident the crew of the vessel informed the Coastguard who launched the lifeboats and sent the Coastguard team.

It goes to show the point of all the training the services do as the evacuation of the passengers went very smoothly and I think it should be noted despite their ordeal the passengers were all very good and grateful.

One of the passengers asked me as they got off the Bournemouth Belle, "Does this happen often"? my answer......1st time Ive done this in twenty years does that answer your question!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Was it busy?

During the Red Arrows, the "Downs" got a little busy......hence we carried out some "training" in that area to ensure everyone stayed safe.

Lots of people mixed with cliff edges plus people looking up, leaning back to get that picture and it could get a bit messy!

Thankfully out of the couple of thousand people on the Downs the only casualty was my own daughter stung by a bee!

I think we all have to thank the carnival committee for a very good week.

(yet again someone got in my photo, it getting like those books ......where's Wally!)

Saturday, 7 August 2010


A major incident has just had both Swanage Lifeboats, Poole Lifeboats and the Swanage team respond to a passenger boat aground off Old Harry. 35 passengers were taken off the craft by Swanage Lifeboat and transferred to another vessel who had come to assist.
All passengers are now safe and well in Swanage. Full details will follow.


It was the team crabbing competition this week, Rockett, Craker and Simmons the front runners for the trophy.

The chaps were a little upset to hear the winner of the Carnival Competition had pulled in a massive 56 crabs, yet they couldn't see a thing down the quay and Brian had only brought a small pink bucket.

The good thing was we only lost Tom once during the day, a sharp young chap returned Tom to the MRU saying "Hey is he with you?", we have now put him on a piece of string so he doesn't get lost.

Just one thing chaps......where was your PPE? (Personal Protection Equipment)

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Burglar Alarm = Job

I ran over the station earlier as someone had set the burglar alarm off, it transpired that Nick our newest member had forgotten the code. Rather than get flustered he left the alarm to ring and got into his Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) as we had a job.

Shortly afterwards Austen turned up and we were off to Knoll Beach Studland to assist South West Ambulance with a spinal injury and ensure the air ambulance could land safely. On the way Nick put his radio comms training to good use advising Portland of our position.

On scene and the casualty was moved to the heliciopter for the short hop over to Poole Hospital; as ever our thoughts are with the casualty.

Above: Nick in Full PPE

Meanwhile Tom turned up to assist and provided an impromtu training session. Today's lesson was how to find Tom's mobile phone that he had dropped in the sand. As they set about looking I went and asked a National Trust Warden whether it had been handed in.

The warden confirmed it was a battered, knackered old thing covered in paint and well passed its sell buy date and that we should replace it.

"The Phone or Tom?" I asked.
Above: Tom reunited with phone.

Obviously not one to stop a good training session I left them to search.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Lead by example

On carnival day, the DSO wanted to be noticed......

Despite being told off by both the SO and Assistant-DSO he wasn't having it.

Will they? Won't they??

After last year's trouble securing the Red Arrows it appears there may be a problem for Saturday!

Do hope not as they are rather good!!!!

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Monday, 2 August 2010

The BBQ (and the secret chef)

The secret of any BBQ is the food and this year I managed to persuade someone else to cook for us instead of my usual burnt offerings. The rumour that no one was going to turn up if I cooked again just wasn't true!

So checking the team list .......I confirmed no one could cook so I had to look a little further.

Thankfully we found someone really good, it's just he's from another rescue service and to protect his identity we said we wouldn't show his face. (even though he's wearing a Lifeboat T Shirt)

Its funny as we have also used him as a casualty (simulating a mountain bike injury) last year... this partnership stuff really does work.

We would also like to point out that the fleet of ambulances outside the station (as featured yesterday) had nothing to do with his cooking.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Was there a problem at the station?

During the BBQ last night, was the team taken ill?

Did Ambulance hear we were having a BBQ and that there were Burgers left over.

Who is the infamous 'Swanage Poisoner'..

And why does Gareth always try and get in my photos?

Stay tuned.

Partner Working

During the week, we attended the study centre at Studland and along with the Police had an training session with the National Trust staff.

The main topics were

Search management - How we would all work together during a search at Studland

Helicopter operations - How to land a helicopter

Water Rescue - As can be seen above.

A really good session which goes to show how much work goes into keeping this area as safe as we can.