Friday, 31 December 2010

Go Safe

We wish everyone a safe evening tonight.
Happy New Year and we will be back new year!

Thursday, 30 December 2010


Last night whilst the DSO parked his car around the corner from the station in Burlington Road, some nasty waste of space decided that they would steal his hub caps from his car.

Why anyone would require to take 4 plastic (slightly cracked) Peugeot 106 caps who knows but sadly they did.

Dorset Police are currently investigating but we ask did anyone see anything or perhaps know someone who has been offered a set?

Oh forgot to mention, the caps had been security marked so they are no good to anyone else.

Of course should they turn back up at the door to the station then that would be a result (but I doubt the thief would be reading this let alone have the nerve to return them.)

Review of the Year: Other Highlights

Carwasher of the Year : Rid
The car was blue when he bought it, constant cleaning has taken it back to its red undercoat.

Meringue eater of the Year: Ian

"I might manage another small one."

Best attempt to cut through an armoured electrity cable with a spade: Nick (Don't ask)

"Are you sure this is safe?"
(don't panic HQ health and safety it was all under control)

Most chips consumed in one sitting (or standing) this year:- Austen
"Chips? Moi?"

Review of the Year:- Comedy Fall.

Comedy Fall of the Year was Mr T back in April.

"Terry, Terry, where are you?"

"I'm here, in the hedge"

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Review of the Year:- Malcolm

And who could forget team member 'Malcolm the Gingerbread Man.'

Who was sacked by the heartless Station Officer.

He even was asked to open Corfe Fest 2010 really he was!

..and his untimely demise at the paws of Wilf.

Moos Headlines.

Daft cow.

Silly moo.

Back in Action

The team was back in action on Tuesday night, involved in the search for a male who got seperated from the rest of his party on a walk back from Seacombe to Langton. Unlike the clear cold days of the last month, the weather turned damp yesterday with a heavy mist and this combined with failing light, cold temperatures and slippy conditions served to disorientate the walker who ordinarily knew the area well.

When the alarm was raised, the ops team at Portland Coastguard put their extensive knowledge of the area to good use and directed the search which also involved our coastguard rescue colleagues at St Albans and Dorset Police.

The story had a happy ending when the walker turned up after nearly six hours, cold, wet, tired and very muddy, but otherwise safe and well. If you're planning a walk along the coast path over the next few days, take care -after the recent snow, it's very muddy and slippery and when it's dark and foggy and you're tired, lost and alone it's not the best place to be!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Review of the Year:- Funniest Photo

The funniest photo of the year has to be this one.....the DSO on his driving assessment.

Station Officers Incidents of the Year

During 2010, two incidents come to me that were not exactly "Coastguard standard incidents"

There I was sitting enjoying a cup of tea, the next.

And no we didn't start the fire, someone left a BBQ to near the grass and the next thing it went up. Thanks to our prompt action along with some members of the public the fire was put out before a major heath fire was started.
The other incident was a mountain biker who was seriously injured on Godlingston Hill, Ambulance couldn't get near the site, so along with the crew of Rescue 106 the male was airlifted to Poole Hospital.

Both incidents highlight our role in the community and that its not always maritime incidents we deal with.

Monday, 27 December 2010

The blog returns

After the Christmas break, we are back.....

Thankfully the team had a quite few days with no call outs, although a windsurfer caused the watch keeper at NCI some concern this afternoon. Just as he liaised with Portland MRCC the windsurfer managed to get ashore safely.

So as we approach the end of the year, we will highlight some of the incidents that occurred during 2010.

Friday, 24 December 2010

To all our readers

To all our readers, A Merry but safe Christmas

Remember to stay safe over the Christmas holidays, and if you are talking a walk with your dog, please keep it on a lead near the cliff edge......we really do not want our 10th dog incident !
Coastguards all around the country remain on call and staff in the Operations Room will be at work over the Christmas holidays.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Pause for thought

Christmas is a time for family and friends, we should all take time to stop and think about people who aren't going to have a Christmas to remember due to illness for example.

