Saturday, 30 June 2012

American D-Day Veteran Wes Mullen Visits Swanage

Photo Credit:Wes Mullen (Far right)

American D-Day Veteran Wes Mullen is returning to Swanage today for a dedication service. Wes was based here prior to the D-Day landings in Normandy and was one of the fortunate few from his platoon to return home to his family. He's arriving at Swanage Station to met by the townsfolk at 11.00.

If you're in town at 11.00 please pop over to the station to give Wes a well earned cheer before he has a tour of the town in a WWII Jeep Convoy.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Thorpe Park - Living life to the extreme.

In non-coastguard theme park related news......

Yesterday, as a treat, Station Officer Ian Brown's kids took him to Thorpe Park. Ian was really excited and wanted to go on all the big roller coaster rides.

Thorpe Park's Vomit-Extreme Ride

But sadly he was not tall enough to pass the height restriction test. :-(

No ride for Mr Brown.
..and had to settle for a more sedate ride.

At what point was it wise to send this photo to the team ?
- you know it's only going on the blog!

During the day he had 4 candy-flosses, 3 ice creams and 2 cans of fizzy drink, ......and so sadly, due to the extreme nature of the children's train ride, he felt very queasy and was nearly sick.

Living life to the extreme!

*usual caveat for Coastguard HQ - other theme parks, rides and fairground confectionary type products and services are available.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A special visitor

On Saturday 30th June a special visitor is arriving by train at Swanage Railway Station.

The last time he was here was 68 years ago and the World was very different, in fact it was at war. 

The visitor is an American GI Wes Mullen who in 1944 stayed in Swanage before heading off to Normandy.  Sadly many of those troops never returned so Wes is returning to Swanage to thank the town for its kindness.

Having arrived at the Station, the party will head up to the memorial by the bandstand for a short service.

So if you are free and wish to welcome Wes to Swanage, come down to the railway station at 11am on Saturday.

Topless for the Summer

The MRU looked a bit different this week - the boss had removed the SnugTop cover from the back (ie the big blue bit at the back marked 'HM Coastguard') and the truck had reverted to being a crew-cab pick up again.
The bit in the red circle came off but we didnt get any photos - use your imagination!!

Contrary to my suspicions, this wasn't the new summer look, but had to be done to gain access to replace the rear cab window which broke recently.  Its thought that constant on / off road driving and the associated body stresses and movement had finally taken its toll on the window which had cracked and dropped in and then shattered everywhere.
Once the new window was installed - a matter of seconds - the SnugTop was refitted and all our rescue kit replaced - a matter of hours.  Ian kindly checked off all the kit as he did it which means kit night tonight won't be quite so long, with half of the work having already been done - thanks Ian.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Second Aid

After our First Aid training the other week, we had some more tonight, presumably that makes it Second Aid.  The session was led by our very own Chris, himself is a student paramedic, and it concentrated on the sorts of scenarios we might come across as Coastguards.

In particular we looked at dealing with unresponsive casualties and administering CPR using a life sized dummy.
Look at what you missed, Brian!

What you won't always find in the manuals is the bit about making the casualty comfortable with coke and jaffa cakes, but here in Swanage we like to be hospitable to the people we rescue.

NB. Other fizzy drinks are available, although I'm not sure if there is any other orange centred confectionery available with a chocolate coating one side complemented with a tasty sponge the other. Have to check next time I'm in Budgens.

NB. Other supermarkets are available in Swanage selling a range of  fizzy drinks and lip-smackingly good confectionery

Press Release

The MCA issued a press release after last weeks incident in the bay. Always check the weather forecast before setting out.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Austen has an accident

Its not every day you walk round the station and find a body laying on the floor.  Yesterday morning Austen walked round the truck and had the fright of his life when he saw a pair of legs letting out a yelp and having trouble controlling himself.

It may be a clue to training on Monday ?

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Kimmeridge Ian makes it 4 in a row

This morning patrol saw the two Ian's (Station Officer Ian and Kimmeridge Ian) head out to see what was happening in the patch.  As the patrol arrived at the seafront there in the sea was a Land Rover Discovery .....yes in the sea.

The vehicle looked rather stuck and clearly surrounded by water it wasn't doing much for the anti corrosion warranty let alone the engine.

