Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Kit Night

Kit night last night went smoother than normal due to the fact the Station Officer and Deputy both were not their to start with !

Craker, Kitching, Field, and Bowden had all the equipment out and checked by the time we arrived.

Just because its November does not mean there is nothing to do.

Answer....get someone with a tractor.

Early start yesterday morning, having spoken to the Council one of their contractors turned up with various machines and removed the huge amount of heavy rope.

With a 30 tonne winch on the back of a tractor the 2 tonne of rope was removed safely.

Thanks to Swanage Town Council and Mr Audley

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

What do you do with a load of rope

The IRT were tasked on Saturday to this rope.....not alot they could do, but thankfully having liaised with the Town Council, they know a man with the right bit of kit to recover this.

So why go to all this effort?

Imagine that getting caught around a ships propeller? or a swimmer getting caught up in it?
The Coastguard promote cleaner seas......we do our bit to make that happen.

Peveril is back in Swanage

Readers may remember the blog ...."Take a Letter" where the new sign posts at Peveril Point actually gave a position off Exmouth.

Well it appears the man from the Council did respond to my phone call.....

With a sharp chisel, wood glue and some off cuts....the "SY" has turned into the correct "SZ" !

Monday, 28 November 2011

Breaking News

My phone has suddenly jumped into life....have you heard the news?? What news??

The Portland helicopter is going......! What??

Read more......... care of the BBC. No official news from other sources yet but we will keep you posted on events.

Hills on fire

View of Ballard today.....controlled burning thankfully.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Saturday Night Search

The Swanage Coastguard Team were tasked early yesterday evening to search for a male, age 74 who had gone missing earlier in the day. Austen (DSO) took charge and devised a search plan taking account of the information provided.

Three search units deployed to the coastline.

Search Team 1 (The Coastguard MRU) were tasked to the Studland Chain Ferry and then proceeded south along the beach, and up onto Old Harry and Ballard.

Search Team 2 deployed from The Grand Hotel northwards along the beach, while Search Team 3 went south along the seafront, through town and onto Peveril Point.  The teams combined to search through The Downs; on completion we were given the stand-down, as the man had been found safe and well inland at Valley Road.

Depending on the tasking we either deploy quickly to make a ‘Hasty Search’ of key areas  (For instance when a despondent person may cause themselves self harm) , this is done almost running and covering as much ground as quickly and safely as possible. Or the case of a potentially vulnerable adult we undertake a ‘Meaningful Wander’ slightly less risk to ourselves and slower and more methodical.

It was also an opportunity to test out the new torches, which performed well.

Micepies ---ooops typo..... Mincepies

Blimey, later this week it will be December...already!

Christmas puds, mince pies and christmas cards with a Robin on.

I'll have to dust off some of the usual seasonal blog posts ;-) and probably reuse that one about Ferrero Rocketts - four years on the trot I've used that blog.

Kite Surfing

We had a bumper turnout for training last week. The reason: we were told that it was a kite surfing session. Only mild disappointment then that it was a presentation, rather than a chance to get wet.

To be fair, the presentation was very good, and I'm not just saying that because it was delivered by Tom, our colleague from the Ops Room (MRCC Portland). Tom's also a volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officer himself (ie. when he's not being a full time coastguard), and he's also pretty good at kite surfing, being a BKSA qualified instructor, which brings us back to the subject.

The talk discussed the kinds of difficulties kite surfers are likely to face and what we as Coastguard Rescue Officers should do if we are tasked to a kite surfing incident, particularly how to bring the kite under control and how to prevent it from taking off again unexpectedly ( knives involved!) Matt and Darren from the lifeboat crew came along as this knowledge is useful to the RNLI too.

Afterwards we went outside to practice stopping a runaway kite and turning it upside down and into the wind to prevent it from flying away again, and I can honestly say there are no photographs anywhere of the Station Officer wrestling the kite and the kite winning. No, seriously, there aren't. Are there?

