Tuesday, 30 November 2010

November 31st

Just checked the team agreement to see who's on call tomorrow (under CG rules, we're not allowed a rota so we have an agreement amongst the team as to who will assume IRT cover on a particular day, and then the boss writes it down in Excel format for easy reference. But, its definitely NOT a rota).

So, the team agreement shows Messrs Craker and Brown on IRT for the night of 31st November.
Hang on a sec......31st November?

Mutiny ....

A mutiny was averted last night due to the swift deployment of jaffa cakes. (Purchased by Dee)

Meanwhile one of the chaps accidentally brought a Michael Buble album to the station. Fair to say that whilst Mr Buble can hold a tune, it's not something to bring on a Coastguard Station unless you're up for two hours of merciless leg pulling. Driving legend ‘Ian Moustache’ also turned up to help in the harassment.

‘Fly me to the moon, doo doo doo the stars, …….La la la la Jupitar or Mars’

On a serious note the kit night is about checking kit properly and we have found two failures. Both items of equipment are immediately taken out of service and quarantined.

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Monday, 29 November 2010

He wasn't joking....

Deputy Blog reported earlier about a threatened Mince Pie ban at kit night tonight.
Sad to say that this turned out to be perfectly true, and despite the odd gentle reminder none materialised. Apparently, its still November.

On a brigher note, the boss has now offered us Easter eggs in January and fireworks in June, so its not all bad.

Mince Pie Ban

In what can only be described as a complete and utter massively disappointing let down we shall not be having mince pies tonight at kit night. The management (aka Ian) promised them and has now decided that we shall have none.

To quote the management ….. “No Mince Pies it’s bloomin’ November” …..or words to that effect.

Well Ian’s always saying training is important and the team are of the view that we should get in training for Christmas by eating some now.

There may be a mutiny on deck tonight.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Stay OFF !

As the cold continues to bite and ponds, rivers and lakes freeze over its perhaps time to remind people to stay off the ice.

Already this weekend there has been tragedy where someone went into a river to rescue their dog only to lose their life.

Please stay away from the water.

Should an animal go in DO NOT FOLLOW, call the emergency services.

If you see someone in trouble, DO NOT attempt a rescue, call the emergency services.


Well the weekend passed without any "snow" type incidents for us.

This morning Austen, Gareth and I met at the station to check the building, it was freezing in the garage.....yes the temperature was zero!

This afternoon Gareth and Austen popped out for an hour to give the truck a run, whilst we aren't carrying out accident prevention patrols at the moment, its important to keep the truck in working order.

Tomorrow, the truck, trailer and winch are in for a service.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Be Prepared

Swanage has woken this morning to a light dusting of snow on the hills, but generally its just very cold.

Gareth has been round to the station and gritted the path, and I've given the truck a run around the car park in case the neighbours wondered what I was doing.

The next 48 hours remains interesting, it all depends where two weather fronts decide to meet and then dump their stuff! (as explained to me by a watch manager at Portland.....!).

Coastguards remain on standby to assist their local communities and support the other emergency services if called on.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Its cold

Weather warning now covers Dorset, risk of sleet and snow, with a warning of ice in the morning.
Probably a night for staying in. Brrr

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Squashed tea

When I arrived at the incident last night I chucked my work bag into the truck and started to get briefed by Austen. Thankful the incident was nearly finished and we were soon on the way back to the station for a de brief.
Back at the station I asked where my bag was and some kind person shouted its ok its in the truck....... I recovered my bag from the back seat and discovered that my tea.....a Cornish Pasty was now the size of a sausage roll......

So come on who sat on it please?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

A date in time

2010 will see the end of the Coastguard Calendar........no longer will they be produced.

With the belt being tightened the calendar was seen as an expense that could be cut.

So a couple more years and these could be worth some thing on one of those auction sites!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Weather Warning

Early warning for the weekend of ice, sleet and snow.


Medal of Honour

During one of our uniform blogs, a sharp eyed reader spotted that John's medals were being worn the wrong way round. Well spotted and thank you, the photo was taken 2 years ago and now in our new procedure manual issued in June there is a section which clearly explains "Medal Protocol"

"The order of precedence (from the centre of the body) is: Orders, Decorations, Campaign Medals, Commemorative Medals (e.g. the new jubliee Medal) and lastly Long Service Awards."

So we will do better !

The Royal Warrant for the award of the Long Service Medal to volunteer Coastguards was introduced and signed by Her Majesty the Queen on 27 January 1954. The original Warrant has since been subject to Amending Warrants in 1966, 1997 and 2002.

The Warrant enables the award of the Long Service Medal to those recommended who have completed 20 years service as a volunteer Coastguard rescue Officer.

The Warrant also enables the award of a Clasp to the Medal after an additional 10 years service and then a second Clasp after a further 10 years (40 years in total service).

