Sunday, 31 October 2010

Bunker Busting

As the season draws to a close we headed out on Saturday to check the route up to the remote aerial site on top of Godlingston Hill. Its ok in the day, but I bet we would have to go up there in the dark and no doubt when the weather is horrendous !

For security reasons we cant show you inside the bunker (although its obvious where it is!), but on route Tom and Rid had a little issue with a gate.

Thankfully Tom mended the gate, we found the bunker, got in but were concerned with the number of warning signs on the door regarding radiation and if you lost radio 2 briefly at 2.30 on Saturday, I did tell Tom not to press the button !

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Lost it !

Reading the main MCA website there was a report of a major search down in Cornwall after a surf board was located without an owner.

Coastguard, Police, RNLI and a helicopter crew had searched for several hours without finding anyone and as no one was reported missing, the decision was made to call off the search.

If you lose anything out on the coast or out to sea, please report it to the nearest Coastguard station, it really could save a lot of trouble.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Blackpool Coastguard

Get a load of Deputy Blog's new Rescue Vehicle.... Next stop North Pier ding ding.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

On trial

New bit off kit came past the station today, ideal for the IRT, off road, winch on the front, loads of space for kit. Being smaller than the MRU it has less of a foot print when off road so more environmentally friendly.

Two small comes in red (not blue and yellow) and it won't stay for long!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The Athena

HM Coastguard Falmouth have a  massive job on this morning.

RNAS Culdrose's  Sea King Helicopters (771 Naval Air Sqd) will no doubt be proving their worth again; these helicopters have have a great capability.

More Later...

11:40 A very tricky rescue, looks like the Helo would be right on the edge of capability, even refuelling on Scilly. Luckily there are a number of mechant vessels responding.

19:48 Phew! It appears the majority of the fisherman have been taken aboard a container ship heading for its not all bad, it could have been going to Ostend or worse...Hull. 

Well done MRCC Falmouth .

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Receiver of Wreck

The main task of the Receiver of Wreck is to process incoming reports of wreck in the interest of both salvor and owner. This involves researching ownership, liaising with the finder and owner and other interesting parties.

The above is taken from the main MCA website on the role of the Receiver of Wreck, a role that comes under the MCA.

We actually met the Receiver of Wreck (RoW) in the early part of the year and she has a most interesting role.

What people do not know is that you can not only face a large fine for removing items from the coast or sea but also massive clear up costs.

There is a correct procedure to follow if you find something or a wreck, there may be an owner to that item and its the role of the RoW to establish ownership and then compensate the finder (in its simplest terms). You can not just remove something as this could be theft, also having claimed salvage on something the salvor could be liable for any clear up costs which could run into thousands of pound (don't forgot environmental damage etc!)

Today the IRT were tasked to enquiry about reports of the recent yacht that was lost on Peveril Ledge that had been partly recovered and this may have been contrary to the insurance company (the owner of the vessel) instructions.

Our advice is to tread very carefully, the law is quite strict (especially following the Napoli incident). It used to be considered that items washed up were there for the finder , times have changed and findings must be reported.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Half Term

With many children on half term holiday's and the weather bright, perhaps its a timely reminder to say if you are heading out on the water or enjoying our countryside to be prepared.

Check the weather
Take the correct clothing especially footwear.
Check the route
Check the tides
Ensure you tell someone where you are going and what time you might be back.
Ensure your mobile if charged up (land based)
Ensure your safety equipment is working (water based)
Know your limits.

Remember if you are in trouble or you think someone is in trouble on the coast or out to sea, DIAL 999 and ask for COASTGUARD.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Station Officers Meeting

Austen and I had a visit to Weymouth (Portland MRCC) for the bi-annual Station Officers meeting.

The big concern for us is the cost savings the Agency has to find in line with the Government spending review. Thankfully at this time it appears the Coastguard Rescue Service has not been majorly affected other than the requirement for cost savings - electric, heating, fuel etc.

There is lots of training to be done in the next 12 months, more rope work, water rescue, first aid, search management and more.

So it looks like business as usual which is just as well with the number of incidents we have had this year!

Tonight Austen and I attended the RNLI college in Poole for the presentation of Andy Spicer's (Station Officer Poole) long service medal - from all at Swanage congratulations on this achievement.

Friday, 22 October 2010


Training last night was the second half of the exciting Water Rescue DVD, which included some stuff from a professor of cold water science..... or something like that.
Highlight of the evening was counting the number of costume changes the presenter went though. I counted 15 in total.
I also spotted a spider in the top left corner of the training room.
Sadly Brian had to leave early as he had to watch some paint drying at home.
Joking aside it was quite useful really.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Time Expired Pyrotechnics

A little reminder to the public that the Coastguard NO LONGER take in  Pyrotechnics.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

When I grow up

On the left our Nissan, on the right a East Midland Ambulance Nissan! Compared to ours the Ambulance is like a space ship! No levers to engage 4 wheel drive, just a switch.

