Monday, 30 May 2011


Formula one teams and Coastguard teams are similar when it comes to team work.

Coastguard teams have certain people to do carry out specialist tasks (tyre changes not included unless John is about) and when everyone pulls together the rescue runs very smoothly.

As I finished the end of month returns this morning, I added up the number of call outs each team member had attended and then I thought about applying points for call outs. Unlike formula one there isn't a second or third so everyone gets 25 points if they get call out.

Unlike this years formula one season, the race is wide open and yet again the Rockett is ahead of the game but only just. Previous years have seen a close race between Hudson and Simmons however they appear to me midfielders so far.

Austen 425
Ian 400
Rid 375
Tom 300
Nick 250
Eric 225
Gareth 200
Brian 200
Steve 175
Paul 100
Dee 75
Terry 75
John In the pit lane for repairs

The season continues

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Spoke too soon

So having just written the blog last night saying nothing had went the pager!

A report of flares in land close to Knitson farm. All was a little odd as the 1st informant told us what he had seen and having liaised with the local Police, it was put down as someone out shooting with red lights.

Car Boot?

Another view from the other night during the clear out.

Meanwhile Saturday passed without incident in Swanage......Solent and Portland MRCC's were busy with incidents.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

You do it this way

John made his 2nd trip back to the station on Thursday and thought he better show some of the team how to polish their boots.

Friday, 27 May 2011

The Lamp

Last night was kit night, this is the large monthly clean and check of the equipment.

A super turn out from the team - 10 team members so a big spring clean. During the clean a lamp which had appeared at the station took a shine to Brian.

Brian was going to take it home as a present to his family, however at the last minute he decided against it. The lamp didn't like this and decided to follow Brian to his car, only to be marched back in by Brian.......

The lamp got its revenge as we shall see!

Thursday, 26 May 2011


While we were working hard Ian was in his office 'working' i.e. eating Jaffa Cakes. A double pack no less!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Lethal Weapon

Yesterday's incident at Studland was a little odd.......

Our tasking brief from Portland MRCC was a young male at Studland with a serious head and neck injury, Ambulance on scene asking for assistance.

We headed off rather sharply thinking the worse. Having located the group at Fort Henry we asked the paramedics what had happened, thinking the young chap had perhaps fallen off fort Henry.
What we were told next rather shocked us, one of the school group had hit this chap over the head with a clip board, the metal clip had caused a very nasty cut to the head.

There was no doubt it was a nasty cut and made the young man pass out. Due to him collapsing he had to be treated for a neck injury so he was carefully prepared to be airlifted to Dorchester hospital.

A small prank that caused a nasty injury......not had one of these before!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Library Pictures

In yesterday's blog I used two library pictures to illustrate the difference betweel the Petzl and the pretzel.

One of our readers suggested this would be a better choice for a library picture:

Monday, 23 May 2011


Petzl is a leading manufacturer of climbing and work-at-height equipment and is the chosen manufacturer of our descenders ('IDs'), or put another way, the piece of equipment used to control and brake the ropes (and therefore the cliff technician) when involved in cliff rescues.

We've got an extra training session around this vital equipment tomorrow night.

The first part of the training will be to differentiate between a Petzl and a Pretzel, and the two should never be confused. One is hard, will hurt your teeth and leave an odd aftertaste in your mouth, whilst the other is a professional piece of rope rescue equipment.

A Petzl ID, typical of the type we use, although this is a library picture and not actually ours

Pretzels, typical of the type we eat at training, although this is a library picture and actually ours

Sunday, 22 May 2011

How did we fit in there?

All the team have the responsibility of keeping the station tidy however from time to time it needs that "little touch" from the Station Officer to put things straight after a call out or training. For example biscuit crumbs on the floor, chairs not put away or half the teams clothing left in the vehicle.
Whilst "doing the rounds" yesterday morning, yet again I wondered how we fitted into Peveril Point, may be we could have an exercise and ask the RNLI if we could borrow the building back and see how much stuff we could get back in?

As the Coastal Safety Manager said last week at the presentations, the building at North Beach Car Park saw an investment in the Coastguard Rescue Service in Swanage and when you look at the photo above you can see how important that investment was.

Peveril Point served the Coastguard very well but to meet its 21st Century obligations it had to move on.

Saturday, 21 May 2011


At work this week, i.e. my normal day job as a planning officer , I was asked to pop out to a building to make sure it was the correct height. A neighbour had concerns that they were building it too high.

The best way to measure is to actually get up the scaffolding (safety boots and helmet, yes we have PPE at work also) and run a tape measure down the side of the building. So I ask the builders if I can go up on the scaffolding. At this point you normally you get a bit of banter from the builders

So, cue, good natured abuse, along the lines of. “Not scared of heights are we?”, “ooh it’s a lot higher than your desk!” etc, etc. Basically it gives them a good laugh to see an office-bod in a suit trying to get up a double ladder and onto scaffolding.