By the way, that 10 square metre kite behind Tom in the photo is worth about £1000, and if you want to know whose hand is just creeping into the shot far right, look here. The hand is probably worth about £30.

Thanks to Tom, not only for a thoroughly useful and enjoyable evening, but also for writing us a manual to keep on station so we don't have to pretend to remember everything he said.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

New York Cheesecake.

The team was this evening tasked to Peveril Point to investigate an object that had washed up. The object turned out to be a berthing hawser from a large vessel. (A big rope- 5 inch diameter about 50m in length).  Given the spring tides it was likely that this might refloat and become a hazard to shipping. On this basis it was secured until morning when a better assessment can be undertaken.

A Slice of the Action.

On the way back to the station Brian said he was looking forward to his tea . Tonight Brian is having a curry, with naan and two side dishes – bombay potato and sag alloo. He had also 'rescued' a New York Cheesecake which was on special for his afters. He will then watch Strictly Come Dancing, but not X Factor.

..and A Slice of Cheesecake.
**18:34 - Looks like Brian's Tea is on hold as we have had a full team page to search for a missing person. 

Missing People

We get involved in searching for people in two main ways:

1) People overdue from walks or activities around our area.

2) Requests from the Police to assist in search for people.

With the second category people go missing for lots of reasons, its our role to assist where we can but the community play their part.

We have added a link (to the right) to the Dorset Police Website and the Missing Persons Page - there is also a link to a National Missing Persons site.

Take a few minutes to have a look, the news someone is safe is all the families want to hear especially in the run up to Christmas.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Lifeboat AGM

Last night Austen and I represented the Coastguard at the Swanage Lifeboat Supporters and Guild AGM at the Pines Hotel.

We heard about the fundraising efforts during the year, reports from the Operations Manager, Coxswain, Press Officer and an excellent talk about the new future boat which will be on station around 2015.

Good effort by a lot of people.....keep up the good work

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Hogwarts Training

We know things are changing in the Coastguard World, but Allan's approach to training now involves "How to fly on a broom stick" - I believe this comes under Miscellaneous duties on our competencies.

We think we are being entered into a Quidditch competition (see Harry Potter if you are unsure what this is) but 1st we have to learn to fly.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Rescue Helicopters

Rescue Helicopters

This is the story I read to my daughter tonight. She's not quite 3, but she already knows all about rescue helicopters!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Coastguard - The Future

The Coastguard has made this announcement today on the future of the Coastguard

"I am writing to let you know that following the independent review of the responses of the second period of consultation on our proposals to modernise Her Majesty's Coastguard the Secretary of State for Transport has today announced the Government's decision. This can be found at

This means that we have now begun the process of moving to a national networked Coastguard operation with a Maritime Operations Centre (MOC) at its heart. We're also able to announce today that the MOC will be located near Fareham in Hampshire at a purpose built emergency services control centre that was originally designated as a fire control centre.

In addition to this centre there will also be Coastguard centres. at Dover, Aberdeen, Shetland, Stornoway, Belfast, Holyhead, Milford Haven, Falmouth and Humber all operating 24/7. The London coordination centre will continue to be co-located with the Port of London Authority.

We are also improving the leadership of the volunteer Coastguard Rescue Service by strengthening the numbers of existing regular Coastguard officers based in these coastal communities and I'm also pleased to be able to announce that the Coastguard Rescue Service will be strengthened by an increase of 50% to the number of full time officers available to the volunteers for operational attendance, leadership and advice.

This will allow much more flexibility in the management and training of our volunteers and help to remove the current uneven distribution of Coastguard Rescue Teams between their management.
It will also give a greater presence of Coastguard officers in coastal communities and provide increased opportunity for interaction with other emergency services and coastal leisure and commercial bodies.