Today we had some visitors to the station not only from the East Midland Ambulance Service but the Scottish Ambulance Service and a man from a donkey sanctuary in Sidmouth....the link? Off road driving!

Our area is excellent for off road driving as it has many different types of terrain so when in the area its always good to check in with the locals for that all important photo opportunity

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Coastguard 106 or Rescue 106?

G-SARD (Romeo Delta)

Well both actually, depending on what it's doing. On routine or training flights, Portland's SAR helicopter (an AW139 for those in the know) takes the call sign Coastguard 106. (said One-Ohh-Six)

Once it's on a "shout" i.e. a proper rescue mission, it adopts the tactical call sign Rescue 106.

Previously the helicopters were known by the last two letters of their registration marks - WB, or Whiskey Bravo - but nowadays the numeric call sign refers to the operating base.

The photo above is of G-SARD 'Romeo Delta' returning to Portland on Sunday, and as such its call sign was Coastguard 106. Normally, G-CGWB 'Whiskey Bravo' is Portland's aircraft, but currently 'Romeo Delta' is covering.

G CGWB (Whiskey Bravo)

You may hear us refer to Coastguard 104 or Rescue 104 - that's when we're working with a helicopter from Lee on Solent, perhaps because 106 is otherwise engaged or 104 is already airborne and can respond quicker.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Desperate Times

Someone’s eaten all the biscuits, we think its Ian, in fact we know its Ian, but as ever he’s denying being anywhere near the chocolate digestives.  "What chocolate digestives?" He says.  – Exactly they are gone.

The crumbs in the coastguard station tell a different story. Mmmm in true Cluedo style I suspect Colonel Brown in the training room, with a packet of Hob Nobs.

Sadly with John Bentham our supplier of biscuits on sick leave we have been running short of provisions. We have one pack left, an out of date packet of Coop's Morning Coffee. Pretty desperate times when your down to just them. Desperate times call for desperate we've got to protect them.

So to catch Ian,...sorry the nefarious biscuit thief unknown.... red-handed I’ve devised a cunning trap. I don’t think it’ll be very effective but we’ll see what happens.

The Biscuit Trap

Biscuits...... Moi?

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Along the Coast

Took the family for a walk along the coast to St Aldhelms Head this afternoon, and what a hive of activity when we got there.

Langton Scouts and Guides were taking part in JOTA - Jamboree on the Air - a worldwide get together of Scouts through the medium of amateur radio. Assisted by the chaps from Poole Radio Society, they had created their own temporary station - call sign GB0LMS - and had made contact with enthusiasts as far away as Geneva, Amsterdam and Tipperary. Oh, and Wigan too. In addittion there was a display about the wartime Worth Matravers radar development site and there was a 'hands on' workshop of soldering irons, PCBs and electonics kits allowing budding young enthusiasts to get involved and create their own first radio sets.

Across the way, our colleagues at the NCI were giving talks about the work they do and to cap it all there was a low-level flypast from one of the Coastguard rescue helicopters as it headed back to Portland following a tasking in Poole.

All in all, plenty to see and do. Back at base, it's been a beautiful weekend weather-wise, and until tonight, no incidents to report. However at this very moment the IRT have just been tasked, so no doubt more of that tomorrow...

Langton Scouts - call sign GB0LMS - at St Aldhelms Head

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Our John

Visited our John this afternoon to see how he's doing after his 2nd visit to hospital.

Still along way to go for him but he was laughing and joking in his usual manner which was great to see.

It will be sometime before we see him back at the station but in the meantime we continue to keep in touch and support where we can.

Friday, 15 October 2010


Now the nights are drawing in, training continues indoors which is one of the benefits of having a double garage.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Portland Coastguard, this is Swanage calling.....

Some of the team went down to Portland Coastguard MRCC (the "ops room") this evening to get to meet our colleagues, put faces to voices heard over the radio and importantly to get an understanding of what goes on in the ops room when there's an incident in progress.

We saw how calls come in, how our teams are tasked, how to predict the location of a drifting vessel and we also had a look at the AIS system - a real time display charting the position, direction and speed of any ship in a given area. By drilling down further the operator can get details such as type of vessel, home port etc and we took a closer look at a couple of ships including the Condor ferry making its way back to Weymouth and a strangely named cargo vessel somewhere off Lyme Bay.

Our thanks go to the good people of C Watch for showing us around.

Oh, and Oz got to have a go on the computer....