The kind chap at Ocean Bay had given some word of advice before the owner decided to reverse the jet ski and the vehicle into the sea.  He was also on hand to assist in towing the vehicle out having had some advice from us along with some crowd control in case the tow rope snapped.

We all waited to see if the vehicle would start.......the above photo shows the results as the engine tried to throw out all the water and contents of the engine onto the beach (which was then cleaned up by the nice chap at Ocean Bay !)

This was the fourth time Ian had been out on patrol and the fourth incident in a row.....

Friday, 22 June 2012

Fruit based frivolity

In more fruit based frivolity here’s Coastguard Nick on the beach – one evening earlier this week I’m told. Doesn't it look gorgeous - not him - the weather!

Nick joined 1st July 2010 and is one of the Coastguard Rescue Officers that provide day cover for Swanage.

Bananarama - 'Cruel Summer'. 

What this photo demonstrates is never to put compromising photos on your Facebook page.

Thursday, 21 June 2012


I was just down the Coop* doing some shopping when I saw Swanage Lifeboat Mechanic Dave Turnbull with his shopping trolly full of grapes - a half price offer and boy was he was stocking up. He must like grapes an awful lot I thought...or perhaps he has a garden shed full of Mexican fruit monkeys which he needs to feed. Either way it was a lot of grapes, at least four fruit bowls worth.

We had a quick chat about the weather; I turned around and suddenly he was gone.

Either the lifeboat crew have been paged and he's had to make a dash for it, or alternatively he's eaten too many grapes and had to make a dash for it.

Coop workers replenishing the grapes. 
*other supermarkets are available in Swanage, all offering a delicious selection of seasonal fruit. 

Fly Past

This chap came flying past my window last night.
He circled around for an hour or so, a bit like planes waiting to land at Heathrow, and then disappeared.  Looks like a nice way to spend an evening enjoying our coastline.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Tea and Biscuits?

Some familiar faces here at the grand opening of the new Beach Warden Hut.
The boss is eyeing up the tea and biscuits just to the right of the photographer.  Mmmmm, don't mind if I do!

Monday, 18 June 2012

First Aid

At training last week we had a visit from one of our colleagues from 'up North'.
Amanda Lee is a volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officer all the way from Gloucestershire and was on a first aid course at the CG training centre in Christchurch, so the boss brought her over to meet the team. Being a nurse in her day job, she was well qualified to give us an impromptu first aid refresher.

Here, Eric is learning how to deal with a pencil growing out of his arm (actually its a simulated broken bone piercing the skin - use your imagination. We weren't allowed to use real broken bones....)

And as for coastguards in Gloucestershire? We did enquire about that, but it seems the Sharpness team is right on the banks of the Severn Estuary which is very tidal and very muddy, so the team is predominantly a mud rescue team (unlike us whose competence is in cliff rescue and searches).

Thanks for popping down Amanda, good to see you.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Rhodesian Hatchback

The Patrol this afternoon was undertaken by Hudson and Kitching.

Oooh..... what a tall ship

After watching the training ship Lord Nelson navigate the entrance to Poole Harbour they set off to do battle with a lock.
Grrrrrrr Pesky Lock

Twenty minutes later they were on the beach.

The highlight of the afternoon was Eric declaring he had just seen a dog, a Rhodesian Hatchback to be precise. I assume it's like a Rhodesian Ridgeback but with a bigger rear door.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Swanage Coastguard on tour

The Station Officer had a couple of days away and headed to Brighton and Newhaven.  This morning the journey continued in the direction of Beachy Head, an area linked with many sad incidents.

1st stop was Birling Gap Coastguard.

Looking at the photos in the cafe opposite the station the effect of coastal erosion is huge with about 2/3 of the old Coastguard housing station gone into the sea.

Another view of the Birling Gap station - a little bit different to ours.
Back in the car and another 4 miles up the road, we found the Beachy Head Coastguard Station. I understand this is satellite station which houses extra equipment for the incidents on Beachy Head.  The premises also has a unique Chaplain Service which works with the Police and Coastguard to reduce the number of suicides at the location.  Whilst no Coastguard were at the station, the Chaplains were and we had a super chat about their valuable work.
An area very different to ours with some 200 incidents, many ending with tragic results.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Beach Wardens, Farmers and a Service.