These officers will operate in teams with a focal point or operational hub. It is intended that these will be based in;

Existing Centres


Additional Centres

Moray Firth
Northeast England,
North Devon,
Cardigan Bay,
Oban/Fort William

I know that you like me will be acutely aware that whilst this announcement is the beginning of a new era for HM Coastguard it will a time of massive change for colleagues currently based in Yarmouth, Thames, Solent, Portland, Brixham, Swansea, Liverpool, Forth and Clyde whose stations will be closing before 31 March 2015.

This structural change is about the way the regular Coastguard service coordinates search and rescue operations. It is not about the UK's rescue capability. Although we are reducing staff numbers, our new structure will give the UK a nationally networked Coastguard service that is resilient, effective and efficient. We will continue to provide a quality safety service to the mariner and coastal user and I'd like to thank you for your continued support as we move forward."

Full details on the MCA website

Lost Kit.......tell someone

On Friday a massive search of Poole Harbour was started when a full set of kite surfing equipment was found minus its owner.

This equipment was not cheap so to find it floating about, saw Coastguards, Police, Coastguard helicopter and Lifeboats search for several hours fearing the worse.

So on Saturday morning with the search scaled back, the owner spots a report on facebook and comes forward to claim his stuff back.

As we have asked before.....if you lose anything maritime related - please contact the Coastguard, it saves so much time and cost. We have over the years been successful in returning lost equipment to their owners - we have also been on several searches where lost equipment has been found and not reported.

Do your bit......tell the Coastguard.

Swanage Coastguard Blog - Welcome

We would like to welcome our new readers that have suddenly found our site.

From time to time we have to remind readers that this is not an official site of HM Coastguard or the Maritime & Coastguard Agency but maintained by the Swanage Coastguard team.
The site has a strict code of conduct but basically we keep it going to:

1) Promote the work of the team,

2)Promote work of HM Coastguard,

3) Promote key safety information and details of incidents to try an prevent them happening again.

4) Promote Swanage as its a wonderful place to live, work or visit

5) Promote the work of our partners.

6) Not forgetting to have some fun along the way.

So stay in touch and learn a bit about what the Coastguard does locally and nationally.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Search Torches - An unscientific review.

It’s late November and it’s getting dark a bit early now, but only another month and the nights will be drawing out ready for summer. A mega busy summer hopefully for Swanage, what with the Olympics just down the road in Weymouth.

Anyway at this time of the year all rescue officers always carry a torch, you can be on a job at 14:00 and before long it’s dark, so always best to have one just in case.

We use a range of torches, so I thought i'd do a bit of a review. The line up……..Nite Tracker, Light Hawk, Maglite, Lenser P7, Lenser P14.

Does Size Matter?
Their power is measured in candlepower or lumens ..“Lumens are brightness, candlepower is beam shape.” Or something like that...I just call it 'shineability'

Here’s the standard issue ‘Search Lantern- Nite Tracker’, big and orange and always on a trickle charge, lasts ages but is rather heavy when you’re walking miles across the cliffs in the dark. A filament bulb knocking out 150,00 candle power. Yours for £118, we have 8; not particularly bright.

Nite Tracker Search Lantern

The new standard issue is a Bright Star ‘Light Hawk LED’ – this baby is small and yellow – I’m good at these reviews J - Again this stays on trickle charge. The beauty of this is it uses a LED chip which produces 120,00 candle power in a smaller, lighter torch. Cost about £280.00… yup £280.00 hence we have one for a 12 man team. Oh, it does a flashing strobe if you really want to wind the helicopter pilots up. We have this attached to a wall, securely, very securely  as Brian found out.

Light Hawk LED

The ubiquitous– ‘Maglite’ – an old search favourite with one issued to each member of the team. Relatively heavy but you could use it as a truncheon if attacked by wolves, which is unlikely at Durlston. These use a filament bulb and used to be considered pretty bright. 13,500 candle power on the C-Cell Battery version. About £25 ish. It pains me to say it, but they may have had their day.