One of our team, "John" is still very ill in Poole hospital and all our thoughts are directed to him and his family at this time.

On behalf of the team can we thank everyone in the town who have sent their best wishes, these have all been passed on .

Take a few minutes today to pause and think about someone you know who isn't going to have a Christmas to could be the best present they receive.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Not the best headline

I've just got in to be greeted by this headline in our local paper. Already a family member has been on the phone concerned its our station that is closing.

I fear my phone will be busy again tomorrow explaining to our local supporters what this consultation is all about.
Remember our earlier Blog about the difference between our station and a MRCC, we urge everyone to read the consultation document (see the link to the right) and reply on the points raised.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Merry Christmas from Gareth

The great Christmas card exchange took place tonight, except Gareth decided that he would exchange ginger bread biscuits instead.
Interesting idea and I see his point....swap cards or eat biscuits !

December Kit Night

Now that the ban has been lifted.

December Kit Night tonight, which means one thing:-

Eat mince pies.

Actually two things:-

Check the kit properly and eat mince pies.

Monday, 20 December 2010


Someone left a question on one of the recent blogs asking if we have nominated drivers for the vehicle?

Not a easy question to answer as many factors come into play.

When you join and if you have a driving license, you start to learn to drive the vehicle on dry roads . From there you progress on to other conditions and other terrains, sand, mud etc. but still not under emergency condtions. Only when the Sector Manager and Station Officer are happy can you progress to "blue light" driving and then again going through all the different terrain conditions.

There is also trailer driving, which these days can cause a problem as not everyone has a trailer entitlement on their licenses anymore.

Down here we dont get snow very often so training under these conditions doesnt happen very often.

So to answer the oringinal question, yes everyone can drive the vehicle, however it depends on the incident, the location and the training the individual has had.

Currently with this weather its down to a Risk Assessment, discussed with the Operations Room, the Sector Manager, Station Officer or Deputy Station Officer.

Sunday, 19 December 2010


Look who popped into the station today!

The weather did'nt beat the visit thankfully,so the 16 children of team enjoyed their christmas party.

Watch the ICE !

With further weather warnings around the country, a picture of a little accident in Swanage.

Church Hill in Swanage after a vehicle had crashed through the railings.

Behind me was another vehicle that had slid down the hill and come to rest against a telegraph pole.

Remember only main roads tend to get gritted, best stay off the hills, plan your journey !

Saturday, 18 December 2010


This afternoon we took the vehicle out to check the area.
In these conditions its important to run the truck as the cold affects the battery and also to ensure its working correctly.
There was some driver training and accident prevention with members of the public.
Seeing the vehicle out it offers reassurance to the public but probably the most important part was checking the various routes. The above picture is the B3351 which is the back road between Corfe and Studland, OK in a 4 x 4 but perhaps not in a normal car?
On completion of the patrol all the information was fed back to the Operation Room (Portland Coastguard) so they could feed this to other emergency services in Dorset to build a good picture of whats happening across the county.

Yet more snow

Yet again Coastguard teams around the country have been called out to assist their local communities.

From the main MCA site

Barfleur - Cross Channel Ferry


Some good news reported in the Bournemouth Echo.

Brittany Ferries have decided to return the Barfleur cross channel ferry to the Poole - Cherbourg route. Great news for the local economy and everyone that wants to go to France. It'll run from February to September when they'll assess the financial viability of the route. I suppose it's use it or loose it.

Regular readers will remember the Barfleur incident last year when what can only be decribed as 'all hell breaking loose' when we were tasked to what we thought was a young Russian family who had jumped over board the Balfleur Ferry.

Our local MRCC at Portland worked throughout the night to resolve the situation by morning.The incident demonstrated the enormous amount of effort put in by the Watch Officers over at Portland who co-ordinated three coastguard teams, a helicopter and two RNLI lifeboats. Using local knowledge they were able to plot the likely areas of search which grew by the hour while keeping us all safe on the ground. A 5 star effort.

