Thursday, 31 May 2012

Swanage Jubilee Celebrations

Swanage Jubilee Celebrations

A big party is planned in Swanage on Monday (Tickets for the tea party are believed to have sold out)

Click on the flag above to find out the events that are on. And the time the beacon will be lit.

Let's have a party in honour of Her Majesty.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Swanage Sloth and the Jubilee...

It's amazing what you can capture on camera. I was over near Harmans Cross this morning and captured a rare sight, a three toed sloth (Bradypus tridactylus)

A three toed sloth up a tree.

So, imagine my excitement this afternoon when I found an even more elusive beast. 

...A Swanage Sloth ! (Ericus Hudsondi)

In order not to scare him the photo was taken on a long lens. I approached the animal and asked how many windows he'd washed this afternoon - it appears from his sign language that it was two.

The Swanage Sloth up a ladder

Joking aside, Coastguard Eric is pretty nippy and was cleaning the windows ready for the Jubilee Weekend, he'll be back to put the bunting and flags up on Friday!

If you want to see some proper photos of animals in the Purbecks have a look at Purbeck Footprints...lots of deer  and birds...but no sloths.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012


Readers may recall a project we got involved in last Autumn to check a number of Grid References on signposts on the South West Coast Path.

Well, part 2 of the project involves nailing little plaques to the sign posts so that anyone who gets into difficulty anywhere along the path will be able to give Coastguards a reasonably accurate description of their location.

So, armed with a hammer, nails and an OS map, Brian and Nick set out on Sunday to fix the plaques in place. Once they managed to find Swanage on the map, all went reasonably well. Nick held the plaques in place whilst Brian did the heavy work of hammering the nails in. Oh, and Nick's thumb is nearly better now. Wrong nail, Brian!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Dont Jump into the unknown.

With the good weather set to continue for a bit, Coastguard's have again issued warnings about the dangers of the sea and inland waters.

Several incidents over the weekend have seen tragedy and injury, with Coastguard teams and emergency services responding to assist.

Make sure you swim in the correct areas, dont jump from piers, jetties or bridges and read the safety advice that is displayed at the beaches.

If you see someone in trouble at, sea or on the coast.....dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Serious Incidents off Studland

With the fine weather it was not going to be long before the pagers went off and just after 4pm a report came in off 3 Kayaks in trouble off Old Harry Rocks.  Swanage Lifeboats, ILB , Rescue 106 and the IRT proceeded as best speed.

Thankfully the 3 had been picked up by passing boats so the helicopter was stood down on arrrival at Swanage and the Lifeboat and ILB  after checking all was in order returned to station.

The IRT met the 3 on the beach to take their details and check their welfare.  Condtions off Old Harrry were rough and had been to much for them.  Thankfully they were well equiped with lifejackets but had forgotten their VHF radio - a mobile phone had been used to raise the alarm and they were lucky it worked in that location.

Having finished that incident, the IRT liaised with the National Trust and found they had been busy with two medical emergencies on the beach......we then got an immediate call from Portland coastguard asking us to proceed to North end of Studland Beach, a yacht was coming ashore in the surf.

We arrived to find a 33ft yacht aground in heavy surf and concern for the single male on board.  Both
Swanage Lifeboats were launched again with the ILB arriving 1st.

The ILB crew did an outstanding job and actually got the yacht off, unfortunatley the yachts engine was in gear and had a damaged rudder - this resulted in the yacht turning 180 degrees and grounding again but broadside.

The male on board had decided to get off at this stage and came ashore to the IRT on the beach.  The Swanage Lifeboat arrived and again with some excellent skill got the yacht off, towing it to deeper water to be checked.  Thankfully no damage other than the rudder so it was towed to Poole.

But the incident did not quite end there......the male on board then became unwell so had to require some medical treatment.  Having had that, he had a short trip to Shell Bay and a lift via Poole ILB back to his yacht.  Poole ILB then took over the tow from Swanage for the final stages of the incident.

Thankfully thanks to the skill of a few, today's incidents have all ended without serious injury.


Well I’m the only one on duty tonight as everyone else is ‘busy’.

I say busy, …the rest of the team will actually be sitting at home watching the Eurovision Song Contest.

Yes, as a roughty-toughty coastguard it pains me to admit on their behalf that they are all big fans.

Brian is especially keen and likes to get dressed up in an Abba costume; to keep it fresh he alternates between dressing as Anni-Frid and Agnetha each year. Fair play to him, not many men could pull that off.

One Coastguard says he’s gone on ‘holiday to Cyprus’ but his plane ticket said Azerbaijan – the host nation.

Eric says he’s playing golf. But secretly he’s at home rooting for Luxemburg.