Maglite C Cell

And now the new boys. Yes those pesky clever Germans have made an uber-torch. The first one is a Lenser LED P7 – This one is about the size of a Mars Bar (The ones we had as kids not today’s fun size Mars Bars! - Don't get me started on that) The torches are aluminum with a ‘Cree’ LED chip – these knock out 200 Lumens (I don’t know what that is in candlepower). They come with batteries, lanyard, carabineer and pouch for around £32.00 from that online book store starting with an ‘A’ and ending in 'mazon'

Lenser LED PF with Wand

And it’s bigger brother the Lenser LED P14 this one is 210 Lumens and provides a longer life. About £40.00.
Lenser LED P14

Interchangeable coloured lenses, or an orange wand come as £5 extras. Great if you want to direct planes or traffic or generally dance around like Luke Skywalker.

Sadly these two torches are not standard issue. A couple of us have bought them ourselves as personal kit to supplement the standard kit.

Unbelievably bright! No, really they are stupidly bright. It says don't look into the beam which as far as i'm concerned is an invitation. To be fair i shouldn't have looked into the beam, they were right!

It’s a white natural day light and the quick focus system allows you to go from a spot to a flood beam immediately. Easy to carry and ideal for searches. I know a lot of the Mountain Rescue teams use the P14 as the main search torch with a backup P7 in their pockets. They knock spots off the other torches. 

The three LED torches provide an intense white light for search.

So does size matter? ...well in this case the small hand held Lensers win!

Well it's not very scientific, but its pretty evident which torches are the brightest! 

Other torches are available....

Lenser also do an X21 – with seven cree chips !!! and 1020 lumens. £220 and brighter than the sun; it would stun a squirrel out of a tree at 400 paces. Not that we shine torches at squirrels.

Ballard.....whats that coming over the hill?

Sunday lunch time - a group of eight para gliders enjoying their sport off Ballard.

This sort of ties in with our training this week on Wednesday when we have a guest speaker on Kite surfing. After events in Poole Harbour on Friday evening, it could be an interesting talk !

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Slipwatch ......its back

Its back for the winter, another watch of what happens to the cliff up towards the Pines Hotel. This had been dug out so as the weather changes, wet, or cold we will see what happens.

Feel free to browse Ian's previous Slipwatch posts, or alternatively watch some paint dry.

Facebook - 100 Hits Coastguard Oscar pulled it off - however with the help of some dodgy signing up of people!

So what do I get when I texted him with a congratulation.....'I will double it by Christmas'

So that's double or quits then?

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Looking Back

The answer you were all waiting for: SZ 028 769, just west of the lighthouse. Using an 8-figure reference SZ 0275 7688 would be more accurate but for the purposes of finding incidents to within 100m accuracy, the 6-figure reference will be perfectly adequate.

This is what it looks like looking back the other way:

Friday, 18 November 2011

Durlston - The Views

The really special reason why Durlston Castle is so special and why the project was so important.

Durlston Castle - the truth

There was reference to me and biscuits yesterday........totally untrue. BUT THE CAKE WAS GREAT !

We Need Your Help

We need your help .......!

Are you or do you know "KENYON RUSSELL"?

We believe Kenyon is a Coastguard somewhere in the country and we need to speak to him.

So if you are KENYON or know where we can find him, please can you you either email us at -

or leave your details with our Operations Room (Portland Coastguard) 01305 760439, and we will give you a call back.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Durlston Castle

Yes, Coastguard Oscar was right I was at Durlston Castle today to see the opening of Durlston Castle after a massive project to repair it.

It does'nt really matter what hat I wear.....everyone thinks Im there as a Coastguard !

The final touches were being made but it should be open to the public over the weekend and I do recommend a visit to see what has been done and the views from the observation decks.

Well done to everyone involved in the project.

Ian's on a Jolly - Durlston Castle Opens.

Ian is up at the VIP opening of Durlston Castle. Not sure if he is there in his capacity as a Coastguard or Councillor.

Either way there is no doubt he'll be putting the chocolate Hob Nobs away at an alarming rate. At a push he can eat his own weight in biscuits in one hour. (Note to Security: Check his pockets for biscuits before he leaves)

Anyway with the project complete it opens to everyone at 10:00am tomorrow . Sadly there will be no VIP biscuits.

