Monday, 28 February 2011

Team Working

You may remember we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the dangers of walking near land slides and being aware of the tides etc?

Yesterday down in Lulworth a 36 year female got stuck in mud and required the assistance of all the emergency services.

Saturday, 26 February 2011


The Coastguard team came together at the station last night.

After any incident it is important to sit down and debrief fully and this was especially important after this weeks incident.

One of the topics raised was the impact social network sites had on the search. The number of hits on this blog went from around 100 a day to over 1000 something which had never happened even whilst our new station was being built.

I would like to thank all of the team, many who took time off work to continue the search. Dorset Police, St Albans Coastguard, NCI Swanage, Wardens at Durlston Country Park, Swanage Lifeboat Crew and the many members of the community who both searched and sent message of support.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Incident Update

It is with great regret to advise our readers that this morning Dorset Police, Coastguard and Swanage ILB were tasked to a report of a body off Ballard Point Swanage.

Although formal identification is yet to take place, Police Officers believe it to be that of Jesse Jones. His family have been informed.

On behalf of everyone at Swanage Coastguard, our thoughts are with Mr and Mrs Jones, family and friends at this very difficult time.

Incident Friday.

This morning, Dorset Police, Swanage Inshore Lifeboat, Swanage Coastguard IRT and the Coastguard Helicopter were called to an incident off Ballard Down to the north end of Swanage Bay.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Overview of the day.

HM Coastguard Swanage

Today has been a very busy day for the team, with the weather improved it was a good chance to double check areas.

I would like to thank the team members who again volunteered to search today especially in some very hazardous locations.

Today we have transferred the search information on to some large maps so we can track where has been checked.

Eric and Paul headed out to check the Zig Zag and Durlston Bay, the area is very wet and slippery.

Ian again checked the main beach area and headed out to Peveril Point.

National Coastwatch at Peveril Point scanned Ballard Down with their binoculars.

After a review with Portland MRCC and the Station Officer, it was decided to check Tilly Whim caves. Assisted by Kate from the country park, a FULL search of the caves were made with Eric and Paul providing safety cover from the top.


The Swanage ILB headed out and checked from Peveril Point to Dancing Ledge and back checking the pier area.

Finally Austen and Gareth headed back out and checked a lot of Studland.

20:00 Search Update

A search team has this evening searched Studland, Middle Beach, Knoll Beach, Pilot Point, Chain Ferry and the Heather Walks.

16:00 Search Update.

A Swanage Coastguard Search Team have deployed for a second time this afternoon, this time to the Tilly Whim caves close to Anvil Point Lighthouse in order to double check the area. The cave system is a dangerous area and for obvious reasons is not open to the general public. The team will move through the caves wearing full personal protection equipment for safety.

It's entirely understandable that the local community want to search for Jesse, and good on them for doing so. To reiterate previous advice please keep yourself safe and don’t take risks. If you do have any concerns or wish to report anything please do so; the relevant numbers are posted below.

Police 01202 222 222
Coastguard 01305 760439

Or 999 in an Emergency.

12:00 Search Update.

A smaller search team has just deployed to search to the south of Swanage. Many of these areas have already been searched once, although quite rightly they are revisited by teams at different times of day in order to make doubly sure that an area is properly covered.

A further team of volunteers will be deployed again late afternoon / early evening to continue the search.

Search for missing person - Jesse John Jones from Swanage

Search Update - Day 5

Yesterday saw a brief moment of hope when a report came in that Jesse had been sighted in a local convenience store. Swanage Police Officers along with Jesse's parents viewed the CCTV but sadly this was another person.

At this very difficult time our thoughts are with Mr and Mrs Jones.

The Swanage Lifeboat crew searched from Old Harry to Sheps Hollow and around Anvil Point whilst they were on exercise.

Today we hope to deploy to the Zig Zag area of Durlston having concentrated along the Swanage Bay shore line, Ballard and South Beach Studland.

We know that many friends have been out again and remind people to stay safe.