Probably the best rescue in the World

The events in Chile have shown the World what can be achieved if people work together to find solutions and don't give up hope.

Its an inspiration to all rescue workers around the world

Photo from the Telegraph

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

New Terms

Every now and then a team member comes up with a new term to describe something so when Austen was describing the condition of a recent casualty out popped the term "well they looked like a Smurf" (i.e. they were blue in colour and very cold!)

So heres some more .......

Austen Smurf......he's not cold but usually hungry

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

A Bit Chilly Billy

Another shout this evening – to a naked chap who was found intoxicated on the beach. After a quick chase Austen got hold of him before handing him over to the Ambulance service who in turn handed him over to the Police.

The incident took place just before dark and I am advised by Dee that the chap was very cold.

Lucky that one of the lifeboat crew who was walking his dog spotted him and made the call. Many others had previously walked past him perhaps afraid to intervene.

Certainly a different job, lets hope that chap warms up.


One of the team who lives near the station has a pear tree in his garden. Trouble is, he doesn't like pears. I on the other hand like pears, but I don't have a pear tree. Now us coastguards like to help each other out, so when I got back to the station after our accident prevention patrol on Sunday I was pleased to find a big bag of pears waiting for me. Thanks Gareth.

a pear

a pair

au pair
Note: Library pictures only and not the actual pears supplied. In the case of the au pair, there never really was one at all. Well, I haven't got to the bottom of the bag yet, but I don't think there was.....

Monday, 11 October 2010

Did I miss anything?

As usual I spent the night away and miss the interesting jobs!

The lifeboat crew did a super job with the yacht crew, Ive just been down to Peveril to see bits washed up.

Meanwhile the ever so grateful kite surfer yet again showing the good side of British life and the thanks we often don't get

And final get back to check the station and find Tom has put the remains of a bomb on the desk, thanks Tom.

All in a weekend! Still it was good to catch up with Pip our previous Sector Manager and the delights of Torquay!

Saturday - Yacht Incident, Peveril Ledge.

A video from the Swanage Lifeboat Crew; well done chaps.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Brian's Photo

Thanks to Dave Turnball down at Swanage Lifeboat Station who has updated Brian's photo on the main website. (Dave hosts our website and does all the techno wizzy internet stuff for us, thanks chap.)

Brian's been banging on about it for months, ... actually 2 years!, so hopefully he's satisfied.

Brain: Contemplating whether to put unleaded petrol into a diesel engine. 

And lest we forget his camp photo...

Call the Coastguard

Disappointing to read Deputy Blog’s post about the kite surfer yesterday. Particularly as I was with my family near the Lifeboat station as the alarm was raised, and we watched as the crewmen arrived, launched the boat and headed off towards Studland. Across town, I knew that the same would be going on at the Coastguard station – the IRT would be on site, taking details of the emergency and getting the MRU out of the garage and on the road. Through my pager I heard the lifeboat exchanging details with Portland, and then our own ‘Swanage Mobile’ also on-line, and it made me feel proud to belong to this dedicated band of volunteers.

I wasn’t there, so I don’t know. But, if several members of the public all called the coastguard, then I think the kite surfer really was in difficulty – even if he didn’t recognise it himself, so despite his reaction well done to them for calling. And well done to the lifeboat chaps and the IRT for responding.

As always, the message is If you are in distress, or if you see someone in difficulty, or who even appears to be in difficulty at sea and around our coastline, DIAL 999 and ask for the COASTGUARD.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Kite Surfer

This afternoon Portland Coastguard MRCC took several separate 999 calls from members of the public concerned for the safety of a kite surfer at Knoll Beach, Studland who had got into difficulties.

The IRT was tasked at 16:03 to attend. A passing dinghy provided assistance until Swanage ILB were able to come alongside in an attempt to secure the casualty and take him to shore. The casualty stated that he was not in danger and refused assistance from the RNLI and refused to give details to the HM Coastguard team claiming that Britain was a 'nanny state', and that we had wasted time and money, and that there was recession.......

The assessment from the experienced lifeboat crew was that the kite surfer, who was surfing alone, was in serious difficulty and did require immediate assistance. It would appear that the chap was supremely overconfident in his own kite surfing ability and did not appreciate the danger that he was in.

The lifeboat crew and the coastguard team left the chap to consider whether his behavior and demeanor was appropriate given we are voluntary emergency workers; who in the case of the RNLI crew, had put themselves  in harms way in order to assist.

On the way back to the station a 'giggle' of kids playing on the beach gave us a wave and a 'Hello Mr Coastmen', which made it a worthwhile trip after all! Never been called that before!

Ian 20 Up!

