Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Children rescued from Ballard Point

Coastguards and lifeboat crews were tasked this lunchtime to a report of 3 children stuck at the base of the cliff, close to Ballard Point.

The ILB crew were soon on scene and found  the youngsters in a difficult location and certainly in a dangerous one.  A crew member was put ashore and led them to a safer location to be loaded into the ILB.

The  Coastguard team arrived at Sheps Hollow and waited for the ILB to land the 3 young males (aged 10, 10 and 12) on the beach.  Their parents arrived and we then explained the dangers they had put themselves in.

The dangers included, being cut off by the tide,  falling into the water were strong currents could have swept them away, cliff falls to name a few.

Thankfully on this occasion they were spotted by a passing pleasure boat who realised they could be in danger and called the Coastguard.

Meanwhile a climber was rescued at Dancing Ledge by Rescue 106 and the St Albans team and they have been in action again tonight with a search for some kayakers.

Nick's breakfast

Sunday morning the the team met at a local cafe for a briefing, well actually it was more of a breakfast.

To the general public a multi agency breakfast briefing may have looked odd but it fact it's quite important. As we discovered carnival day can be long and it's important to have at least one good meal. It's also important to brief and have an idea where every one will be during the day.

Let us not forget most people were either volunteers or arrived before their duty started.

We were just surprised that Nick lined up the sandwiches one after the other this was his 2nd round.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Longest Day

Carnival day in Swanage turned out to be a very long day for the team, some doing 12 hours.

Starting at a local cafe for a team briefing/breakfast, it was back to the station to check the kit and prepare for the day. Various team members took up positions around the town along with their families so they could balance family life with Coastguard duties.

It wasn't long before a few minor incidents started, Gareth covering the north end of the beach stepped in to stop 3 small children being blown out to sea on an inflatable. Ian and Allan became aware via the Police that two small children were missing after the Red Arrows and were joined by others before the children were found by their parents.

The procession saw the St Albans team join us along with Allan the Sector Manager, half way round Coastguard 104 from Lee on Solent carried out a fabulously fly past along the sea front, bringing the procession to a halt whilst everyone waved.

This year we got to the library before being called to a drifting dinghy at Peveril. The lifeboat operations manager Neil Hardy had this one sorted as we arrived so we soon were back.

So with the crowds leaving it was back to the station to put the kit away but then suddenly an urgent call to attend a female with a serious head injury. We were joined by Kimmeridge Ian on this incident which was beneficial with his medical skills. Rescue 106 airlifted the female to Southampton hospital due to the injuries.

So thats Swanage, St Albans and Kimmeridge Coastguards, Sector Manager, Portland Coastguard Rescue Coordination Centre, Coastguard helicopters 104 and 106. Dorset Police, South Western Ambulance, Lifeboat Operations Manager just to mention a few.

Oh, and well done to the Carnival Committee and Swanage residents who all helped make the Swanage Carnival Day really special.

Location:Longest Day

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Serious Incident in Swanage Bay

Swanage Coastguard training with and One-Zero-Six
Just after 6pm Portland Coastguard requested the Swanage Initial Response Team attend Swanage Pier to meet a boat with a seriously injured female on board. It was unclear at the time how the injury occurred but the incident was supported by South Western Ambulance. On arrival at the pier it was discovered that the boat had in fact beached by the clock tower on Shore Road so the team relocated.

The team arrived and started to assist the Paramedic crew and a request was made for a helicopter evacuation. The full team was paged - 6 other volunteer Coastguards arriving on scene in under 3 minutes - to assist in clearing a large section of the beach.

Rescue 106 was tasked from Portland and was on scene in around 10 minutes, but due to the funfair on Sandpit field a beach landing was considered unsafe so an alternative secure landing site was sought, first on the Recreation ground and then finally in King George's field.