Grid Reference Location Competition

Last week I put a Coast Path photo up, asked if anyone could identify it where it was, and then I promptly forgot all about it. Our postbag was bulging with a reply from a Mrs Trellis from North Wales.

Thanks to Barry from Essex who correctly identified it as Swanage - good work Barry! - and well done to our anonymous responder who got the grid ref pretty well spot on. The one we'll be using is SZ 033 077 - Its on 'Isle of Wight Road' - the path up to Durlston Country Park which should soon be once again fully open, having been partially closed during renovation works at the Castle.

Here's another easy one to have a go at...
Answer will follow in a couple of days....if I remember

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

When Coastguards had big choppers

Another photo from the past, this time a school talk at Sandford Middle School in March 2006. In these days the whole team use to get on board and have a flight.

The Coastguard still do have big helicopters in Scotland, its just in the South we have little ones!

Terry - A personal tribute

Sharp eyed readers will have noticed that Terry has not been mentioned for a while on the website or the blog.
Well the sad news is that Terry has left the team after 12 years of service to the Coastguard in Swanage and a previous stint in the Kimmeridge team.

I would like to personally thank Terry for his valuable service to the team especially around the medical side of training and during incidents. For me Terry was very supportive when Spike passed away and a great mentor in many other ways, our very best wishes you will be missed - Ian

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Once a Coastguard - always a Coastguard

Its often said, once you have served in the Coastguard you have become a member of a large family and an eye is kept on you from then on.

Well we are sorry to hear that Dave Ogden isn't well at the moment so from all the team - we send our best wishes. Dave retired some years ago from his position of DSO and many young people will know him as the site manager from the middle school.

Pictured above in 2005 at Peveril Point, Dave was displaying the equipment for a poster for the Police. Only being 6 years ago its quite amazing the changes in the kit (Not Dave!).

Check out the winch - or in those days the chain saw (I think we broke a good 6 of those!)

Monday, 14 November 2011

Facebook - Don't hit the 100

Readers may remember a challenge to Deputy Blog or Oscar (whatever he calls himself these days) saying hit 100 facebook followers....

I have just discovered my neighbour has signed up.....what ? Clearly not happy just to ask over the fence anymore ??

Well that's it...NO MORE OK.....this could seriously cost me if he hits the target!

**Addendum by Coastguard Oscar. Yeah whatever you do...don't click below. Cue: 'Evil laugh' on my behalf...


Nearly forgot; sorry!'s the link to the RAF/ Mountain Rescue publication on working with helicopters that I promised.

RAF SAR and Mountain Rescue, North Face Tryfan, Snowdonia.
(It was SO close to the rock face!)


On my holidays a few weeks ago i saw one of these.... it looks very familiar!

Gwbert (Cardigan- Wales) Coastguard Rescue Station
(Photo My Missus)

Swanage Coastguard Rescue Station Circa 1981
(Photo Dave Gough (Ex Station Officer))

Ours was nicer, it had a chimney.

All washed up

The plan for Sunday morning was to get up to the station to do some jobs, however two passing friends noticed something floating out to sea just off the Tourist Information Centre and that was the start of a recovery.

This item was a pontoon and if left could have caused a few problems so we basically self tasked to ensure it was brought ashore. On arrival it was almost ashore and kitted up with full PPE, we dragged it up the beach to ensure the tide was not going to take it back out.

Oddly Pete from Divers Down arrived with a big smile and thanked us for our efforts, a knife and spanner later the pontoon was broken up and loaded onto Pete's trailer and within 30 minutes there was no trace of anything left on our beach!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Rememberance Sunday

This afternoon the Town came together at 2.30pm to remember those lost in Wars around the World.

The parade headed off from the seafront, headed by the Ringwood Pipe Band, Veterans, Councillors, Fire, Coastguard, Ambulance, British Red Cross, St John Ambulance, Air Cadets to name a few...oh and not forgetting 150 soldiers from Blandford!

