Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Coastguard Helicopters grounded

Coastguard Helicopters grounded

August 31st

Its the end of August and people's thoughts start to turn to darker evenings and the children back to school!

The weather has not been brilliant at times but the beach has been busy with visitors. As the traditional beach season comes to a close Swanage is far from closing down for the winter. With events like the folk festival and another blues festival there is still plenty to look forward too.

Moving into September the team will continue to head out at the weekends but this is to check our remoter locations, ensuring local knowledge is up to date and access can still be made in the vehicle.

Monday, 29 August 2011

August points

Tonight I have finished the end of month paperwork for August - a record again for the 2nd year running - 44 incidents.

Several team members have been asking where they standing in the incident chart (25 points for a call out)

Station Officer 975
Eric Hudson 900
Deputy Station Officer 800
Tom Simmons 675
Nick Field 600
Richard Curtis 525
Brian Craker 525
Gareth Kitching 525
Paul Brown 300
Dee Bowden 250
Steve Lacey 150

Strong preformance from Eric this month and Tom caught several early morning call outs with Rid.

Further update in September to follow

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Busy Sunday

Sunday of the Bank Holiday weekend started quiet for the team....

The local knowledge training team ('patrol' for the old school) reported nothing, except for a win for the pink ferret at the Studland Country Fair and a chat with the lifeboat Coxwain about lifeboat week.

But then at 5pm, it all kicked off: Firstly a report of a jogger en route from Lulworth to Swanage, overdue by 3 hours. Initially an IRT job, this soon developed into a BURT (full team) search along the cliffs to the west of the lighthouse. Teams further along at St Albans, Kimmeridge and Lulworth got involved too.

Search Teams deployed on the higher and lower paths westwards from the lighthouse. 
(Photo Courtesy Of: The Swanage Shadow)
At 7.30pm just as the team was given the nod to stand down (casualty reported safe and well in Swanage) another walker in the same area reported two missing 16 year old males, missing for approximately an hour an a half. The full team regrouped and set about another search; again all ended safe and well.

Finally the IRT have been out again tonight, responding to reports of unidentified red and white lights on the cliff. A thorough search revealed two hikers, bedding down in bivvy bags, using torches to read their maps and guides for tomorrow. Again, both safe and well, but both thankful that someone had seen their lights and had bothered to call 999 just in case.

I wonder what Bank Holiday Monday will bring?

Studland Country Fair & Austen's Ferret

There's a country fair over in Studland again today; and to save any confusion they've cleverly named it the Studland Country Fair .  It's great fun. 

Yesterday saw Coastguard Bravo (Austen) announce that he had a weasel in his trousers, that a man had put a ferret down his Coastguard overalls; apparently this is what you do at country fairs. Eric was given the 'opprtunity' but declined... so maintaining his dignity.

The ferret is now undergoing psychological assessment and treatment , but vets say that despite the trauma it will make a full recovery.

A Traumatised Weasel  Ferret

Today and its a 5k running race, organised by Purbeck Runners. ...there's still time to enter.

Can I enter on the day? Yes, you will be most welcome. Costs £7 and is open between 9am and 10.30am. Please come early if possible and unfortunately we will not be able to except entries after 10.30am. Our two “Registration Teams”  can be found in the “Big Blue Gazebo”

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Bank Holiday Weekend

An odd week for the team.....nothing happened!

So entering the final weekend of August and being the Bank Holiday, remember your safety if you are out and about.

Check the weather

Check the tides

Ensure you have the correct clothing for the event you are doing

Check and ENSURE you know your safety equipment

Enjoy the weekend !

Friday, 26 August 2011

What do points make ?.....Prizes! ....Good game, good game.

It's that time of the year where we get to exchange our Coastguard Points for new uniform or kit. Basically we get 50 points to spend on kit that we need. We order in August ...and if we are lucky we get it before next August. The big white bags turn up and its a free for all.

What do points make? Prizes!

So what do you get for the points?