The female casualty was treated at the scene and transferred via ambulance to the waiting helicopter and flown directly to Southampton hospital - flight time 13 minutes - to be met by the Southampton Coastguard Team

It appears the female was on a small RIB when along with a male the pair hit a wave and both were thrown into the water. Thankfully the helmsman had a kill cord and this stopped the engine, however the female received a serious head injury in the process.

Thanks to the forgotten 'C' Watch at Portland MRCC Centre - Top co-ordination as ever from the ops room; nice to have you watching over us.

Hog Roast or Jacket Spud?

Looks like Coastguard Eric has been caught red handed at the carnival Hog Roast....so that's why he's a Swanage Carnival volunteer!

Eric: Deciding whether to have a jacket spud instead ...yeah right you are!

Eric - He's no stranger at the Hog Roast tent
In other hopefully unrelated news - Peppa Pig star of the Swanage Parish Fete hasn't been seen for a few days?

Saturday Incidents

Yesterday saw a number of incidents. Just after lunch Rescue Helicopter 106 was called to lift a diver who had got into difficulties on the wreck of the Aeolian Sky ; the Swanage team were tasked to Swanage Pier to liaise with the dive boat and other divers. Sadly the diver did not recover.

Early evening and the team ferried an injured person to Swanage Hospital followed by a search for a missing 8 year old girl. She was found safe and well with her parents, a communication error between parents and grandparents - easily done. Let's see what today brings.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Lucky Frank

Yesterday I was told of a story which could have turned out so differently.

Andy from the Lifeboat was having a paddle out in his Kayak off Peveril Point when he noticed a chap stood on the top of the cliff, he looked away but became aware that this chap had fallen over the edge and was rolling down the cliff.

By some miracle this chap missed every rock and tumbled down on mostly grass ending up with a grazed arm.

This could have ended so differently.....so "Frank" you are one lucky person.

Please stay away from the cliff edges

Thursday, 26 July 2012

New team member

New team member joins the team..........

Austen and Roger at the Parish Fete last week with Peppa Pig

Busy 7 Days

With the sun shining, the call outs for the team have started to come in.  In fact 10 incidents in 7 days is in fact a quarter of our incidents so far and that in a week!

Two of the incidents have been to search for lost children on Swanage Beach and talking to the National Trust this afternoon they have had 5 lost children but these were found before the need to contact the Coastguard.

Please keep an eye on the children.....

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Tragic Incident at Dorset Cliff Fall

Our thoughts are today with the family of a young lady who was killed yesterday when part of a cliff fell on her along the coast from us near Bridport.

The fall follows weeks of prolongued heavy rain and it is thought that this contributed to an estimated 400 tonnes of the 'Jurassic Coast' cliff falling away onto the walkers below.

The BBC website has further details and aerial footage of the collapse.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Fishy Tales

Just after 9 am this morning, the IRT were called out to attend Peveril Point as some fishing rods and kit were found. Portland MRCC were concerned that something had happened to the owner so asked for a search to commence.

After searching about nothing further was found and the NCI staff were asked to keep an eye on the equipment until the owner(s) returned.

We expect the owners had gone for some breakfast, however the informant to the Coastguard was quite right in calling in with concern. Please do not leave items unattended it quite often sparks searches unnecessarily.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Caution - Wet Paint

When I popped into the station yesterday there was this big notice on the whiteboard.

With a message like that, its almost an open invite to rummage through the bag to see what's what!

Just like when you get a Wet Paint sign, you have to touch it to check, you just have to.

Summer starts

The sun comes out and the schools break up and the incidents start rolling in. The Coastguard have issued a press release about staying safe at the beach.  Several incidents around the area have seen Coastguard teams busy. In Poole a fire on a motor cruiser, while in Swanage a dive incident yesterday afternoon and then a search for a missing 71 year old.

Have a good summer but stay safe.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Full Team Page

17:26:-  '**Full Team Page Swanage Rescue Team
- Missing Person 71 year old male, Old Harry Rocks....' 

The full Swanage Coastguard Team were paged at about 17:30 this evening for a missing 71 year old male last seen near Old Harry Rocks.