Please contact Dorset Police 01202 222222 or Portland Coastguard should you have any information

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Search Resumes Tomorrow.

Members of the Swanage Coastguard Team have requested that they continue searching the local area tomorrow (Thursday). As volunteers we have not been directly tasked but are being allowed to continue to provide a search capability. Team members who have been out of town today returned from their normal places of work to search again this evening; we will continue to do so.

Naturally our thoughts are with the family in what must be a particularly difficult period for them.

Search Update.

Swanage Coastguard deployed a further search team early evening in the Studland area; nothing found.

A keen eyed local person saw the search team's torches and called 999 to report what they believed to be people in danger on the cliffs. After confirming with the team the local MRCC was able to advise her that it was the Coastguard search unit; naturally she was thanked for what was a well intentioned call. Good to know the community are keeping a watch.

As ever if you’re out and about and see something that concerns you please call. If it turns out to be something that wasn’t and the call was well intentioned then that’s absolutely fine.

Search for missing person - Jesse John Jones from Swanage

Enquires are still on going re Jesse. There is a large following on facebook and other electronic media. We are aware that certain ideas of where to look are being made and friends are carrying out some of these searches.
The Coastguard will continue to support the local community, we would prefer to carry out the searches but understand in this situation people feel the need to help, so would offer this advice.
  • Dress correctly, including suitable footwear.
  • Ensure you tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back.
  • Stay out of culverts, stay off cliffs - please leave these to the emergency services.
  • Remember some land is private property
Its important to feed information to the Police or Coastguard, if you are aware of anything relevant please contact them.
Police 01202 222222
Coastguard 01305 760439
Or 999 - Dont put yourselves at risk.

Search Operations

With the permission of the Portland MRCC Operations Room the Swanage Coastguard Team hope to deploy again late this afternoon / early evening to conduct a further search of the local coastline. Last night the team, who are all volunteers from the local area, searched from Ballard through to Durlston.

The search units work in teams of two or three and wear full protective gear, helmet, gloves, high vis’ waterproofs and reinforced boots etc. HM Coastguard has supplied high intensity LED torches and headlights for night searches and we have night vision capability if necessary. Everywhere is checked, beach huts - within/under/above, larger rubbish bins, under upturned boats, etc.

The search teams follow an ‘ops normal procedure’ whereby they sign in by VHF radio every 15 minutes with the search controller. The current location of each search team is given along details of the area searched and whether the operations are normal or otherwise. Teams are stood down for rest after 2 hours and then back out; on longer searches the team rotate in order that once a search team are tired and less effective they can be refreshed. Using this procedure a team can search effectively for a full day or more.

Our flank teams like St Albans are crucial and provide further support, typically in a full search scenario a team of 25 persons might deploy to the defined search area in about 30 minutes.

Key to an effective search is to remain safe, organised, methodical and thorough.

Blogger- iPhone

Concern for Missing Swanage Man - Jesse Jones

The Swanage Coastguard team voluntarily deployed again last night to check the shoreline.

Dorset Police have issued a press release regarding Jesse.

Anyone with information regarding Jesse should contact Dorset Police on 01202 222222

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Search Units

The Swanage Coastguard Team deployed specialist search units along the coastline again tonight. Nothing found.

Search for Missing Person - Jesse John Jones from Swanage.

Jesse John Jones went missing from Swanage early on Sunday morning.

The Swanage and St Albans Coastguard teams deployed specialist search teams on Monday after a request from Dorset Police. Due to the treacherous weather conditions up on the cliff paths the teams were stood down at last light. We remain on standby to search again today.

A Facebook page has been set up to help find Jesse.

Naturally if you have any information please contact Dorset Police on 01202 222 222.


Yesterdays search for a local missing person was conducted around the high spring tides. At the Northern end of the bay the path is blocked making people have to get on the beach, bit of problem when the tide is so high.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Slip watch.......we missed it!

I had a little trouble getting this photo due to the high tide. Sometime in the last few days this lot came down. Sadly the owner of the building on the left wont be able to open the door now!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

21st Century

We carried out a short trial on an new piece of kit earlier, although sadly it's not one that's likely to become a permanent feature for a while yet.