Well socks is 2 points, a shirt 8 points etc.... and ladies hold up tights 3 points apparently.

Sometimes we club together to buy an expensive item like Brian's jacket which was 80 points. Regular readers will know that last year Brian was banging on about a jacket so we clubbed together to get him one with our own points - naturally we like to let him know at every opportunity that we 'paid' for it.

So last night was an important kit night and the final opportunity to fill in the forms and order kit.

I went for some shirts and a hat, ooh and pushed the boat out with a further 8 points by ordering a tie. Nick went for some socks, a couple of shirts and a jumper,

....while Austen went for the ladies tights only to be veto'd by Ian saying they were for lady rescue officers only. Fair play to Austen he tries to order them every year which shows perseverance.

So no Brucie Bonus for Austen.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Coastguard Consultation

There is still the second consultation in place to help shape the future of the Coastguard.

Please take time to read the proposals and comment on them, its very important that this second set of proposals it closely read and users of the maritime world have their say.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

HM Coastguard (Swanage) - About Us

HM Coastguard responds to Search and Rescue (SAR) incidents that occur within the UK SAR region. This region covers some 1.25 million square nautical miles of sea and over 10.5 thousand nautical miles of coastline.

The Swanage Team is one of 402 Coastguard Rescue Teams (CRTs) in the UK currently having 13 volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officers who are on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Our new station at the North Beach Car Park was opened on the 6th February 2009, replacing the old station built in 1842 at Peveril Point. The new premises give us better facilities and road access to our patch, which has just about every type of terrain possible, from sand and mud to 375ft cliffs.

The northern boundary starts at Middlebere Farm on the shores of Poole harbour (the Worlds 2nd largest natural harbour), taking in Wytch Farm, Europes largest onshore oil field. Out of the harbour by the Chain Ferry and along into Studland and the World famous Old Harry Rocks, the starting point of the World Heritage Site known as the Jurassic Coast which follows the coastline into Devon. Into Swanage and across the treacherous Peveril Ledges leads into Durlston Bay and round to Anvil Point, finally ending at our border with the St Albans team at Dancing Ledge. 

There are three types of Coastguard Team, Rope, Search and Mud.  The Swanage Team is classified as both a Rope Rescue and Enhanced Search team having specialist equipment to deal with these types of maritime emergencies.As well as our specialist skills the team is principally the eyes and ears of the Operations Room in Weymouth (Known as Portland Coastguard Rescue Coordination Centre) and often members will be watching and passing vital information back to the centre during a rescue.The team has two main types of callouts. 

Initial Response Team (IRT), this is a two person team normally sent out to investigate an incident or give assistance until further rescue units arrive, or

The Back up Response Team (BURT), this is the reminder of the team and will be used on rope rescues or searches.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Weather Warning

The Met Office has issued a Yellow weather warning for parts of the country which includes east Dorset.

Please take time to check the weather and be aware that heavy rain is expected.

Stolen! Cube AMS Mountain Bike Swanage

One of the chaps on the lifeboat crew had his bike stolen from outside Arkwrights last night. Its a distinctive CUBE AMS and easy to recognise so if you saw anything or know anything or are offered it, please get in touch with the police or with us through our website if you prefer. 

The lifeboat crew have just had a very busy Lifeboat Week, with various entertainments including the live music and fete at Prince Albert Gardens, the Build a Boat contest and the ever-popular raft race. All these guys (and ladies) work flat out for a week to raise a few bob for the service and put a few smiles on peoples' faces, not to mention risking their lives year round rescuing those in difficulty, and this is the thanks they get.

Please keep a good look out, ask around, and lets try to find this bike.

Originally posted by Occasional Blog @11:28 Reposted with revised title to allow google search pickup.


The purpose of my trip at the weekend was non coastguard related however you can see there was some connection as it involved off road driving which is often used in the Coastguard world.

The brief was simple around an off road course whilst a film company films you pressure then?