To celebrate 20 years here's some photos of 'Boy Wonder' aka Station Officer Ian Brown.

Sausages anyone?

He does Pizza Delivery in his spare he has spare time!

"Hands off my chopper!"
A serious training session

Open night mike at the station.....Have you heard the one about the Vicar and the...

Why is he laughing, no explanation yet given

This photo was originally cropped to take out the bench and make him look tall.
20:23 Meringues '...don't mind if i do!)
22:47 Burgers

03:47am Biscuits

New Truck

He even appears in people's loos...see left
Nice Hat!
Grumpy chops
Co-ordinating stuff

Ian and his better (taller) half Rachael.

Team Swanage (taken by Ian)
Walking the walk with Mr B

Leading by example.....

Friday, 8 October 2010


2005 saw 117 incidents
2006 saw 122 incidents
2007 saw 115 incidents
2008 saw 118 incidents
2009 saw 112 incidents
As of today we currently stand at 150 incidents.A whopping 34% increase on last year !! (…and there’s still the best part of three months to go!)
19:28 09/10/010 ##addendum....we've had another 2 incidents since this blog, so its 36%!##

20 not out

Well done to Ian, Station Officer, "the boss" for chalking up 20 years' coastguard service yesterday, and how fitting that he should undertake the landmark 150th job of the year.

As we've said before, 2010 has been our busiest year ever and looking back through the records, this time last year on Ian's 19th anniversary he was assisting in only our 97th job of 2009.

We didn't have a shout on Ian's 18th anniversary, he was probably having a rest.

Ian at the opening of the new station in 2009 - well done chap!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

7th October

The 7th of October..........a difficult day for me, on one hand it should be a special day as its the anniversary of me starting in the Coastguard but its over shadowed by the loss of Spike one of the team six years ago.

This year it is my 20th year of service so it is special, we started with a visit to Dumpton School Wimborne (where lifeboat blog is a teacher so you can see why we were invited!)
Several school groups later, several bacon sandwiches later and a smashing lunch, it was back to Swanage and a visit to the cemetery and remember Spike.

Just as I was putting the MRU away in the station, the air ambulance was circling the station looking for somewhere to landing, finding it in Days Park I then took the two paramedics to the incident they were sent to.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

50p for the Meter?

To ensure a reliable radio reception all over our patch, the coastguard has a VHF repeater aerial high on the hills overlooking Swanage.

Today, Portland Co-ordination Centre noticed a fault light on their indicator panel suggesting the repeater wasn't working properly. Whilst this wasn't an immediate problem it could hamper communications during an emergency, so the team were sent to check out the fault.

It seems the main power supply was down, but fortunately the back up generator had burst into life as intended and was maintaining the service. As the team couldn't find 50p for the meter, the information was relayed to Portland and a man with a screwdriver was called in to try to remedy the fault.

Eric looking for the fault.....

....and then writing a 'To Do' list before his Golfing Weekend.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Training night tonight, and I wonder what the boss has in store for us.

If we're lucky we may watch another chapter of the Water Rescue DVD; however if we're not we may have to watch two or three chapters or even more....

Monday, 4 October 2010

News Reports

Its interesting how incidents get reported by the press, you can rescue two people from a 100 ft cliff and get no reports in the papers, but rescue a dog and its big news !

Our colleagues down in Tamar had a good job

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Two for one

Yesterday's incident at Anvil Point was difficult as there were two climbers stuck on a ledge. Thankfully neither were injured so it was a case of lowering our Technician over the cliff (Austen the DSO) secure one climber, bring them up and then do it all over again.

Working at Anvil is tricky for us as we have to work so far away from the cliff edge to enable us to get our stakes in the ground (the holdfasts/anchors we attach all the equipment too). We don't have any visuals with the cliff top safety officers so have to rely on hand signal relayed by other team members and the radio. Due to the distance the ropes stretch quite a bit which again has its challenges

Anyway well done to Austen for the double lift, it was nice to preform a rescue without the helicopter (no offence but when you practise and practise its good for the team to perform the rescue, no need for the helicopter where no one is injured).

Saturday, 2 October 2010


A quick shot of Brian post rescue. A difficult job this afternoon, more later.
Brian looking dead hard.

Maybe, just maybe we shall use this instead of his 'camp' photo on the main site.
(feel free to remind yourself how camp his photo is at
click on team at the top then Brian.)

" it on the wonk?"

Ian and Oz with our new flagpole. More on this topic when they can get it up.

By the way Oz is not fat, its his fleece...he just wanted this pointing out. It's not a big deal but he wanted the record putting straight. If he was fat, which he is not, then this would only be due to the pole being thin, making him look fat. I hope we have sorted that out.

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