Monday, 22 November 2010

Night Swimming

A story from the BBC website about some teenagers in Dorset who, having had the odd drink or two, decided it would be a good idea to go midnight swimming on one of the coldest nights of the year so far.....http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-11811198

There was a certain inevitability that something would go wrong....and it did. Fortunately, it could have been a lot worse, but equally it would have been a whole lot easier on the rescue services, on their families and on the guys themselves if they hadn't attempted a late night dip in the first place!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

....and now for something completely different.

Not Coastguard related, but superb nonetheless.

Click and then scroll right to see, or rather not see him?

Working at Height

Ian caught 'working at height' without personal protection equipment. I say height, it was only 18 inches, but for Ian that's pretty damn high.

Just look at the fear on his face.

The risk assessment is that after this blog I shall be cleaning the Station.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

New Kit

Well this week the Coastguard have really done well..... our new harnesses arrived, along with a new rescue harness.

As Austen modelled the new harness it shows its really figure hugging and shows "one size" fits all.

Just to explain that our older harnesses had come to the end of their life so this is the reason for the new replacement.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Strictly Come Coastguard

Our Sector Manager, Rob, came down last night with lots of new kit and to provide some training. Ooooh new kit, always smells good.

We learnt to Huddle, ….yup Huddling. It’s when three grown men put their arms around each other and wade into water to save someone. Whilst it looks a little odd it gives stability in swift water conditions.

It was a bit like Strictly Come Dancing, three men spinning around like a bunch of ballroom dancers. I for one will not be voting for Austen. In reply Aus said he’d look good in a ballroom dress, I have no reason to doubt this and no reason to want to see him in one either.

Craig Revels-Dogwood “Delightful darling, delightful”

Len Goodspin: Very Good technically, but wishy washy footwork

Alyssa: I liked it.

Bruno Tombola: Oooh Austen, you hot dog you.

The Judges’ Scores are in….

4 6 7 ....SEVEN!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Water Rescue Training

Colleagues in Hampshire have joined police, fire and RNLI teams in a massive flood rescue exercise designed to get all parties working better together in a real emergency. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11793416. Of course, as reported in our earlier post, colleagues in Cornwall were doing it for real this week.

We were doing some water rescue training of our own tonight although not on such a grand scale. More about this and maybe some pictures too tomorrow...

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Coastguards are busy in Cornwall this morning.

Trapped drivers rescued as floods hit Cornwall

A spokesman from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said coastguard teams were working with emergency services to evacuate flooded buildings across coastal communities, with the incident elevated to "gold command".

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Weather & foam

Odd ? Bit of bad weather on route tonight and tomorrow but our very own weather man(occasional blog) has failed to present the facts?

Meanwhile at the station the contractors who built the station had to return today to carry out some minor adjustments.....

Having driven from Portsmouth with a can of expandable foam a gap 15cm by 30cm was filled, this should improve the draft in the garage!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Spring Cleaning

Yesterday morning the team came together for a big clean up of the garage and station. Its amazing how much "rubbish" arrives during a year and we took no prisoners......

The policy in place was......is it an official piece of kit ?
Has it been used in the last 12 months?
It is damaged?
Was it junk?

We built quite a pile despite Austen's best efforts to pull bits out and say "that will be useful"!

Oh sorry forgot the important part of the morning, the bacon rolls, why else would any sensible person get out of bed at 10.00 to do some cleaning?

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Less we forget

After a busy morning at the station (more on this during the week) the team attended the towns remembrance parade.

Then after church it was back to the British Legion for tea and buns.

Saturday, 13 November 2010


Another happy customer (our 8th or 9th dog related incident this year). Walking near to Durlston Castle, a squirrel seemed fun to chase however whilst the squirrel took a right turn up the tree, Zoe took a dive over the cliff landing 40ft below.

The area is very steep so to get her back up a full rescue had to be instigated to ensure the safety of the team and Zoe.

Assisted by the St Albans team, Zoe was recovered safe and well back to the top (well done Gareth on your 1st rescue as a newly qualified technician).

There was a heart stopping moment as the dog bag was opened and I asked if anyone had hold of the lead as Zoe jumped towards her owners and then promptly back in the direction of the cliff!

New Chief Executive

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) has a new Chief Executive, Sir Alan Massey.

When we say new, Sir Alan has been in post since about July, so we must apologise that the news hasn't been posted before but this news has'nt filtered down very quickly.

Sir Alan comes to the Agency with a lot of experience, his previous role was the Second Sea Lord and Commander in Chief of Naval Home Command.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Uniform, part 2

Black and Whites......used on patrols, meetings or other official duties, also worn under the jacket during official duties.
During the winter or those colder summer days, a Coastguard blue jumper is worn over the shirt.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

John Ketley was a weatherman, and so was Michael Fish.