Friday, 17 December 2010


We are very grateful to the many people in the last 24 hours offering support or are concerned about the future of the Coastguard in the local area, all we can recommend is that you log on to the MCA website and read the prosposal document in full, then use the online document to ask questions or concerns direct to the MCA.

To help a little with terminolgy and possible confusion about the general term in the press about Coastguard Stations , our station is known as a Coastguard Rescue Station (CRS) staffed by volunteer Rescue Officers. Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) are the 24 hour rescue centres operated by full time Coastguards. Their role is to take the emergency calls and coordinate the search and rescue assets.

Anyone connected to the sea or coastal users are urged to make comment during this consulation period , log on at

Or click on the direct link on the right hand side of our blog.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Government Announcement

A news story reported by the BBC on the BBC website.

More information from the MCA is available here.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Always on duty

So there I was, enjoying my daughters Nativity play when a local chocolate producing shop owner sitting next to me asks for some advice. "Whats the weather going to do"?

There are some important orders to dispatch before Christmas and its important to know if the orders would get there or why not ask your local coastguard?

So there we were looking at the forecast on the Internet trying to decide what parts of the country will be affected on Thursday and Friday.

So on Christmas day when you open your presents and you find chocolates, spare a thought for the Coastguard and the part they may have paid in getting those chocolates to the shops.
(find an empty box and no doubt we will get the blame too!)

The joys of being too well known in the town!

Weather Warning

It appears its getting cold again for Thursday with early warnings of rain, sleet and snow.

With the bad weather comes the ice and as this link from the BBC shows the dangers of ice on frozen ponds.

Again this year the pressures on the emergency services has increased during the cold weather. This includes the Coastguard up and down the country using their 4x4 vehicles and local knowledge to support other services but more importantly their communities.

As this link from the main MCA shows, the Coastguard have been busy in Scotland supporting the NHS.

Congratulations to the crews of the helicopter from Stornoway for reaching 200 incidents this year.

Team Work

Another good rescue yesterday with assistance from our friends at Swanage Lifeboat. As always the press are thanking the RNLI and Swanage Team. However as always one group gets forgotten.

Much of the co-ordination for such rescues comes from the watch officers at Portland MRCC who being local themselves know the area well. Last summer a group of the watch team popped over to Swanage ( in their own time) to walk the cliffs to gain further local knowledge; now there's commitment. It means that they have a great understanding of this busy stretch of the Dorset Coast and are able to put that knowledge into use when required.

It's always reassuring on cold dark nights when your up against it to have the team at Portland watching over you and keeping you safe. Thanks if you're reading.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Another Dog Incident

The Swanage Coastguard IRT were called out along with Swanage Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) to a dog fallen from cliffs near Old Harry Rocks.

It appears the owner had lost the dog in the morning and for some reason had not notified the Coastguard or Police at the time. Passing walkers heard the dog this afternoon and called the Coastguard as there was concern the dogs owner had also fallen. The IRT arrived on scene and due to the location decided it was safer to request the ILB to recover the dog.

Thankfully the dog had no injuries and was reunited to a very relieved owner at the lifeboat house.

This is the 9th (ninth) dog incident this year for the team, some have not had a happy ending. Again we ask owners of dogs to keep dogs on leads when near the cliffs, and should you lose you dog near the cliffs please report it to the Coastguard and Police straight away.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Always worrying

Always worrying when you type in 'HM Coastguard Logo' into Google Images and the first page shows this....Is this really the 20th most viewed photo to do with the subject line?

So I clicked on it.

Oh yes now I remember.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Mince Pies

Been to checked the station after training the other night. Christmas cards on the table for various people, life jackets come back from testing its looking good.......hold on.

Boxes of mince pies ! Clearly after my banning order someone thinks its funny to leave mince pies everywhere. Even on the desk two empty foil trays, ha ha very funny team.