The above picture above was my great friend Selwyn, there was a slight issue after this picture was taken, when the filming company lost the mini camera buried in the bank. A full search of the water was carried out and a relieved camera man located his £200 camera and went off to dry it off.

After this (and lunch, this filming business is hard work you know) it was off to a Welsh hill to get some more photos.

(Other 4x4 vehicles, film companies and off road courses are available, no stunt double was harmed in this production)

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Rescue 106 and Swanage Lifeboat

From Nick's Balcony


Right the Station Officer has returned from his diplomatic visit to Wales, I'm awaiting a full report of the visit to the Zoo and then it looks like I have to pay for a load of breakfasts?

05:57 Bacon Sarnies, Bears and the Zoo

05:57 Stuffed - (Austen is out of shot getting another round of sardines sarnies in).

As the boss is away we all got up specially this morning to have bacon sarnies and a coffee down at the cafe; naturally we put it on his tab. (Actually we had been searching Studland, Worth Matravers and Studland again for  a missing person since 04:24). The missing person has now been found by Dorset Police, excellent.

The lifeboat chaps turned up to the cafe at 06:41. They gave us some good natured abuse about why they had been tasked to search given the missing person had said he was in a wood and could see the sea. They said they were more than delighted to come along to search the wood in their boats; and that this was an even more enjoyable experience given how early it was....or supportive words to that effect.

Apologies to the campers who were actually in the centre of the wood, wild camping. They were rudely awakened by blue flashing lights, the launch of a para-illuminate flare which after a large bang smoked the place out, followed by people with torches shouting...oh and a helicopter overhead. They were foreign and probably wondered what on earth was going on. 

After waking them, Gareth didn't help the matter by teasing the campers that they needed to be careful camping as there were bears in the wood. 'Three of them, in varying sizes' said Eric. On reflection I think they may have believed us. No really i think they did, oops.

On the way back from the search Brian stated that later in the day he was off to the Zoo; Marwell Zoo. This gave us the opportunity at 05:36 to sing 'Going to the Zoo Tomorrow' - an all time favourite Coastguard tune; although technically speaking he was going today.... not tomorrow.  Naturally as Coastguard officers we are trained to adapt to the demands of a situation and changed the lyrics accordingly.

Brian's taking us to the zoo tomorrow, later today,
Zoo tomorrow later today  zoo tomorrow later today
Brian's taking us to the zoo tomorrow later today
We can stay all day.

We're going to the Marwell zoo, Marwell zoo, Marwell zoo;
How about you, you, you?
You can come too, too, too.
We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo.

There won't be many times in my life when at 05:34 five grown men in a truck get to sing that song.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Bournemouth Air Show

Following their flypast over Swanage this morning a Red Arrow has crashed near Bournemouth. We understand a Coastguard Helicopter is in attendance at the crash scene.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Bournemouth Air Show

The Bournemouth Air Show had a much better day today with some flying rather than the rain and mess yesterday.

The Red Arrows, Battle of Britain flight and a Royal Navy Merlin to mention a few of the aircraft to be seen.

There were many craft on the water today and a couple of them had to be recovered after break downs, so ensure if you are going by boat you have your safety equipment. We are going to too many incidents at the moment where life jackets are not being worn (or actually on board!). Life jackets are essential and save lives make sure you have one and wear it.

For those perhaps walking to Old Harry to watch the flying.....mind the edge and if you are taking a dog, ensure its on a lead.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Rain rain go away....

Torrential rain in Swanage and Bournemouth this morning....

"I could tell it was raining cats and dogs as I accidently stepped in a poodle."

Isle of Wight Incident.

Sadly over on the Isle of Wight two persons have lost their lives in an incident where car went over a cliff at Culver Down near Sandown on the southern side of the Island.

The call came in at 8pm to the Solent Ops Room who co-ordinated the emergency response;  I imagine with nightfall approaching that would have been a difficult operation for all the emergency services involved.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A Breeze-y Day

The IRT have just returned from Studland after Portland MRCC tasked them to a dog fallen from the cliffs towards Ballard.