Friday, 25 May 2012

5 Knots

Another off duty incident this afternoon whilst enjoying the sun on the beach.

Whilst enjoying the peace, quiet and view, two jet skiers were enjoying their sport but without respecting others around them.

On the 3rd speed trial off the beach, it was time for some education and one was caught coming ashore.  Explaining who I was and then the bylaws of the bay the gent apologised and peace was restored.

The 5 knots limit is there for the safety of all - Enjoy your sport but ensure you are complying with local bylaws.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Visit Swanage


Come on folks, the sun is out and looks like its going to be out a another week, so why not pack your bags for the weekend and head down to Swanage for a weekend?

Looking for somewhere to stay? Want to know whats on? Then click on the hospitality web site.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Double training

Last night the Swanage and St Albans team came together at Anvil Point for cliff training.

Anvil Point is a little challenging for the teams due to the location of the equipment and the fact the edge safety officers are out of sight of the operators.  Communications are vital to ensure the safe operation of the team using radios or whistles

Despite the challenges, both teams stepped up and all was completed safely.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Helicopters in Swanage

This picture of a  Royal Navy "Gazelle" at Peveril Point was provided by John Bentham whilst sorting some photo's out.

We think its dated around the early 1990's but the purpose of the visit is unknown at present.

Another one for the collection.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Another off duty incident




Kitching and Rockett reported digging Transit van out the sand at Ocean Bay.

Usually the story goes the keys are lost in the sand, however this time it appears the van is ??

Details will follow soon...

Molly the Terrier and Coastguard Rescue Twingo-133

Coastguard Oscar was driving home this evening across the Wareham Bypass in 'Rescue Twingo-133'. (He was sticking to the official speed limit, not what appears to be the arbitrary Wareham Bypass speed limit of foot to the floor)

Rescue Twingo-133

In front of him cars were swerving and beeping horns. It transpired that whilst out on a walk a little terrier had jumped its lead and run across a field into the oncoming traffic. Fair to say it was only a matter of time until this little doggy was going to get hurt. So rather than do what everyone else was doing (i.e. ignoring the situation, and swerving) he decided to stop the traffic in both directions and rescue the little dog who after some 'discussion' jumped aboard the rescue vehicle and sat down on the back seat.

Normally Coastguard Dog Rescues involve hanging over a cliff, in the dark, in a force 7.

Molly in Rescue Twingo-133.
(Like Rescue Helicopter-106 but smaller and without rotors.)

'Molly' seemed to enjoy her brief trip in 'Rescue Twingo-133' to Wareham Police station, where after lots of telephone calls to the new non-essential Police number (101) the owner was found and came to pick Molly up.

Reunited with owner

Lovely little dog. So cute.

Moral of the story... if you think you can make a difference, don't be afraid to step in and make that difference rather than waiting for someone else to do it.

Safety Messages

This year we are working hard in several key areas of sea safety.

1) Wearing lifejackets.

Lifejackets are a key safety item when using a boat.  Make sure you wear one and know how it works in an emergency.

2) Dangers of offshore winds and small inflatables.

When visiting a beach, ensure you know the direction of the wind and if you are using an inflatable ensure its close inshore.

3) Drinking alcohol when using the water.

Its a bit like drinking and driving a car, same rules can apply on the water - its a dangerous mix.

Please help us by spreading the word, we want your visit to the coast to be remembered for the right reasons.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Olympic Torch

We have added a new section to the site  - care of the BBC,  the location of the Olympic torch.

The torch is coming to Dorset on the 12th July and Swanage on the 13th so track its route around the Country until it arrives.

Abandoned Vessel?

A bit more about the washed up boat on Friday...

After a windy night, the upturned hull of a boat was discovered at South Beach Studland.  There didn't appear to be persons on board and none had been reported as missing, but we still requested Swanage ILB to assist.

The boat was actually sitting upside down on its superstructure and couldn't be moved so we requested the National Trust tractor to tow it onto the beach where it revealed itself to be the remains of a day boat, approx 25 feet in length.  On closer investigation, the engine had been removed, all instruments were missing from the console and the stainless steel deck fittings had been removed.  Most telling, the any trace of a name or other identification had been erased.

So, it appears that the boat had reached the end of its useful life, the owner had taken what he wanted and cast the boat out to sea hoping to never see it again.  And when it reappeared, two Coastguard rescue officers attended, three lifeboat crew, two NT personnel and of course the operation was being monitored by MRCC Portland who had a much larger search on the go at the same time.

But I don't suppose whoever cast the boat out to sea will be worried about that.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Sombre day.