The hubb@ uses 3G mobile networks to provide high speed WiFi coverage in places where it isn't normally available - such as the Coastguard Station for example. Simply plug in the mains adapter and away you go. For the really keen you can run all your telephones by VOIP thus eliminating any future call costs. And, unlike a dongle, any amount of users can benefit - subject to them knowing the password of course.

Having the station enabled would be one thing, but to a rescue service the real benefits would be out in the field during emergencies. Imagine being out on a search and with a hubb@ in the truck we'd be able to download all the search maps and images of the area. Or, on a bigger scale, a mobile control room with a hubb@ on board and several operatives all on-line receiving and sending back real time data. The possibilities are endless. You could even WiFi enable your yacht, but the Coastguard Service doesn't provides yachts so I guess that won't affect us...

Thanks to our friends at Buzz Networks in Wareham for lending us the trial piece of kit and making me look vaguely technical!

(There are many different types of these devices available on the market)

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Half Term

Half Term

Its half term this week and that means more people out and about enjoying the coast.  Poor weather is forecast for the start of the week, so if you're thinking of walking the coast path (which is likely to be muddy and slippery), sailing, beachcombing, fishing etc then keep one eye on the tides, one eye on the weather, one eye on the safety of the people in your party and one eye on......  Anyway, well just take care and be safe!

In other eye-related news:
Q: What do you call a fish with no eye? 
A: fsh

Q: what do you call a deer with no eye?
A: No idea.

Q: What do you call a deer with no eyes and no legs?
A: Still no idea.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

First Aid Assessment

A last minute practise before being assessed last night.....still Tom remained very quite for once.

I believe the team passed and are re qualified which is just as well after 24 medical incidents last year.

(for the H&S bods at HQ, he was monitored and could breath throughout this practise, no CRO was harmed whilst making this photo.)

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Gutter

You may remember the problem with the gutter at the station? We thought it had been broken by someone trying to jump on the roof, however having viewed the evidence we think it was caused by the cold weather we had. The water in the gutter froze and the weight has twisted the gutter.

Should anyone now be thinking of jumping on it, I wouldn't , the chances are the whole lot will now fall off until its repaired.!

Check the tides

In an earlier blog, I mentioned the danger of being cut off by the tide due to movement in the cliffs. In the above picture you can see the waves touching the cliff bottom, anyone to the north would be cut off had the water been higher.

Check out this MCA web page about tides.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Slip Watch

Taken on Sunday during heavy rain and wind, you could actually see the clay slipping down.

Keep an eye on the left hand hut as there is a large piece of concrete on the move.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Ferry Terry update.

I hear ‘Ferry Terry’s' first day in his new job went pretty well. Unofficial sources say he didn’t loose too many people over the side when loading the Chain Ferry.

Early reports are that they are missing 4 cyclists, 3 cars, a Mr Kipling delivery van and two walkers; one with a west highland terrier.

They may let him loose in one of the toll booths next week.

(The question I'm asking myself is ...just how many cherry bakewells did he have before the van accidently fell of the ferry?)  

Ferry Terry's 1st Day at work

Today is Terry's 1st day in his new office and he will soon to be at the controls of the Bramble Bush Bay.

Thankfully for Terry the ferry can only go forwards and backwards and the only major issues are:

Stopping at each end of the chain (or you will find the ferry up at the toll boxes)
Remember to put the ramps down.
Which way to push the lever to make it go forward.
Dodge the thousands of yachts and boats in the summer.
Give way to Barfleur when she comes in and out of the harbour.
Remember to move every 20 minutes
Not to go fishing when things are a little slack.

Of course Terry is not the 1st team member that works on the ferry, our Paul normally works in the toll booth. Any rumours that the whole team will be working on the ferry by August should be discounted.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

News from Around the Country

From the BBC (there are other news channels)

MRCC Portland have been dealing with a mine off Weymouth

Scottish Minsters are seeking views if the Coastguard Service (in Scotland) should be devolved to Holyrood.