Her name is 'Breeze' and thankfully she survived the 60+ ft drop onto the beach/water.

After 14 call outs to dogs last year this happens to only the 2nd so far this year, we would like to reminder owners to ensure their dogs are kept on leads when near the cliff tops.

Her owners from Hampshire were most grateful to the Kayakers and the Coastguard for a speedy recovery of their pet.

Swanage Hospitality Association

The Swanage Coastguard Team are pleased to announce that we have joined the Swanage & Purbeck Hospitality Association.

The Association is about promoting Swanage (and the Purbecks), the events and the places to stay in the town.

We want visitors to have a good and safe time in Swanage and by working with the association we hopefully will be able to promote good safety advice to visitors via the many guest houses, shops and hotels.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Big Cat Sighting

On one of the call outs last week, Tom decided he had seen a big black cat up near the old Forres School.....Of course the team were fully supportive of their colleague and believed him (not). Was it a badger? A larger than usual black cat?

Well actually I also came across a panther last Legoland.

Swanage Carnival 2012

We have only just finished Carnival week and I've already been asked when Swanage Carnival 2012 is. Well it's 28th July until 4th August 2012.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Beer Festival

The IRT turns up to say hello.

What a lovely beer festival. A number of off duty Coastguards popped over to The Bankes Arms at Studland on Sunday to try a few of the 200 beers on offer. The proprietor Tom Lightbown is very supportive of the Swanage Coastguard Team, and it was nice to share a beer and have a chat.

We all got home safely from the beer festival; I can confirm that none of the Coastguard Team threw themselves over the handlebars of their mountain bike and fractured their wrist in an attempt to get out of fitting a new kitchen.

Meanwhile in other completely separate and in no way related whatsoever, not even a little bit, news......

......we have heard that a member of the Swanage Lifeboat crew may have broken his wrist.  Not sure how this happened, but I think he was on the way back from some event, somewhere near Studland.

To preserve his anonymity we shall call him 'Secret Chef'. Although there is little point as it's Swanage Lifeboat Week and he will be easy to spot as he'll be the one wearing the plaster cast!!!

So give him a wave if you see him.... just don't expect one back!

Get well soon 'Secret Chef'.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Gone with the wind (again)

This afternoons patrol have yet again been involved in an incident where two young children were blown out to sea on an inflatable.

When on the beach ensure you know which way the wind is blowing.

Be aware the wind is often stronger just off shore.

Children using inflatables should be monitored at all times.

Eric was telling me this afternoon that the incident earlier in the week had some rather angry parents after being advised by the IRT to keep an eye on their children. (they had already been rescued once !). - The role of the IRT is to give the best advice not to spoil someones day.

Ready Set Inflate

Mudeford Quay, Dorset....... June 2011

About 60 children and adults inflated their lifejackets en masse at Mudeford Quay, east Dorset as part of the international Ready Set Inflate! event.


This did make me laugh when I saw it. 

Saturday, 13 August 2011


Tomorrow sees the start of the Swanage Lifeboat Week which has more events and entertainment for the town.

Mean while at Studland, its the Studland Beer Festival at the Bankes Arms, music and a few different beers to try out in lovely surroundings. Remember if you are boating to the event ensure you take your safety equipment - life jacket.

Perhaps whilst at the Bankes Arms, take a few minutes to pop down to Joe's Cafe at South Beach to have a coffee. Sadly this business was broken in a couple of weeks ago and the offenders decided to set fire to the hut - a total mindless thing to do. The owner has set up a tented cafe to keep the business going whilst major repairs are carried out. So pop down and support them.........

Friday, 12 August 2011

Inflatables (again)

Following on from the inflatable rescues Portland Coastguard watch officer John Braysher issued some wise words of advice.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Dont put off calling the emergency services.

Readers may remember a rescue last year when a young chap was airlifted from Ballard having fallen from his bike.