Overcast with some sunny glimpses; sea calm. Training Patrols out this weekend.

Naturally our thoughts today are with the families of the fishermen from Weymouth.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Search Update

There are reports of a wreck being located in the Purbeck Isle search
Meanwhile, the IRT have been out this morning to deal with a capsized boat washed up in Studland.  More details tomorrow.

Search for Fishing Boat Purbeck Isle.

search is continuing this morning for a fishing boat with three crew. Its last known position was south west of Portland Bill. RNLI Lifeboats from Lyme Regis and Weymouth are in attendance along with Navy Warships and Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 104.

The search is being co-ordinated by MRCC Portland.

ShipFinder HD

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Austen reaches 40

Our very own DSO reached a special age yesterday and we forgot to mark it !


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The weeks so far.

A busy week for the team but not at the station.  Incidents still remain low and having attended the Sector meeting last night, the other teams (Poole and Southbourne) are also down on incidents.  Only St Albans remain around the previous levels of call outs.

Swanage Lifeboat had an incident yesterday just off Durlston Head, however the IRT was not requested.

This week we have provided some information to the National Trust to display in their observation hut at Middle Beach Studland. The hut was previously the old Coastguard lookout and they were keen to show the history of the hut.  Special thanks to John Bentham for looking through the records.

Tonight I have given Roger (Swanage Hotel) some radio training.  From the basic key words to how to receive a MayDay call if there was ever a need.

Last May we had 19 call out in the month......we have had 17 call outs all year. A very odd year

Sunday, 13 May 2012

HMS Bulwark, Dorset Police and a Coastguard Connection

Last week there was an Olympic test event in Weymouth involving many agencies like the Royal Navy, Dorset Police, UK Borders Agency and the MCA.

Dorset Police have released a short video

Check out the Merlin there's one to get at Peveril Point, if it would fit?

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Hey Look its Rid

Poole Coastguard (appear to have found a wolf)

There I was checking out the Poole Coastguard website and there is "our" Rid proudly holding his new radio. Nice to see you carry on the smart standards you were taught .


Following the incident at Studland

Maddy Davey, Portland Coastguard Watch Manager said,

We would like to express our deepest sympathy for the family and friends of the deceased at this difficult time. As summer approaches we want all boat users to keep safe when heading out on the water. Please wear your life jacket on deck and when you are on a tender because sadly, these tragic accidents do happen even on short trips.

At Swanage Coastguard and many Coastguard stations around the country, we ask all users of the water to ensure they wear life jackets.

Its not also wearing them that's important, but  knowing how to use them.  Know how to inflate them, ensure they inflate properly and they have a whistle and a light.

If you drive a car you automatically put on your seat belt.......get in the habit of putting your life jacket on when you go out on the water.

This week the MCA published the following report....

There were 95 maritime deaths in the last five years which might have been prevented if those involved had been wearing a life jacket or buoyancy aid. These figures were collated following the annual meeting of the Casualty Review Panel in March.

The panel looked at fatal maritime incidents for 2011 and, where there was sufficient information, assessed whether it was probable, possible or unlikely that the person involved could have been saved had they been wearing a life jacket or buoyancy aid.

In 2011, the panel judged that of the incidents that they considered, it would have been appropriate for 18 people to have worn some form of buoyancy. Of these, 13 would probably or could possibly have been saved had they been wearing a life jacket or buoyancy aid. Between 2007-11 the panel considered 120 fatalities and in 95 of these cases a life could probably or might possibly have been saved had the person involved been wearing a life jacket or buoyancy aid.

Commercial fishing and angling are the two riskiest activities where lives might be saved by buoyancy-wear, according to the figures collated by the panel over the last five years.

Transferring between your vessel and the shore is particularly hazardous. Twelve people died boarding or alighting during 2011 and the risk is increased further following alcohol consumption. Eight of these twelve had been drinking before they returned to their vessel. Transferring between a vessel and the shore is a situation where one would not normally be expected to wear a life jacket or buoyancy aid. Further research will be undertaken regarding this issue.

Please don't add to the figures.

Friday, 11 May 2012


In several media reports about yesterday's call out, it states the incident was in Swanage Bay and the skipper was from the Swanage area.

We would like to confirm the tragic events were off South Beach Studland  and the gentleman who sadly lost his life was from the East Dorset area not Swanage.

Dee - Day

Tomorrow is a very special day for one of our team and one that's crosses into new territory.

Our very own Dee is getting married tomorrow to Darren (from the lifeboat crew).  So a Lifeboat man marries a Coastguard and I think, subject to double checking the records that's a 1st for Swanage?