MRCC Portland deal with capsized kayak off Weymouth

MRCC Portland, Beer Coastguard and Rescue Helicopter locate missing boy.

Date for your Diary

The BBC News reports that a public meeting will be held next month over the proposed closure of Dorset's Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) at Portland.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Going Out on time

Its no coincidence last year the team headed out on patrol at 2pm as statistically for the last 7 years most incidents happened on a Saturday and Sunday between 2pm and 5pm. Having the vehicle out meant the IRT could respond quicker and be on scene reporting back to the MRCC.

So funny yesterday at 14.03 as Austen and Terry arrived on station to do some training ,off went the pagers!

Ferry Terry

Apparently the recession has hit hard in Spain and as such Terry’s Shop is selling less pants. Terry has therefore decided to get a Saturday Job. He starts work on Monday onboard a cruise ship.

I say cruise ship it’s actually the Sandbanks Ferry.

So from today he’ll be known as ‘Ferry Terry’.

Good Luck Ferry Terry.

IRT Callout

14:02 The IRT have been called out to an incident at Peveril Point. Our local MRCC at Portland are co-ordinating the rescue. More later.

Friday, 11 February 2011


Part of the Swanage Coastguard patch includes Durlston County Park. We have a lot of incidents up there ...not because it’s inherently dangerous, far from it, it’s just a lot of people visit.

Rightly so as it’s a lovely place to go walking.

“Durlston Country Park and National Nature Reserve, situated 1 mile from Swanage in Dorset, is a fabulous 280 acre countryside paradise, consisting of sea-cliffs, coastal limestone downland, haymeadows, hedgerows and woodland. With stunning views, walking trails, the historic Great Globe, superb geology and fascinating wildlife there is always something different to see."

An amazing variety of wildlife, dolphins, puffins and peregrine falcons. It has cows too; big hairy brown ones with horns. (I may do a special feature on these cows tomorrow, if Ian can have Slipwatch, then I can have Cow-watch)

Durlston Country Park looking east towards Anvil Point Lighthouse

It’s free to visit and parking is a reasonable £1 for 2 hours weekdays or £2 for 2 hours weekends. There is a cracking walk down to the Anvil Point Lighthouse which opens its doors so you can have a look inside.

Meanwhile Durlston Castle is coming on a treat. It’s part of a Dorset County Council project to refurbish the premises to become the gateway to the Jurassic Coast. The project has been running for a number of years and I reckon that this year this place will become even more special and hopefully will receive the national recognition it deserves.

Well worth a look.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Slip Watch

In the latest episode of "Slip watch" just a small amount of movement from the previous picture, its whats above the building which could be interesting.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Out for a walk

Now patrols and accident prevention are stopped, the only way the team can keep pace of the changing landscape is by walking the patch (in their own time) and updating the information board at the station or highlighting issues during training.

The above picture taken just north of Sheps Hollow shows another slip which could cause problems this year. Not only is it still moving, but there is a risk anyone to the north of it (under Ballard) could be cut off at certain tides and then risk climbing up and over the mould and getting stuck. Whilst the top "crust" appears solid, put weight on it and you will sink into the clay (that's why its slipping due to the water content plus other factors).

So if you are out for a walk, check the tides, weather and stay off the cliffs.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

1st Aid

Tonight's training, session two of our 1st aid training. Under the watchful eye of Terry (Paramedic) we ran some sessions like we might come across, perhaps a person collapsed in a kitchen?

We have over the years been flagged down by the public to help in properties. It also was useful training to work in a tight location.

Sunny at Durlston

Sunday, 6 February 2011

News round up

Humber Coastguards talking about how vital local knowledge is.

Search in Cumbria called off.

Am I that old?

So there I was at the museum the other night, looking through these old logs and the very last one looked a little familiar .

Many many years ago, we kept a log in the mobile to write up details of incidents. Flicking through the pages, I came across this entry which related to a cliff incident at Dancing Ledge.