Early start yesterday when Phil the Station Officer from Southbourne came over to do some work at Swanage.  As volunteers we all have our normal work to do and in the case of Phil he runs a garden machinery and engineering firm.  Whilst we hoped Phil was going to cut the grass he actually came to service the generator, the winch and repair our metal stakes.  As a fellow Station Officer we of course drank a couple cups of coffee and put the Coastguard world in order.

We then hosted the Beach Wardens at the station for their annual refresher training with an input from the Police and RNLI. 

Finally in the evening about 30 people arrived at the station for a talk on the Coastguard.  I wrongly reported this was a Young Farmers group, well the group were very pleased to be called young but in fact were a group of farmers from around the Purbecks. 

Farmers are very important to the Coastguard as we often have to cross their land so its good to keep good relations.  The most important point of the night was to raise the profile of the Coastguard as often people get us confused with the RNLI.  As the chairman said they were expecting a boat and wondered why we were based in a car park and not on the sea front. 
We really enjoy giving talks as its a way the community can see the work we do which often goes unreported.

Just a typical day for a Coastguard team

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Geocaching and The Girl Guides

Last night, the SO and DSO were invited by 4th Swanage Guide group to go Geo-caching.

Using the teams GPS devices the guides set off at quite a pace around King Georges field to find the treasure which included chocolate biscuits.  The field was quite water logged after the heavy rain, but this didn't stop those guides who soon had the positions worked out.

It wasn't long before Austen texted to say he had found the biscuits 1st and then got offered a 2nd when he finished as he looked pale after running around the field.

Austen and I look forward to be invited to pick up our "tracker" fire building next month?

Tonight its another talk to the young to follow.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Opening Gambit

Sometimes, writing this blog can be like a game of chess.

Coastguard Oscar has acquired a couple of photos of me this week and it'll only be a matter of time before they magically appear on these pages, no doubt with a witty and humourous caption.

Options are for me to wait patiently and have a ready made reply for when they appear, or to play a more attacking game and get in early with a photo of Oscar training the other day at Anvil Point.

Not sure what he's up to, but he seems pleased with himself.

Coastguard Strike Action

You may have read that Coastguards  around the country have been going on strike over the closure of Coastguard Rescue Centres.

The strike action by full time Coastguards has been going on for sometime and relates to the Operations Rooms not the Volunteer stations like ours here in Swanage.

Whilst many people think some of us are full time Coastguards almost everything we now do for the Service is voluntary.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Stay Clear in bad weather

Wave smashes against over a path in Clevedon, North Somerset
Photo - Gerry Fox - via BBC web site

When we get stormy weather in this country we have a fascination with it.  This often puts people and members of the emergency services at risk.

It is unusual for bad weather in June but watching the TV last night, they showed reporters and the public in situations which were dangerous with large waves crashing over sea defences and jetties.

During bad weather, please stay clear of any area which has water coming over the top of it, there is a risk you could be dragged into the sea. 

Remember if you see someone in trouble on the coast, cliffs or out to see, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Swanage Beach Wardens

The Swanage Beach Wardens Hut taking shape nicely - The new signs arrived this week.

The hut was a partnership deal between the Town Council and the Hospitality Association.

It might look like a shed, but it is a hut ;-)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

A Weather Warning - But its June?

South West England map

A weather warning has been issued by the Met Office for Thursday and Friday.

The advice is to take care if you are carrying out an activity outdoors.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Slightly late with apologies, this is Chris, one of newer members of the team who joined us in January.

Chris's full time occupation is a trainee Paramedic (skills that may come in handy??)  We have learnt that prior to joining the Coastguard, Chris liked to jump out of aeroplanes and hoping the pack on his back was his parachute not his old school bag.

Royal Visitors.

After the weekend of special events to mark the Queens Diamond Jubilee, have we ever had a Royal Visit to the station or a Royal connection?

To start with HRH The Prince of Wales is an honorary Commodore of HM Coastguard and was for a number of years a Coastguard himself.  Whilst he visits Dorset he hasn't visited the station yet.

The only connection we are aware of, is a visit by  HRH The Duke of Kent in his role as Patron of the RNLI, when he named the Swanage Lifeboat in 1975. 

 I am told that having named the J. Reginald-Corah he returned to his helicopter on the pad at Peveril Point and diverted to visit the Coastguard look out.  The Coastguard had formed a Guard of Honour and the Duke wanted to say thank you.  It rather caught the Coastguards out who were having a spot of tea using the best china.   With the Duke approaching, the shout went up and the decks cleared of cups and plates which ended up in the water tank attached to the lookout!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Swanage and The Queens Diamond Jubilee

Swanage did what its best at yesterday .....getting people together and having a party, and a very special one to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The morning started early for the organisers (7 am and earlier for some) and then the BBC turned up and broadcast from the town.