Sadly I disappointed them by bolting up the ladder and along the scaffolding, “ ...Oh, he’s done this before” said a builder. I laughed and explained that I was a volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officer and that their scaffolding was slightly lower than cliffs along the Dorset Coast.

After I finished the measuring we stood on the scaffolding and had a chat about the Coastguard. “What do you do?”, “Is it fun?” Sounds great! It was fair to say they were genuinely interested.

And best of all “How do I join?” So I explained.

Simply pop down or call your local coastguard station. Or visit the MCA website for more info.

 Oh, by the way, the building was the correct height, they normally are.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Friday Update

Training was delayed by half an hour last night owing to a full team page around 5.30pm.

The session itself was led by our sector manager Rob and concentrated on the identification and safe transport of time expired pyrotechnics. With the passing of each tide, there are always various bits of ordnace, flares, smokes etc that can get washed up, and each is dealt with in its own way according to the circumstances and just where abouts on the shoreline it appears.

Contrary to popular belief, members of the public cannot turn up at the Coastguard Station and ask us to dispose of out of date pyrotechnics; we are not equipped for this, so please do not ask!

In other news, the train riding pony has now been spotted at A&E and in his local pub, The White Horse, in Wrexham. Actually, I made the pub name up, it could just as easily be the Star, or The Rose and Crown, but it doesn't have the same appeal does it?

Thursday, 19 May 2011

BBC ........10:15.......UK coastguard station closure plans 'put on hold'

BBC ........10:15.......UK coastguard station closure plans 'put on hold'

Let's hope Portland MRCC are one of those chosen to be retained.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

And now for something completely different...

This has nothing to do with Coastguarding, but I just had to put it on because....well, why not?

Man with Pony tries to board train in Wales

And since several of the guys on the team have an interest in railways (although none will actually admit it) it does have a slight relevance.

This is also the reason I am allowed only occasional access to the blog...

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Medal Presentation

Norman Smee - Coastal Safety Manager South presents the long service medal to Ian

Monday, 16 May 2011

Birthday Boy

After a weekend of celebrations the theme continues today with Austen's Birthday.

Austen is the Deputy Station Officer and works hard at the station to ensure things are done correctly.

So on behalf of the team - HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Sunday, 15 May 2011

50 years Service

Last night family, friends and partner agencies attended a presentation at Swanage Bay View.

The 1st presentation was to Paul Brassington. Paul retired from the team 18 months ago after 7 years service. Paul's medical skills as a Paramedic came in very handy on many occassions.

The next presentation was to me for twenty years service to the Coastguard. The presentation was made by Norman Smee the Coastal Safety Manager (South).

Following my presentation, John Bentham was presented with his Clasp to his Long Service Medal for 30 years service. This presentation was extra special as John has been so ill recently.

Finally the team then presented a frame picture to Pip Hall our old Sector Manager who left us last year and moved to Devon.

On behalf of the team can I thank everyone who attended and to all our supporters.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

It was 30 years ago

Today is a very special day. Yep, its the first time that Brian's team has made it to the Cup Final since he was at school. And thats a long time ago, when footballers wore short shorts and the game was played in black and white.
To honour this 30 year anniversary we have arranged a special evening tonight at one of Swanage's leading function and entertainment venues where we will also celebrate another 30 year anniversary and an equally special 20 year anniversary too, and we'll no doubt look back to the days when coastguarding was done in short shorts and in black and white as well.

Full report and pictures tomorrow, although its live on ITV and Sky if you want to see for yourself, kick off 3pm.

Other leading function and entertainment venues are available

Friday, 13 May 2011

One of our blogs is missing?

Strange things are occurring on the blog......the blog posted yesterday has disappeared and no one knows why?

Sorry for the lack of photos but we are all busy at the moment preparing for a special event tomorrow......tune in over the weekend to see what that is all about.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Two at the same time

Whilst the team were out last night searching around Old Harry rocks, Portland MRCC took a call from a dive boat off Anvil Point reporting a missing diver.

One end of the patch to the other and a common problem for the Coastguard in deploying assets. Rescue 106 was tasked to the missing diver but thankfully the diver was located and taken back on board his boat.

This allowed the Coastguard team and lifeboats to continue searching the area. Whilst primarily we are there to assist in the search there is a secondary task to ensure the safety of others in the search, in this case Police officers also searching.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

21st Century

We've gone all technical, and thanks to Gareth we now have a Facebook page to go alongside our main website and this blog. Check it out, you could even 'Like' us!