Thankfully no lasting injuries just heavy bruising. This chap happened to be a friend (and god son) and learnt alot from that incident or I thought so.

A few weeks ago, riding on Ballard he came off again and this time cut himself badly in several places. Not wishing to cause the emergency services any further trouble he managed to get up and get home to be patched up.

Thankfully he was again wearing a helmet and the correct clothing so this saved further injury.

So a further chat on why on earth didn't he call for help....never put off calling the emergency services, accidents do happen and we can bring quick assistance.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Au Secours! Aide Moi!

There's been a fresh westerly wind in Swanage today - ie from the west, blowing out to sea.
For several users of inflatable dinghies this was great as having taken to their trusty craft they were 100 metres or more off shore in no time at all with hardly any effort at all. Such good rowers, you think they'd join the local rowing club perhaps?
But then the trouble started as soon as they tried to paddle back, because oddly, despite paddling furiously towards the beach they continued to go in the original direction. East. Out to Sea. Next stop the Isle of Wight. or France if you're unlucky.
Three casualties in the space of 45 minutes, one rescued by the inshore lifeboat, one by a passing motorboat and the third by a kind kayaker who put to sea to recover two childeren of about 8 and 10 whilst the parents read the paper on the beach.

There's a message there somewhere: If there's a strong off shore breeze, don't let your kids go off unsupervised in a dinghy. Keep it on a long line, stand alongside it holding on, or stay on the beach and save the dinghy for another day. For six lucky people today there might not have been another day.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Adder Bite

Adders sunbathing at Tilly Whim Caves - sorry basking not sunbathing.

Yesterday the team were called to assist a lady who had been bitten by an adder.

Don't drink and drown.

A major campaign of the MCA is not to mix alcohol and maritime activities.

Whether its swimming or boating, its like driving a car under the influence and yes you can be breathalised if you are at the helm of a boat and considered drunk.

Coastguard's will be at Studland this weekend coming at the Studland Beer Festival to ensure the event is a success and people stay safe.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Eric's Bus

This converted bus was found parked next to the station on Sunday. The thought of a County named after Eric is something but a technology school!


Rescue 106 at Burnbake Camp site on friday

Sunday, 7 August 2011

What a day

Six incidents later and out for nearly 7 hours the patrol finally gets back to the station.

For those not in Swanage right now, very dark storm clouds are gathering and there has been some lighting in the direction of Corfe Castle.

The incidents today were caused by the wind, capsizing, masts snapped and two of them were caused by owners not setting enough rope/chain on their anchors so their crafts drifted out to sea.

So words of advice today......know the weather and ensure you set your equipment correctly.

Tom needs some sleep

Poor old Tom, for the 4th night Tom got called out in the early hours to attend an incident.

It was interesting this week to hear from Tom's wife the process that actually happens when Tom's pager goes off......

Tom is woken by his wife......pager going off.

Tom manages to dress himself.

Tom's wife in the mean time has unlocked the door, found the car keys and sent him on his way.

I do wonder if the wife's should actually carry the pagers?

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Working together

This afternoons incident shows the close working that goes on behind the scenes.

As usual the Station Officer was out for a walk and stopped at the angling club to speak to the Lifeboat DLA who had been watching a small sailing dinghy close to Peveril.

Linda had been concerned for the safety of the male sat on the bow holding on to the sail, a rather odd thing to be doing. Linda had already spoken to the watch keeper at the National Coast Watch lookout at Peveril Point and asked the boat be kept under observation.

The Station Officer continued up to the lookout and found the watch keeper on the phone to Portland MRCC, handing the phone over the details were confirmed and a local fishing boat spotted who might be able to help.

San Gina Two, skippered by one of the lifeboat crew was called up by Portland Coastguard and kindly agreed to check the sailing dinghy. Along side in minutes Tom confirmed the boat with two people on board was having problems and wanted a tow.

San Gina Two towed the boat into the boat park to be met by the IRT where words of advice (especially around the wearing of life jackets!) were given.