Around to St Marys for a church service and then up to War Memorial to lay the wreaths.

Finally tea and buns up at the British Legion. Today we were joined John Bentham in the church and the Legion - John is still on the mend slowly but it was super to have him there in uniform and a great boost for him.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Flares - Get rid of them properly

Having missed Strictly Come Dancing and X Factor (other programmes were available) chasing reports of red flares we again appeal to the public not to fire flares to get rid of them and use one of the official disposal sites.

Flares are not fireworks......flares are for an important reason and their continued miss use is going to either put people off reporting them (when there is a genuine incident) or again waste the time of vital resources searching for these reports.

Tonight we know it was two red flares, they were sighted by an off duty Coastguard in the Corfe area. Nearly two hours were "wasted??" in checking the area between Swanage and Corfe to ensure someone was not in trouble. It was quickly established the flares were on land, however it could be lost walkers so it still required a detailed search to check.

So please think of others, dispose of your flares properly.

Working with Helicopters

Over on Facebook is a link to an RAF publication 'Working with Search and Rescue Helicopters'. It's a really good read, very informative.

I'll post a blog about it here tomorrow evening.

Early Christmas

Doesn't Christmas start early? I've already seen a lorry load of Christmas trees being shipped to a garden centre. Buy one now if you want to be hoovering up pine needles before December.

On Thursday our Sector Manager arrived at training at 20:00 with a big box. Fair play as Allan had been on a course all day in Southampton, so a long day for him. Still he said we'd all been good boys this year and that he had early Christmas presents.

Our new kit. Wooo Hooo!

Regular readers will know about the yearly bunfight when we choose kit. Basically we get 50 points to spend and we all argue over who's getting what. Some items like a jacket cost 75 points. Last year we chipped in and got Brian a jacket; and we've been banging on about it ever since...we're not bitter....he's got a jacket so he's his new jacket that we bought him...with our points. We order in August and sometimes it arrives later the same year.

Shirts and Socks...Big Toes are extra.

So the box was opened and there was a scramble; I say scramble, more an organised fight. Everyone got something. Allan suddenly brought out the new protective eyewear for Nick, some Bolle safety sunglasses. Nice! Austen nearly burst into tears so Allan gave him a pair also. Suddenly all the team were claiming that their safety glasses had gone missing. Allan may be a new sector manager but he's not daft and saw right through that one!

He then brought out a new cliff helmet. Mmmm they may be safety wear but compared to the current ones you look like a plonker in them. Suddenly everyone was saying that their current safety helmet wasn't missing. To be fair they are good helmets.

Father Christmas tries on his Helmet.

So we tried on the kit to make sure it fitted and ate all the best biscuits including a handful of Cadbury Chocolate fingers each (Well Brian, Rid and Gareth did - when quizzed we told the rest of the team that they had already been eaten, which technically was true - we had just eaten them).

The happy shopper digestives were left for Ian's return from Central Park.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Mystery Sign

This is one of the locations where we'll be attaching an aluminium SWCP sign, and its also the picture that didn't load properly yesterday.

But can you work out where it is? Better still, what's the grid reference?

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Sign of the Times

As we mentioned last week, we've been involved in a project that will see 2500 aluminium signs, each giving a location and OS grid ref, installed along the 630-mile long South West Coast Path.

Mick Cooke of Brixham Coastguard, who came up with the idea, said: “The sooner the Coastguard arrive at the scene of an accident, the better the likely outcome for the casualty, so these little signs could help save a life.” The SWCP website recently ran a feature to mark the 500th sign.

There will be about a dozen signs in the Swanage area and so far we have visited each location to check the grid reference is correct and also to check there's something physically there to nail them on to. The signs are currently being manufactured and we'll soon be installing them.

I've tried to put some pictures up of some of our locations, but blogger doesnt want to play today. Maybe next week. In fact, I'll put a few up - see if you know where they are.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Chicago -all that jazz.