There is always a healthy rivalry between the Coastguard and Lifeboat and here in Swanage its one of great respect as we saw with yesterdays incident. 

So we will have a married couple in the mix .....I guess it will be like inviting the "in laws" round for dinner - slight tension during future operations??

From the team - Our very best wishes to Darren and Dee

Thursday, 10 May 2012

News Round up

Just a few articles on the sad incident at Studland yesterday.

And  we are'nt the only team that has been busy.

Incident at Studland

The Swanage IRT were tasked by Portland MRCC just before midnight to a report of a missing male in a yacht tender at South Beach Studland. 

Conditions at the time were poor with heavy rain and gusting winds and the IRT arrived at the same time as both Swanage Lifeboats.  The male was transporting a party from the shore to a yacht moored off the beach and failed to return for a second group waiting on the beach.

Having searched the immediate area, the full Swanage Coastguard team were paged to search the whole of Studland Beach and Rescue 104 was tasked from Lee on Solent to widen the search and assist the Lifeboats searching at sea.

Just after 2.15am Rescue 104 located an up turned tender and very quickly after a person was spotted in the water by the helicopter crew who guided the Lifeboat crews to the location.  Rescue 104 then airlifted the person from the lifeboat to Poole but sadly the person was pronounced deceased.

Dorset Police Officers also attended the scene to assist in the search.

Our thoughts are with the friends and family.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Nearly two incidents and finger problems

The IRT were tasked just after 5pm to assist South Western Ambulance at Corfe Castle.   Rescue 106 was also tasked but both the aircraft and IRT were stood down on route as the ambulance service had dealt with the incident.

Then the 1st Langton Cubs arrived on station at 7pm and asked all those difficult questions young children do......  We liked the question "How many MISSIONS do you get, we like this term and we think it should be used instead of the word "incident"

Having given them the safety brief, we then had a phone call from our Nick on the beach reporting someone had lost their dog on the beach.  Now normally dogs fall DOWN cliffs, however this one actually went up one!
Nick was concerned for the owners so called it in as the owners were going to follow the dog up the cliff.  Portland Coastguard assessed the situation and asked Nick to monitor the situation

So back to the cubs and their questions....."Whats that green thing on your belt" , that's a pager and oddly it went off !  Quickly grabbing the phone and watching the Cubs disappear out the station as they had been briefed, the Operations Room had a little apology that someone had pressed the wrong button.

Chased the Cubs back across the car park and back to those questions.  Thankfully I had a PACT meeting so left the group with Austen who was last seen tied up in the trailer whilst 20 Cubs got their ropes badge.

Monday, 7 May 2012

A quite weekend

The May Bank holiday is usually quite a busy one for the team, but not this year!  This year is certainly different to previous years and this may be down to the weather and economic situation.

Patrols have headed out all 3 days, Austen and Roger on Saturday to start with.  They came across a few walkers and checked the key locations of the patch. 
Lee and Ian headed out on Sunday and checked the various routes to Durlston and the western mile markers.  This patrol actually proved the value of patrols and the fact even after 22 years you can still learn things as Lee demonstrated a route to Durlston which was previously unknown!  Clearly many of the routes hadn't been used for sometime as the locks were stuck - or were until a spray of oil and a tap with a hammer!
Eric and Steve headed out today to check out Studland, however they were soon diverted to Old Harry after someone reported a small sailing boat in trouble.  Despite a good search, nothing further was seen and no further reports made.

The week ahead - a visit by the cubs , normally a lively night for us all.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Helicopters at Peveril

Taken by the Austen Rockett during the recent incident at Peveril Point.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Swanage Walking Festival

This weekend sees the last few days of the Swanage Walking Festival, a week long chance to get out and enjoy some of the history, heritage, flora and fauna around Swanage and the Isle of Purbeck.

There are a number of walks each day, each led by a volunteer guide and each with a different theme, distance and degree of exercise, and the good news is that over this closing weekend, there are still over 20 walks to choose from, including one on a boat!  I guess the idea is that you actually walk on and off the boat so it probably still counts.  Many routes include the chance to stop off at a tea shop on the way!

According to my sources the weather hasn't been the best this week, although I'm assured it's all been good and apparently in no way horrible.  Lets hope for some good weather for the last three days of the festival.

Remember if it is sunny pop on some suntan lotion, ...this lady didn't! ;-) ouchers.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Feeding time at the zoo

The team always needs feeding and this was the scene after last Saturdays incident in the boat park. This was Roger's third trip to the table, whilst Nick just kept going round the table moving from the sandwiches to the puddings.  Tom thought he was out of the shot but clearly got caught with a sandwich in his hand.

Still........Austen's "milk only diet" is going well despite his protest.