Another sunny day in Swanage tomorrow then .....? Um no.

So weather expert Ocassional Blog, what's the forecast for the weekend?

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Nothing Much to Report

First day back on IRT call for your Occasional Blogger today having had a few days away. Looks like the number of incidents has tailed right off lately and today was no different (perhaps the safety message is getting through??) A quiet return to duty then.

And what about Deputy Blog's weather forecasting yesterday? 24 hours of rain? It's been glorious today for those of us fortunate enough to have been in Swanage.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


Well it looks like rain for the next 24 hours. (ok ok 6.32 hours!!!)We better keep watch on the Coastguard Station which despite being brand spanking new floods outside. A mixture of a natural spring in the car park which constantly runs, and the fact that when raining the whole car park sheds water to the lowest point. (i.e. outside our station). The drains are unable to cope and it all backs up.

“So what, the water’s outside”, I here you say. Well the problem is that as soon as the rescue vehicle is taken out of the door its wheels are under a foot or so of water which means no one can get in without getting both them and the rescue kit wet. Sadly the contractors and architect did not take account of our concerns which were identified at the building stage.

So we drive the vehicle 50 yards up the car park lug all the kit through the building and out the side door. Always a nightmare job in the rain, especially when dark and cold and under pressure to meet our rescue tasking.
Still it could be worse it could be winter, when the spring water outside the doors freezes it’s deadly.

Monday, 8 November 2010


Podcast from the MCA Website about Helicopters. (2008)

..and a wonky photo from me.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Uniform - No 1's

On the theme of uniforms, these jackets (and hats) are for "posh " or special events, like remembrance parades. Long ago Coastguard Officers wore these jackets all the time and I've seen officers standing in the water wearing them!

Rank insignia is put on the sleeves, medals on left (although in the above picture John has medals on the right which are his families medals)

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Remember Remember

Just a short note to say Remember Remember the 5th, 6th and 7th November is not a chance to fire those flares that are out of date.

It is illegal to fire flares when not in distress, it could cost lives, it wastes resources.

Enjoy your fireworks but don't use flares.

Friday, 5 November 2010


A sharped eyed reader has spotted some team members wearing different logos on their polo shirts and asked why?

Well both logos are in use, the Coastguard Crest (top) is an offical crest and is very important to team members. The MCA logo was brought in during the 1990's when HM Coastguard and two other maritime agencies merged to form the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

From 1990 all our clothing started to come in with the MCA logo on but Coastguard Rescues Officers (called Auxiliaries in those days) wanted to continue using the crest to show the search and rescue side of the agency rather than the "MCA Brand"

As time went on the Agency when on to supply polo shirts with the MCA logo on and various teams went out and purchased privately similar style polo shirts but with the Crest on and their station name on, it was sort of adopted unoffically but funny how it was copied all around the country!

So official you are meant to wear the MCA tops but its accepted team members have brought their own tops with the crest on.

Rumour has it that in time we may revert to the crest only again .....we wait and see.

Perhaps in another blog we will cover the different uniform types

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Slowing Down?

You would think at this time of year things should slow down.....er no

Meetings to discuss the year and put in place actions ready for next year, paperwork that needs updating and generally networking with other organisations to ensure smooth work in the future.

In Swanage we are very good at working together, Police, Fire,Town Council, Ambulance and Lifeboat and its not till things like the chain ferry going off for a service do we realise how we do rely on each other for support.

The team are focusing on our tidy up weekend, when we are having a major autumn clean up of the station, mostly so we can find all the clothing thats been lost over the year!
There are some minor repairs to be done and a flag pole base to be done....watch this space.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Earlier this year the Rotary Club in Swanage presented me with a very special award.

The certificate reads

"in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world."

Not only was this a great honour for me but also the whole team, so when the certificate arrived I asked Maggie Hardy the local Rotary Chairperson to present it at the station with the team.

So sorry for the delay in bringing this news but I had mislaid the photos!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Peace and quiet...???

Deputy Blog has gone away for a quiet week in the Lake District.

It's great to get out in the mountains away from the hustle and bussle of everyday.....ZROOOMMMM a Tornado Jet flies down the valley. Yeah thanks for that RAF chaps!

Still perhaps a quiet walk around the Thirlmere Woods looking for Red Squizzels. So we're tip toeing around so not to scare the little blighters... WHOOOP WHOOP WHOOP and we now have three Longbow Apache Attack Helicopters over the lake. Yeah thanks Army Flying chaps!

Get back to the cottage, ah peace and quiet... Nope. More WHOOOP WHOOPS from a Search and Rescue Helicopter as it buzzes the cottage. Yeah thanks Search and Rescue Chaps!

Then BEEP BEEP, it's Ian texting me to see if I have a blog........There's no escape.