Austen said he might not be at Training on Thursday as he might be in Chicago.

In Chicago, mmmmmm.

I thought that casting Austen as lead in the West End musical and having him dance around the stage in a tight dress and wig singing 'all that jazz' was plain madness. I mean putting Austen up there doing 'jazz hands' is not a good mental image. I'm pulling faces just writing this.

"No Chicago the city!"he said.

"Oh the Windy'll be right at home there!" Said I, making reference to his smelly tummy squeakers he lets off at the Station.

Sadly he's not going now, which means that the night of care and maintenance (i.e. taking care of a few packets of biscuits and maintaining our body mass index) is off. Instead we will probably be out in the dark and cold + rain no doubt freezing our bits off. I love this volunteering lark.

Meanwhile Ian will no doubt be luxuriating by having a hot stones massage and spa evening with a hot chocolate and marshmallows in the warm at his holiday retreat.

Central Park.

I’m told that Austen is in charge this week as Ian has gone to Central Park for a holiday. I think that is in Lower Manhatten, New York although I didn’t know they had log cabins and a big swimming pool with wave machines and water slides. I always thought Central Park had trees and a lake.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Suits you Sir

Kit night gives us an opportunity to check through some equipment we don't use very often, and in Deputy Blog's case (why doesn't he use that name any more?) the chance to dress up in this lovely day-glo waistcoat. Fortunately the DSO was on hand to assist and turn the waistcoat the right way round; back to front didn't really work.
The finished article - lovely. Amazing what can be achieved with a bit of concentration and a metal stake.

** I rebranded myself as Coastguard Oscar so I didn't get mixed up with Deputy Station Officer - Austen.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Olympic Torch Swanage

Looks like we will be getting to see the Olympic Torch in Swanage next year! We could do with it this morning..... it's a bit dark!

Swanage's Version of the Olympic Torch
The BBC have got a great interactive map showing the Route from Portland Bill to Bournemouth  on Friday 13th July 2012.

More about how HM Coastguard will be assiting with the Olympics later this week.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Firework Patrol

Last night we headed out up to the view point overlooking the golf club to help spot any red flares in the Poole direction

A few minutes later we were called to King Georges field to assist Police after 4 red flares were sighted in the park area.

On arrival the police were talking to a group but confirmed they weren't anything to do with the flares which seemed to come from the prospect crescent area. A little drive around and sadly nothing was found.

We continued the patrol and liaised with the Police throughout the evening who were building up quite a supply of fireworks taken from youngsters.
One group we found were in the country park about to set quite a few off. Was this unfair? - Well the country park is protected, fireworks close to the cliffs can be mistaken for flares and should young people with drink be walking about near to the cliff edge at 11pm? - we have had to deal with incidents like this before so prevention is better than the cure?

As we returned to the station at 11.30pm - Southbourne and Lymington had just been called out for reports of flares, so perhaps our efforts were worth it?

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Swimming in the sea, ....what?... in November?

The IRT were called out to a report from a member of the public that a group of teenagers were swimming off the slipway at the Mowlem. This would not normally a problem but its November, and it was 20:15 so cold and dark.

One accidental slip and quick bop on the head and it’s a drowning.

The Ops Room at Portland,  who have great local knowledge, knew exactly where to task us and explained it was a precaution rather than ‘an immediate’.

So we deployed and kept in contact with the Ops Room on Channel 00 (The Coastguard VHF Channel)

The five girls were all fine and were basically just messing round (and no they weren’t drunk). We explained that it had taken 7 minutes from the call to get to them and that if one was drowning that 7 minutes would probably cost a life. They were local and very polite and after a 5 minute chat understood the risks and apologized for any trouble. No trouble really, we just want people to be safe.

Given they were young adults the team took the view there was no need to take details and contact parents. The girls went off to enjoy the rest of their Friday night safely, while Brian and Gareth went back to station.

