Thursday, 30 June 2011

Killer Fog

We had some unusual weather in town on Sunday. Anyone out towards Herston, Langton and away from the coast enjoyed beautiful sunshine, whilst those on the beach or taking part in the Armed Forces Day events in town were subjected to the Killer Fog. Well, to be fair it was a bit misty and as far as I know it didn't kill anyone, but for the benefit of the story I think killer fog is better. This photo was taken in the Godlingston area (near the cemetry) looking back into town. Scores of holidaymakers are enjoying the beach somewhere under that lot.....


Whilst some members of the MCA are on strike today, Swanage Coastguard Team will be on call.

Dive Report

The MCA have just issued the dive report for 2010. It makes an interesting read and sadly Swanage is mentioned more than once !

Again the number of dive incidents increased and sadly it included 12 fatalities.

If you are a diver, take a few minutes to have a read it could make a difference to you and maybe save your life.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

All buoy'd up

We became aware of a rumour in the town this week that we were behind plans to limit the speed of craft in the bay by placing 5 knot buoy's from Peveril Point to Ballard Point.

Lets put the record straight.......

The speed limit in the bay is changing, it will when Purbeck District Council finishes its consolation period change to 8 knots. This recommendation comes from the MCA to bring it in line with other areas around the country.

We are NOT aware of any changes to the current buoys and their positions and have supported the area stay as it is to allow all users to enjoy the bay.

The MCA provide the guidelines to be adopted by the relevant Councils however at Swanage Coastguard we go by these simple rules.

We welcome all users to the bay in what ever craft you choose to use.
We ask that you use that craft in a responsible manner and respect others.
We ask you take care and respect the current 5 knots when in that area.
You keep a sharp look out for swimmers and other users.
You carry the correct safety equipment and know how to use it.
You are aware of other users in the bay and assist them if they need help.
We all work together to ensure Swanage stays the nice and safe place it is.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Coastguard Fridge Update

Questions are being asked regarding the number of KitKats the team has consumed in the last ten days. Preliminary investigations suggest that 23 bars have been ‘seen off the premises’ ; the only saving grace is they were the two finger variety rather than four - a total of 46 fingers

A sole KitKat remains in the fridge along with an out of date apple pie. I don't want to point the KitKat finger but it was Brian who ate them. (Brian is off sick at the moment...... so as he can't defend himself we are pinning the blame on him)

Note: Other wafer covered chocolate finger biscuits are available.

Clean Sweep

The other day, Eric asked if he could bring a few Soldiers from the Signals Regiment to the Station and give them a talk on the Coastguard.

This request then developed to "could I do the talk? " then "there will only be about 20 of them"

To try to get on my good side, Eric thought he would do a bit of sweeping in the garage....only to be caught trying to hide the mess under a kayak!

So the coach pulled up and then a mini bus load of Soldiers turned up - about 60 of them!

A proud weekend

Armed Forces day saw soldiers from the Signals Regiment had the freedom of the town on Saturday.

Well done Swanage for making the event special.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Rid's Turn

At the last training session, after we managed to get Austen out of the dry suit (no easy task!) up stepped Rid for a go and equally his enthusiasm got the better of him!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

A little job

Last nights incident shows how a small enquiry by a family member turned out to have 1 helicopter, 2 lifeboats and 2 Coastguard teams get called out.

A member of the public had called Portland Coastguard concerned about a family member who hadn't turned up after a day on the water. It was believed they had left Swanage and were heading to Portland.

The Swanage IRT were tasked to make enquiries and 1st stop was the NCI lookout at Peveril (thanks to the Station Manager who kindly turned up so we could check the log book). We found the kayak had left Swanage around 10.00 but just as we were relaying this information Rescue 106 who had just finished searching for the diver spotted the craft off Anvil Point.

St Albans IRT had also been tasked to search around St Albans head so both mobiles got in a position to monitor the situation. As we arrived the kayaker was in the water and the winchman was being lowered down to airlift the casualty.

