For many years HM Coastguard have been referred to as the 'Silent Service' as unless you are linked to the coast you wouldn't know what we did. Even when we do go out people are still confused of our role in the community and what we do and this is often because the press have mis-understood the difference between the Coastguard and the RNLI.
So in this weeks Advertiser my attention was drawn to an article by George Willey under the title " A sobering picture" with a picture of a lifeboat.....
"This year an information sheet has been issued by the Coastguard service....... " oh this is interesting what this all about....
It goes on "did you know the Peveril Point Lookout is manned 364 days a year " .....hang on this does not sound right......the Coastguard left Peveril Point in 2009 after 142 year and moved to North Beach Car Park.....we don't have a look out, that closed around 1991/2(ish) and Coastguard's are on call 365 days a year (readers will know we had an incident on Christmas day).
On it goes about binoculars and having radios.......Then at last it mentions Coastwatch....ah that's better.....oh no then it refers to the Coastguard again....this is getting confusing and I am a Coastguard.
What George's article is really about is the National Coastwatch Institution at Peveril Point, a group of volunteers who man the lookout and report to the Coastguard.
NCI along with the RNLI are referred to as "declared facilities" i.e. a group that meet a certain (high) standard and are recognised as an asset in the UK Maritime Search and Rescue network.
Sadly the article goes on to quote "Swanage Coastguard" initiated the response to 14 incidents and also helped other agencies in another 15 incidents....this has just added to the confusion of the article of who's who's.
This article is just one reason we have our own websites so we can promote the work we do and the work our partners like the RNLI and NCI do.
There is no doubt NCI Swanage do a excellent job and we fully support their work.
Thanks to Swanage Oscar who has kindly supplied a question and answer blog to clear the air.