Then it was out again on patrol for the rest of the day just to ensure people were safe.

We only had one spot of trouble with a Police Officer who got so much into the party spirit that he was helping the public finish their jellies from their special lunches.

Thankfully we managed to grab him and a cup of tea brought him back to his senses.

Well done Swanage.....Same time next year??

Ballard Down Purbeck Beacon

A Coastguard Team set off to Peveril Point to provide safety cover at the lighting of the Swanage Beacon but on route was re-tasked to the much larger Beacon up on Ballard Down which was being overseen by the National Trust.

As we drove up Ulwell Road a large silhouette could be seen on the hill - 'Is that the fire, if so it is huge, they are not seriously going to light that!' was the comment.

A strange shape against the skyline.

On arrival it was clear this was a Beacon in every sense of the word; easily 25ft high of fast burning gorse.

'Oh, the Coastguard's here.... are you going to light it?'
'Rather not thanks, we'll just watch - from over there' 

Over there being 100ft away, up wind! Rather than opt for the scorched truck award, this was moved upwind also - we prefer having blue paint on our truck.

At 10:04 the Ballard Beacon was lit!

....and by 10:05, half of the residents of Studland had no eyebrows. (only kidding).

Just getting going

I'm melting, I'm melting ....anyone got any burgers?
A really good night out, so thanks to the National Trust and local farmers including 'Steve'.

Hope the Queen liked it.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Swanage Beacon - Peveril Point

The Swanage Coastguard Team will be out later providing support at the Diamond Jubilee Beacon Lighting at Peveril Point at around 22:00 this evening.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

60 years ago - Swanage Coastguard

We have checked the records  to see if the Coastguard were busy 60 years ago during the Queen's Coronation and it appears there were no incidents on the day.

We do not have the daily logs but we do have the station log called the CG12.  The Coastguards of the day would have carried out their daily duties but thankfully no incidents which hopefully allowed them time to celebrate.

Queen's Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant - Swanage

Swanage is providing both a gig rowing crew 

Swanage Sea Rowing Club (New Gig!)

...and the RNLI lifeboat cox for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant.

Rob Aggas - RNLI Swanage

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Line dancing - Swanage Coastguard way

Kit night this week saw Roger walk 500 metres - cleaning the ropes.  (we know its 500 metres as each rope is 250 metres long and there was two !)

Every couple of months the ropes have to be turned and cleaned to get the dust and grit out of them.  Gareth and Lee watch on as Roger  does the North Beach Car Park dance - it's lonely but it has to be done.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Bunting - we do our bit.

As many people in the town have gone to the trouble of putting up bunting and flags, we (well actually I) decided to do out bit.

Over the weekend we will be putting the flag up to join in the celebrations.

Minor incident

Yet again, Ian from Kimmeridge went on patrol and yet again he found a incident.  We popped down to Studland and found a fishing boat high and dry, whilst picking up his nets his anchor slipped and he ended up on the beach.

 This is the 2nd boat in a week that's ended up on the beach at Studland however this time this boat was safely on the beach waiting for the tide to come back in.

Having liaised with the skipper to ensure he had some fresh water and food we departed leaving him to wait about 5 hours for the tide to come back in.

Public Information Films

I read that the Central Office of Information COI was recently closed.  'Big deal!' I thought until I remembered all the great public information films they made.

.... including that ginger cat 'Charley' who was always banging on about telling mummy where you are going, blah blah blah... while doing handstands.... Charley says this, Charley says that...yeah whatever... jog on Charley.

Actually to be fair he was a very talented cat. OK so they are a bit dated, for instance I never had friends called Dave or Vera, but the films are classics!

Although sometimes Charley stuffed up.

...and the classic I have just found. "Charley says never play near teapots".... Now I'm an animal lover but Charley gets his just desserts for stealing sardines; and its hard not laugh a little.

The more modern films are equally entertaining.  Firstly some dancing prawns followed by a bloke saying in a semi-menacing tone "...your food will be seized and you will be prosecuted!". oooh scared.

I quite enjoyed them really.