This of course left the kayak in the water and to avoid any further enquiries from the public Swanage Lifeboat and ILB who were being tasked to search for the casualty collected it and brought it ashore.

It always a good idea to tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back. Ensure you carry the proper equipment, like a VHF radio or flares.

Lucky Chap

Portland MRCC had a very busy afternoon yesterday. Just after 3pm a report of a missing diver off Lulworth had 2 lifeboats, a helicopter and Lulworth Coastguard out searching.

After 4 hours the diver had made it ashore and was spotted by a vessel assisting in the search.

The diver had seen the search units but was unable to attract their attention.

As you will read in the MCA news report on the link above, Coastguard recommend bright coloured suits and a device to attract attention when in difficulty.

Difficult Job.

A big thank you is due to Swanage Lifeboat crew for their assistance during the week in the very sad task of the recovery of a body. Never an easy task, made more difficult with the sea state. From my cliff top position it was evident that the crew did a really professional job undertaken with compassion in difficult conditions; well done.

Friday, 24 June 2011

A bit of history

A photo from the past.... around the 1980?

Things have changed a little, cliff top safety in place? How about the safety zone?

Whats interesting is that there is at least 12 people in the photo so who is using the winch at the top of the cliff? It appears the whole team is on the cliff edge?

I guess in 30 years time people will look at our photos and think how things have changed !

Thursday, 23 June 2011


PPE or Personal Protective Equipment - or in basic terms the kit we wear when out and about.

Here we have Rid modelling the "Yellow's" Full water proofs, helmet, life jacket and boots.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Search Up date

Dorset Police requested continued assistance in the search for the missing 86 year old male from Swanage this morning.

The team were paged at 9.20 for a 9.30 briefing at the Coastguard Station. The team reviewed the search carried out yesterday, liaising with both Portland Coastguard and Dorset Police.

It was decided to put search teams in to search around Ballard to concentrate around any wooded area. Search teams were joined by the Dorset Police helicopter who commenced a search in Studland. Sadly around 10.30 the helicopter located a body at the base of cliffs.  Due to the location we requested assistance from both the Swanage Lifeboats.

Our thoughts are with the family.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Search - Missing Person.

At 18:10 the full Swanage Coastguard Team were tasked to assist Dorset Police in a search for a missing elderly gentleman. Swanage Lifeboat and the Coastguard Helicopter joined the search. He has not been found as yet.

The Coastguard team were stood down at last light and will if tasked, resume the search tomorrow.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Own up.

Looks like someone fell on their backside. Anyone want to own up?

Blogger- iPhone

Working with Partners

Frequently we work with other agencies, eg RNLI, Ambulance, Police, National Trust etc when dealing with incidents. Last week on Ballard we were supplied with a grid ref by the casualty; local knowledge told us the best route up would be via the Obelisk, whilst the paramedic who had come from Poole elected to park at the Glebe Estate, run to the top and meet us there.

On a blisteringly hot day we did the decent thing and dropped him and all his kit back at his vehicle afterwards.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

The Floating Line Incident

At training on Thursday we learnt the new Water Rescue Techniques, to be honest we probably won’t have much call for them as the Swanage Lifeboat Crew will be our first request. But we need to know them just in case.

Anyway after a re-run of the theory section our Sector Manager Rob, decided that we would pop down to the beach opposite the Ocean Bay Restaurant to practice some of the techniques. We use floating line or ‘floaty line’ as we call it, which can be thrown or tied to a rescuer so that they can be kept safe. It’s yellow with red markings as a standard.

It floats.

To demonstrate how well it floats Rob treated us to a ‘floaty line masterclass’. The red bag of line was thrown into the sea and hey presto it floated, and floated....and floated. Yup it definitely stays afloat for a long time. A very long time.

Readers, you’d be amazed how far that floaty line travelled in that very long time.

We were very impressed at how well it floated, were the customers at the Ocean Bay restaurant who were heard to comment “Blimey, that line has floated an awful long way!”. Indeed it had.