Friday, 4 November 2011


We are always keen to promote local groups and today we are please to bring you a new link to a group based in Kimmeridge.

The Kimmeridge Emergency Response Volunteers are run by the Welsh brothers who both live in the village. One of them is of course well known to us at Swanage......Ian Welsh or Ian with the moustache who helps us out from time to time with 1st aid and driver training to name a few things.

So log on and have a look what they get up to down there.

Thursday, 3 November 2011


I spy with my little eye… a white fluffy thing at the base of the cliff

Oh it’s only a seal pup!


We’re coming to the end of the seal pupping season in this area (it's later up north). If you are lucky enough to see one please try and resist the temptation to get too close as mummy seal won’t be far away. (These shots were taken on a 300mm lens).

It is about five years since we have been called to a seal pup that apparently had been abandoned. Perhaps more likely was that the mother was scared off by all the attention people were giving it on the beach under The Grand Hotel.

On this occasion the Seal Sanctuary stepped in to assist; they named her Narla. 

Facebook Places

We are now on Facebook Places!

(note the judicious/ crafty use of the above link...if I get 100 likers on Facebook I get a prize!)

I think it allows people to say 'I'm at the Swanage Coastguard Rescue Station'.

But is that really that useful?

So if you are at the Swanage Coastguard Rescue Station you can click your Facebook location and tell us that fact....but then we would be there also and could see you wouldn't need to tell us.

Unless we click on it and say we are at the Station, when we are actually over at the pub. mmmm The missus might fall for that.

You can also add what you were doing.
(i.e. Ian - eating biscuits, Austen - GBA (general bugging around)).

So this afternoon Eric could have clicked on his smartphone and said he was at the Swanage Coastguard Rescue Station cleaning the windows in the rain, which he was.  The only problem with this is Eric doesn't have a smart phone as he doesn't do techno stuff. He probably still thinks the microwave is a cupboard with a light and clock. (only kidding Eric).

True or False:- In the Welsh Language 'Microwave' translates to 'popty ping'!

Weather Warning

The Met Office have issued a yellow warning for Thursday (3rd).

We recommend readers check the forecast and "be aware" as heavy rain and strong winds are predicted.

If your activity is close to the beach or along harbour walls, quays, jetties and piers be aware of large waves and conditions which will put you at risk. Ensure you have the correct safety equipment and contact your local Operations Room for advice should you need to take to the water.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Take a Letter...

We've been busy this week checking out some grid references for a SW Coast Path project we've been involved in, but more of that another time.

When we went to check the grid ref at Peveril Point we noticed somebody had kindly put up some new signposts, complete with grid refs for easy identification. Nice idea, but the trouble is whilst the numbers engraved on the posts are right, the two grid letters (before the numbers) are wrong, and actually indicate a position in the sea somewhere off Exmouth; SY 040 785 is in the centre of the map above whilst SZ 040 785 is in the centre of the map below - Peveril Point. Both maps courtesy of the Ordnance Survey WebsiteBeing the kind people we are we rang a man at the council to tell him, although we were unable to suggest how he could change the Y sufficiently to make it look like a Z. Nope, I think he has a tough job there. The British Grid is broken down into large 500km x 500km squares bordered on this map by the black lines. These determine the initial letter of a grid reference. The light grey lines indicate 100km x 100km squares which determine the second letter of the grid reference.

One good point in all of this is that if you're ever asked where you'd be if you were exactly 100km west of Peveril Point, you can now say with some confidence that you'd be in the sea just off Exmouth.

Yacht 'Nicola' - UPDATED

A slightly disturbing story. Raises a number of questions?

The owners have been located Tenerife

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Autumn Clean

Today saw the start of a deep clean of the station.....a month long project to remove the contents of the summer's dust and dirt from the garage.

The on going repairs on the racking in the truck continue along with plans to improve carrying equipment in the trailer.

One task the team will have to do themselves is to empty their kit boxes out and remove unwanted do some team members have so many socks in their boxes?