As of this morning we are unto 80 incidents , this compares to 100 at the same time last year.

Regular readers will remember that last year was our busiest year ever with 165 call outs. In a 'normal year' we have about 110-120 call outs.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Red Arrows

Well if you weren't in Swanage then you missed a really good show, the bay was packed with boats and the Downs and Sea Front packed........

Thankfully it all passed off peacefully for everyone and no Coastguard incidents to report.

An hour to go....

Until the Red Arrows perform over Swanage Bay.

Early start for the Team.

Brian 'where's my kitkats?' Craker turned out to last nights this mornings very early shout after getting dressed in the dark.

We definitely did not start singing Rupert, ....Rupert the Bear at him.

Blogger- iPhone at 'something ridiculous o'clock.'

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Words of advice.

The role of the IRT is to be the eyes and ears of the Operations Room but also to find out what has happened in an incident and then where applicable give some advice.

Today incident when a pin on a mast broke and saw the sails come down perhaps couldn't be helped, just one of those things that happens from time to time. The two young chaps had the right clothing on and did the right thing, they waved for help and as it happened was spotted by the Station Officer out for a walk.

As I was taking their names and address (for the records only) one of the lads said he had thought about trying to swim ashore........Noooooooo I said.

Never be tempted to do that I explained, always stay with your boat and keep waving. I explained its easier to see the hull of the boat than a little head in the water.

Our role is to help prevent incidents by giving advice (never a telling off)

The sun is out

the sun is finally out and people are beginning to come out. both coastguard helicopters are around swanage on exercise.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Another long day

This week the Station Officer and Deputy Station Officer have been on Shore Road enjoying the sun shine and of course be on hand to deal with any emergency.

It so happened the Station Officer had to go out of town today and as normal it all happened, incident with the helicopter and two lost children.

Tonight the team (some working under cover) monitored the gig racing and watched the sandcastle competition finishing the night with yet another excellent firework display.

With the Red Arrows on Friday, the advice is to come in early to park (and then spend some time in the town).

Red Arrows 18:00 this Friday

The Red Arrows are due in Swanage at 18:00 Friday 5th August 2011. Third year in a row.
Tom (Red 11) overseeing the action.

The bay provides a natural amphitheatre so not only does it provide great viewing points to see the action the roar from the jets is accentuated. Some top viewing spots include The Downs and Ballard where you can take some cracking close up photos.

Few people know this but Tom, above, is an ex-red arrow pilot.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Nearly gone with the wind!

As in past years the SO and DSO camp down at their respective beach huts during carnival week to assist the smooth running of the beach and be ready to deal with anything quickly.

So yesterday there I was about to have a cup of tea when the phone rang...(Austen's hut is about 4 huts away)....."there is an inflatable being blown out to sea two persons on it"

Austen ran off to get the truck (which up to this year remained close to hand just in case) but theres another story involving a traffic warden!

Beach Wardens turned up and liaised with a local boat owner to come and check the pair in the inflatable who seemed to be going round in circles and getting caught in the off shore wind.
However the pair finally made it ashore to be greeted by us......and thanked us for being so sharp in spotting them, they were struggling.

Please if you have an inflatable, observe the wind direction and don't go out to far.

Our Spike

The other day you may remember we were invited down to the pier for the naming of the new Divers Down boat "Spike".

The reason this was so important to was that it was named after one of our team who had served the Coastguard for 30 years. Mike "Spike" Williamson was a man of few words but huge actions, strong as an ox and an excellent plumber.

He was the assistant Pier Master until his untimely death in October 2004.

We would like to thank Pete and Pat and all the staff of Divers Down for a lovely evening and for this special tribute to a special man who served this town so well.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Great photo

Trev-Rich Photography took a great photo yesterday.

As it says

Getting ready for yesterdays Carnival yesterday.......

It was rather special to have our John take part in the procession.

Thanks to the St Albans team for coming down, although it caused some confusion from one holiday maker thinking they were from St Albans up country not Worth !