That red bag started to appear smaller and smaller. Austen offered to rescue it but given it was half a mile off shore we decided it wasn't worth the risk...

...anyway it was Rob's rope not ours ;-)

While an ‘arrangement’ was reached with a local skipper to put to sea to return the floaty line, the team set about practicing throwing rescue line. It’d be fair to say from the cheers...or was that jeers?..from the restaurant that we may need more practice. For starters when you throw a line it’s meant to go in front of you. I'd like to publically shame an individual as to their rope throwing skills, but we were all equally bad.

Following the night’s performance we were treated to a coffee from Tim the owner of Ocean Bay Restaurant who said how good the cabaret was; could be book us for every Saturday night?

Meanwhile the floaty line returned safe after its voyage across the seas.

Swanage Coastguard Mobile

After some reprogramming, reformatting and computer coding we have managed to make our blog 'mobile' friendly. (Actually that's a lie, I just ticked a box and it happens automatically)

On computers, laptops and iPads, readers should get the usual full blog screen. On smaller devices like mobile phones a reformatted version will be shown.

This will download quicker and take up less of a user's 'data allowance'. See what you think.

Reformatted 'Mobile' version of the blog.

## following feedback from regular blog reader Driving Legend Ian Moustache we've pulled the mobile version after only 12 hours because 'it looks rubbish'.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Water Rescue Part 3

Having got Austen ashore, the next part was a practise around a structure (in this a small wooden one). Still no leaks in the suit

Water Rescue Part 2

Having got Austen into the suit, he was off ! At 1st he thought he could get out to the ship however there is only 40m of rope.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Water Rescue

Last nights training was "Water Rescue"......after some refresher work in the station it was off down the beach to get wet.

We don't actually get a dry suit for the real rescue work however for training we were allowed to borrow Rob's (Sector Managers) suit.

The 1st part of the training was, can you fit a DSO into the suit.

At this stage it did remind me of the Carnival Sumo race we entered a couple of years ago!

Half Century

We've now been involved in 50 incidents so far this year with the busy summer period still to come. If we look back at our busiest ever year last year, we chalked up our 50th call on 26th June; this year's 50th was ten days earlier on 16th. Looks like it could be another busy year...

We very nearly recorded our 51st incident last night, but more of that another time.

Whatever you are up to this weekend, be safe; the weather forecast for Swanage isn't great I'm afraid.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Stand Down

The full team were paged at 9.00 this morning to an incident at Peveril. However, shortly afterwards came the call to stand down; incident had been dealt with by the police and everybody was free to go back to work.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Reverse Angle

Taken moments after the photo in the previous post, this was the view from the IRT position on the hillside yesterday as Rescue 104 sets off on the short flight to Poole.In the far distance you can just make out the DSO with his camera.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Helicopter lift

Today's incident on Ballard as photographed by the DSO. Note the position of the Coastguard vehicle, quite a steep walk down for the chaps to get to the casualty.

The Mega Breakfast

Once a week Austen and I get together for a "Management" meeting. This week we added in breakfast or in Austen's case about 2 breakfasts!

The station doesnt run itself, there is training to arrange, issues to resolve and meetings to attend. Im pleased to say that the breakfast took longer to eat than the issues took to resolve!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Dragging anchor

Last nights incident shows the importance of putting enough chain out when setting your anchor especially in strong winds.

Ensure you know the weather conditions, and set your anchor correctly.

Once the boat had drifted out to deeper water it was off and across the shipping lane, thankfully no damage was caused to anyone and Poole ILB soon had the situation under control.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Coastguard Helicopter in Channel Airlift

The Coastguard helicopter from Portland was involved with airlifting a sick woman from a cruise liner off Portland this morning.

Not an easy job as the helicopter could not land on the ship.

MCA and U Tube

The MCA have gone on to U Tube with some safety video's

Remember a life jacket is no good if your not wearing it when at sea. Make sure its checked and you know how to use it.