On arrival at the Coastguard Station team members were stood down as he had been found safe and well by Dorset Police. Top marks go to team member Chris Dragatis who ran halfway across Swanage only to be stood down.

Diving Incidents - Ear Barotrauma.

The Swanage Coastguard Team is often called down to the Pier to respond to a diver in distress. Although this year I don’t think we’ve had one.

People always think about 'The Bends' as a diving accident but a much more common problem is an acute ear barotrauma. …sounds a bit technical?, let me try and explain.

When scuba diving, or indeed snorkelling, you need to equalise the pressure in your ears as you descend. This is relatively easily done by squeezing your nose and blowing gently until you hear a gentle pop. You continue to do this as you descend otherwise you suffer pain in your ears due to pressure build up. You have probably experienced it at the bottom of a swimming pool.

On the way back up your ears normally equalise back on their own accord, but yawning or moving your jaw can aid this (and yes you can yawn underwater!)

If a diver is unable to clear his/her ears this can lead to a pressure imbalance in the ears. This is incredibly painful - trust me - it really is not good.

Conversely, sometimes the pressure imbalance causes you to become dizzy (or start to samba), nice feeling but you risk making bad decisions or unconsciousness - and enter the 'incident pit'. 

Best way to deal with it is to descend slightly and take your time coming up.

...... nitrogen narcosis or being 'narked'! More on that tomorrow.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Bubbles The Cat - missing

It's appears that one of the families who live near the Coastguard Station near north beach are missing their young cat 'Bubbles'. You may remember Bubbles, who went missing last September and was found a few days later much to the delight of the owners Harriet (age 12) and Alistair (age 9). Well sadly he's sneaked off again.

Alistair called by a moment ago with a flyer and I said we'd be more than happy to put something on the Coastguard Blog.

Bubbles trying to get into Coastguard Oscar's House last month

So if you live on DeMoulham Road, Seaward Road, Bonfields Avenue or Ulwell Road they would be very grateful if you might check your garage or shed just in case she is locked in.

If you do see this lovely little cat please give Harriet or Alistair a call on (Tel01929)-423060 or (Mob07931)-380920 or drop him back to 55 De Moulham Road. Thanks.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Olympic Sailing

The Olympic sailing event is due to start in Weymouth in 10 days time and its important that anyone thinking of attending via the sea knows that a Harbour revision order (HRO) is in place.
What does this mean?
Well put simply it's not just a case of turning up and dropping your anchor as the next thing you know, you will have someone official knocking on your cabin door asking you to move on if you don't have a pass or you are in the wrong place.
Should you choose to ignore that person you will probably then have a visit from the Police or military telling you to move!
So plan ahead and ensure you have done everything right before heading off to Weymouth.
The MCA gives this advice for people heading to both London and Weymouth.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Calf Rescued

The RSPCA have carried out a rescue of a calf down the cliff in Dorset.
Whilst the Coastguard will carry out dog rescues, we do not have the equipment for larger animals, although we will offer support to our partners in this type of incident.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

' Rescue TukTuk one-zero-eight. '

Tom and Austen found a new rescue truck for the afternoon.....we've named it 'Rescue Tuk Tuk one-zero-eight.'


I'm surprised they weren't pulling wheelies given the weight differential caused by Austen sitting in the back!

Yee-harr-grandma !
(that's what we used to say as kids when pulling a wheelie riding a bike...don't ask me why, I assume it was just a Cornish thing.)

Ask Eric

At training the other night we were discussing the amount of rain we'd had and how it could affect Sandpit Field and the various events that are held there through the summer.

'Its OK', reassured Eric, 'they're getting some webbing'

'Webbing?' asked Tom

'Yes, webbing' replied Eric, very much the man in the know.

'What sort of webbing?' continued Tom

'You know, normal webbing.  Just webbing'

'To go on the ground?  Will it help?'

'Yes, I expect so.  Its webbing' said Eric.

'Is it fabric?'