And still not satisfied, our Blogmeister and Deputy Blogmeister are looking for a way of sending the rota and training invites automatically to the team via mobile phone and Google Calendars. Or perhaps they've just got one of Brian's jokes again...?

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Cliff Training

As Deputy Blog mentioned yesterday, Austen led a cliff training session last night on a beautifully sunny Swanage evening.

These sessions give experienced team members a chance to brush up on their skills and techniques whilst giving the newer recruits the relevant training on the route to becoming cliff 'operators'. And of course, it gives us all familiarity with the kit in a non-pressure situation; next time it might be for real, and it might be dark, wet, windy, cold or any combination of those.

Once the session was over and the kit stowed away, a debrief over a customary cup of tea was held at the station.

Monday, 9 May 2011


Training tonight is going to be led by Austen.

Hopefully we will be able to undertake some cliff work and try and get more training for the Cliff Technicians and Operators. Basically Technicians go over while the Operators operate the rope and safety line from the top. I saw Rid earlier and he was looking forward to starting training towards his Technician ticket.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Just watching.

Coastguards spend a lot of time just watching.

Like today when the lifeboat launched, the role of IRT was just to the lifeboat and watch the yacht in trouble. Whilst technology has greatly improved and electronics monitor the lifeboat you can not beat the mark one eye ball (or in the case of the IRT 4 eye balls)

The IRT is the eyes and sometimes ears of the Maritime Rescue Centre at Weymouth. Situations can be reported back and this allows everyone to stay safe. From the vantage point high up on a cliff the IRT can also act as safety cover to ensure other vessels stay out the way of a rescue.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Election Fever

So what have the elections got to do with Swanage Coastguard. Well it's been a well known secret (although for fairness to other candidates we've not been able to put anything on the blog) that Ian stood in the Election to Swanage Town Council.

Well he's only been elected!

Which is great news.

I reckon that he'll make a damn fine Councillor as he really cares for the town and people of Swanage.

I'm sure they'll be a lots of supportive comments from the team at training next week .... Along with requests that pavements be fixed, more dog poo bins be provided, double yellow lines in Station Road etc. etc.

Well done Councillor Brown.

I'm told he's celebrating by going to the Swanage Railway Diesel Weekend and beer festival which is um ....this weekend.(see 'local link of the week' on the top right of the blog for more info)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Last few hours

Today is the last day for the public and partner agencies to comment on the modernisation plan for future of the Coastguard.

So if you haven't had a look.....quick!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

What a place to live

Things you have to do as a Station Officer ! Local Shop wanted a beach scene so inflatable palm tree, deck chair and a local Coastguard......

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


I was at a friends the other night and in a pot there was a collection of "Nurdles".

Nurdles are the raw material of plastic and how plastic is transported around the world to be made into products (a very simple explanation).

Now sadly these little bits of plastic are finding their way into the seas, incidents like the Napolli off the Devon coast saw several containers of these go into the sea. Fish and birds eat them and this kills them, many millions of them float around and come up on the beaches.

Now my friend has a super idea to help clear them up. When his children want an ice cream, they have to collect 100 of these little things before obtaining the funds to purchase the ice cream!

Simple and a good way to help the environment?

Health warning - these are very small and not to be eaten! Be careful when digging around in the tide line, there is often all sorts of rubbish mixed in with these. Wash hands before eating ice cream. This activity should always be done under the supervision of an adult!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Whats that in your bucket?

Now before anyone thinks we are putting rude pictures on our blog.....STOP!

This is in fact a 20mm anti aircraft round, fired around 70 years ago somewhere close to Studland. Possibly from the anti aircraft battery that was sited close to Studland village protecting the Royal Navy Cordite Factory at Holten Heath.

A member of the public spotted it and reported it to Dorset Police who called a Bomb Disposal Team (EOD Team). They decided it was best to get rid of it so two police officers, two Coastguards and two National Trust Wardens closed a small part of the beach for 10 minutes whilst the EOD team carried out a controlled explosion.

As you can see, these item are very real and still dangerous......Never touch them, call 999 and ask for the Police or Coastguard.

Another Profile

Name : Ian Brown

Age - Nearly 40!

Position in the Team - Station Officer or The Boss

Qualification - Officer in Charge, Technician, Operator. First Aid, 4 x 4 driver.

Nickname - Sir - plus others but I never hear them

Biscuit Eating Potential - Very High
Role in the team - Lead the team, custodian of the equipment at the station, attend local meetings on behalf of the Coastguard. PACT chairman, COMAH meetings, Chief Cleaner (suffers from OCD at the station).

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Early Morning

An early start at Middle Beach Studland - Old Harry Rocks in the background.