Tow job

Yesterdays training patrol were tasked to monitor and assist Poole ILB with this break down.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Know your equipment

Last night the ILB along with the IRT were tasked to Studland and a 42ft yacht. The yacht was having problems with their steering, anchored but concerned with the weather they would drift into the shipping lane.

Swanage ILB launched and was soon along side to resolve the issue - a rope around the rudder? Something broken?

Er no, the auto helm was switched on, the ILB turned it off and hey presto job done.

So efficient were the lifeboat crew the IRT had not even managed to get to Old Harry to observe the situation.

From your lifejacket to your boat....make sure you know how things work


Rescue 106 lands on the Ferry road Studland on Wednesday to airlift a male collapsed.

Friday, 10 June 2011

See the Sea

I see that our friends at the National Trust Studland and Dorset Wildlife Trust have introduced a mile-long kayak trail around the coast line so that people can get closer to the area's marine wildlife.

This sounds a really good initiative, so get yourself properly kitted up with lifejackets, take some water etc and get down and take a look. And its probably worth doing sooner rather than later, as I hear the white marker lines they've painted on the sea bed keep getting washed away.

More info:

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Fish Tank

With one of the team away, the team have been left responsible for his fish tank.

Thankfully no fish have been lost however its been near as the filter keeps getting bunged up.

Its not just rescue work when your a team member.

So sorry for the lack of blogs this week, all the blogger's have been away, business as usual by the weekend.

Monday, 6 June 2011

O Deer

The ILB crew had an interesting job today with a deer close to Anvil Point. The deer had managed to get stuck at the base of cliffs and a member of the public had reported it to the RSPCA who in turned asked for help from the crew of the Swanage Lifeboat.

After a few minutes chasing about the deer was returned to safer ground.

Its not the 1st time the lifeboat (and on previous occassions the Coastguard team) have been called to rescue deer.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

TV Listings

TV Listings

Just noticed that later this evening on BBC Parliament (Freeview ch81) is the critically acclaimed "Coastguard Committee"; recorded highlights of the transport select committee's session on the coastguard restructure from 24 May. 
Essential Sunday evening viewing...!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Dive Dive Dive

It was all dive related today, the IRT tasked twice to incidents involving divers who had problems whilst diving and returned to the surface too quickly.

Rescue 106 lifted 3 divers in total and flew them to Poole for treatment at the decompression unit close to Poole hospital.

We have heard the 1st diver will spend about six hours in the "pot" following his incident. - Video taken from Swanage ILB

What's on?

An early morning start (6.45) today to tidy the station and catch up on the paper work.

The sun is slowly coming up although there is quite a strong breeze in the bay.

The last two days has seen the beach very busy so get down early to avoid disappointment. Remember (unlike someone yesterday) to apply the sun cream - this will help avoid the "lobster" look on Sunday morning.

The Swanage Sea rowing club are holding an event this weekend in the town, so if you wish to see some traditional gigs, pop on down to the sea front to watch events.

Friday, 3 June 2011


You think you know someone then they pull a surprise.......

During the incident at Corfe Castle we were packing up the kit and suddenly we found that Eric had a new talent.......blanket folding.

Not just a normal blanket fold, but all corners met, in fact if we had an iron he would have got the creases out.

So any hotel out there wanting their blankets folded, Eric is your man.

Thursday, 2 June 2011


Tonight's training session saw us using the new training manual the Coastguard have introduced. Tonight's subject was based on the operator role during cliff operations and saw us set up the equipment on the grassed area next to the station.

The new manual explains how to set up the equipment and then includes a knowledge check.

The equipment was stowed away and then a team debrief watching a super sun set.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

First aid

Just because there are no incidents doesn't mean we aren't busy, training with the new beach wardens has been booked in for later in the month and the spring clean continues.

All our 1st aid kits have had a major review, tidy and restock. Over 40 incidents last year involved some form of 1st aid so the kits have to be kept up to date.

The next task is the back of the truck (again!) A little reorganisation to allow the new pyrotechnic container to go in .....more on this on another blog.