23 July 1992.....Team members - Aux I/C Ian Surface, I Brown (some young man??) J Smith, M Williamson, D Eggleton, B Smith, J Bentham , J Peto and the SXO - Sector Manager as they are called now.

My handwriting hasn't got any better and what a thought, something I wrote is now in a museum! I also think I have the plastic maroon case fired that day ....

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Slipping away part 2

On the 26th January we posted the above picture taken towards the northern end of the beach.

10 days on and to confirm what we said, things were still moving. With the wet weather continuing there will be still more movement and remind people not to climb up to have a look.


CG19's are station logs, everything that goes on at a station is recorded in one. We have a quite a few at the station going back to the late 1980's which forms the history of the station.

Back in the 1990's, the Coastguard Service went through a period of time when stations had a clear out and records were thrown away or removed from the station on the orders of senior management.

Imagine throwing out you family photo albums? well that's like getting rid of your station logs!

Thankfully at the time certain team members kept the logs hidden or at home, hoping one day to be allowed to return them. The late Ian Surface was one of these and kept a lot of history which went right back to the start of the service in the town. We are very grateful to his family for passing them back to us for the benefit of town and help keep the history of the station together.

I'm pleased to say the modern Coastguard Service has a different view of Coastguard history and realises the importance of having these documents. Now things have slowed down a bit it has given me time to start looking at it all again.

Readers of our main web site might notice that there is a period of history from 1980 to 1985 missing from our records....."the great clear out covered this time" so I thought it was lost for ever, until i went to the town museum.

David Haysom, was at a local auction house one day and discovered a pile of Coastguard books which he purchased. I can only guess how they ended up there but the importance of these books is it covers the period 1982 to 1988 so by careful reading we should be able to reconstruct some of the history during this period.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Pants and Socks?

Having been ordered last year the uniform finally arrived this week. As deputy blog already mentioned, Brian had all the points this year so the rest of us could only order pants and socks!

We will no doubt find that since ordering last September, team members will have "grown" a little (outwards not height wise!) so lets see what will still fit!

I've been framed!

Checked my post tray this morning and some naughty team member has left four chocolates ready to catch me out! Keep trying team......not falling for that one.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

News Round Up

Some more news from the BBC from around the country regarding maritime matters

Story on a hoax call, waste time, money and putting lives at risk.

Skipper of fishing boat that ran aground in Scotland fined.

Purbeck Footprints

Our 'patch' must have one of the most impressive and varied bits of scenery along the whole coastline with its Jurassic Coast, Purbeck Hills and Studland Heath.

If you haven't had chance to see much of it yourself you could do worse than check out the local wildlife photography blog Purbeck Footprints. It's run and updated daily by Swanage resident Julian Sawyer who takes all the photos, writes the witty captions, reads our blog and is generally an all round good bloke. Its a wonder he ever gets time to go to work.

I'm not sure why its called Purbeck Footprints because that's about the only thing you won't find. Well, only if he's too late and the animal's run off. But seriously, the photography really is first class and well worth a look.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

News Flash

For those who log on for "Swanage News", firefighters are dealing with a huge barn fire up at Langton. Visible from most parts of Swanage and leaving a plume of smoke over the town, the fire has been going on since around 5pm.


Checking on the BBC news site today, there was quite a lot of maritime news.

  • Coastguards in Stornoway lifted 14 crew off a French fishing boat after the vessel hit rocks. One of the larger Coastguard helicopters lifted all the crew in about 45 minutes.

  • Newsnight Scotland, "Report on the campaign about the reduction of the Coastguard Service"

A Long Walk

It was a lovely day on Sunday so I took the family for a walk along the coast path; out past Belle Vue Farm, along the coast path past the western mile markers, drop down to Dancing Ledge and back out past Spyway Barn (where the IRT were invloved in a search in December) and back to Swanage along Priests Way.

It didn't seem very far at the time, but my phone obviously thought so as when I checked it I'd got a text message from Vodafone welcoming me to France. Perhaps it was further than I thought!
All I need now is another one welcoming me back to England!