On the operational front.....well not a lot going on (which is a good thing). We try and keep it simple in December and only do the minimal to keep things ticking over at the station.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Training Night

Training night last night, and another chance to get familiar with the new cliff harnesses.  Although we have had them for a few weeks now we won't put them into service until we're ready; nobody wants to be on a cliff top late at night with a casualty stuck half way down, wind and rain howling,  panicking about how the harness fastens together.
It's kit night next week so we'll probably take the opportunity to swap the harnesses then.

Also in a busy training night we had a debrief on last week's Christmas meal, tested and approved a pack of mince pies kindly brought in by the DSO and had a visit from the main man Father Christmas courtesy of the Rotary Club.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Christmas Tree

Its that time of the year where the christmas tree will be coming out of the cupboard and dusted down. Last year readers might remember that "Gareth" was selected as the fairy for the top of the tree...........who will be selected this year?

Monday, 6 December 2010

Christmas Crackers

As Ian has already posted, it was the Coastguard Christmas meal on Saturday, so for the benefit of those colleagues who couldn't make it, and for our general readership (hi to you both ...) I thought I'd share some of the jokes from the crackers...

Q: What does the word minimum mean?
A: A very small mother

Q:What did the beaver say to the tree?
A: Nice gnawing you

Q:Why did the witch put her broom in the washing machine?
A: She wanted to have a clean sweep.

Seriously folks, this is as good as it gets, so I'll stop there. But at least in these environmental times its good to see that even bad jokes can be recycled and re-used.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Team Award

It was the annual Coastguard Christmas dinner last night and that meant the awarding of the "Swanage Coastguard of the Year" award.

The award is presented in memory of Mike "Spike" Williamson who passed away in 2004, the award is given to team member who has contributed the most to the team.

Now normally its a team decision, however to avoid the risk of a recent football voting scandal, the DSO and I decided we would make the important decision.

This year the award was given to two team members.

Eric - When Eric isn't away on holiday, his commitment to the team has been great this year especially during the day when our IRT coverage is a little short. Eric always turns up with a smile and normally a joke which helps the team get on with the task.

Gareth - Poor Gareth (and Mrs K) get put on a lot living next to the station, alarm activations, checking the building, chasing off youths playing on the building are just some of the things Gareth has done. But its when the pagers go off and you get there to find the truck out of the station, kitted up and ready to go which is one of the main reasons for his award this year.

But lets not forgot the whole team, this year had been our busiest ever and its a credit to all of them that our work continues in the town.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Working Together

The good thing about Swanage this week was everyone working together.

Whilst we got a small amount of snow compared to some parts of the country people enjoyed themselves and to my knowledge stayed safe.

Last night the IRT were out assisting South Western Ambulance as they could not get their ambulance up one of the steepest roads in Swanage, so asked if they could use our 4 x 4.
The patient was transfered from home to the truck, down the hill and then transferred to the waiting ambulance all in a matter or mintues.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Southborne Team Search

The Southborne Team (Bournemouth) were out yesterday in a search operation which looks like it ended well.

Well done chaps.

Thursday, 2 December 2010


The IRT have been assisting Police tonight with transporting a health care worker around Swanage making visits to elderly residents in the town.

Whilst this is not a normal Coastguard incident we are very proud to assist the community using our 4 x 4 vehicles.

All round the country Coastguard teams have been assisting their communities in similar ways and with temperatures over night again going to be in minus figures, teams could again be out tomorrow.


Oh how it has snowed....

Blogger- iPhone

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


New piccies of Team Members Dee and Nick have been put on the main website.

Dee and her cuppa Tea

Nick and his... Kangeroo?

But no one can compete with Brian's Action photo......(so much less camp than his previous photo!)

Brian In 'Cliff Top Action Pose'

Snow Bet

Our very own Gareth " snow watch "Kitching has issued a text alert tonight to the team, snow by 18.00 tonight !

Having challenged him on this he has now stated "Snow at 19.24 in Swanage". The future of mince pie eating at the station hangs in the balance on this prediction.

So the town waits.......