'I don't know, its webbing.  You know - webbing'

I'm not sure we did know, to be honest.  As a result, Eric kindly offered to go away and research the subject and has promised a full technical briefing next time.  In the meantime, if you see him around town and want to know about the webbing, Ask Eric.

Webbing Advice? - Ask Eric!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Flares Dumped at Swanage Coastguard Station

Imagine going to work to find a bag full of live hand grenades on your office doorstep; and what’s more they are damaged and someone’s half pulled the safety pins!  Frightening?

Well basically that’s what happened to the Swanage Coastguard Team last night.

Volunteer rescue officers turned up to training on Thursday night to find a plastic bag containing seven out of date, damaged flares had been left on the doorstep of the Coastguard Station.

After donning full protective equipment the flares were examined and found to be over 15 years out of date. Furthermore they had been stored close to a heat source and had partially melted making them very unstable. Officers moved the flares to a safe place and evacuated that part of the Coastguard building.

An ‘immediate’ call was made to the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Portland who requested photos.  The Sector Manager then deliberated whether to call the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team (Bomb Squad) to Swanage to deal with these in situ.

After examining the photographs a decision was made that these should be taken immediately to the RNLI Headquarters in Poole for safe disposal. The Rescue Truck was emptied of all equipment and the flares placed in the correct transportation box/cages and an explosive manifest completed. Three Coastguard Rescue Officers then carefully drove the pyrotechnics to RNLI Poole who accept such flares and charge nothing to so. The flares have now been destroyed.

The dumping of explosive devices in a public car park is appalling. Truly reprehensible.

Our doorstep happens to be within 2m of a notice board in a public car park. These pyrotechnic flares are safe when used correctly but MUST be disposed of correctly. They are immensely powerful devices for their size. A flare used incorrectly can kill; easily. 

A number of local children use the car park to skateboard and to learn to ride their pushbikes. It beggars belief that someone chose to dump the devices in full knowledge of the potential danger. An inquisitive child finding these could easily have set these off.


The person responsible is being actively sought and we will examine the CCTV and pass any evidence to Dorset Police. If you have any knowledge of the person(s) responsible please call the Portland Coastguard on 01305 760439 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.

Swanage Olympic Torch Photos

Well that was fun...

A grey day in Swanage brightened by the arrival of the Olympic Torch!
The Shore Road changeover - three Coastguard 'Meerkats' in the background....and is that Ms Brown in the front?

Swanage Olympic Torch

It's the big day........Friday 13th and the torch finally arrives in Swanage. Make sure you arrive to see it early as there is a sponsors' convoy at the head of the actual torch. The team are out and about supporting the fun so come on down and join in (the torch not the team!)

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Swanage Olympic Torch Time

Swanage's Version of the Olympic Torch 

Here are the times for the Olympic Torch in Swanage tomorrow (Friday- Lunchtime!)

  1.  High Street (A351)
  2.  Victoria Avenue (A351)
  3.  Shore Road (B351)
  4.  Station Road
  5.  Institute Road
  6.  High Street
  7.  High Street (A351)
  8.  Swanage Middle School

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Weather Warning

Sadly another weather warning has been issued for the South West of England.  Long periods of heavy rain are expected tomorrow morning and into the afternoon.  If you are taking part in an outside activity you should be prepared and be aware of localised flooding.

The estate

Not only do we have the station to look after, there is the remote aerial site and then there is Spike's bench on the pier.

Then there is the memorial plaque on the NCI lookout at Peveril Point.

Both have recently been cleaned and repainted by our Tom who has done an excellent job.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Slip watch

With all the rain, some small movement.  Down towards Lyme Regis there have been some large land slips and the advice to the public is keep clear.

Lost and Found

The IRT was tasked to Shep's Hollow area this afternoon to search for a missing person.  Fortunately the individual was soon located elsewhere in Swanage and the team returned to base.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The Olympic Torch is coming

The Torch is coming and will be in Swanage on Friday 13 at 12.24.

There will be some road closures, which include Institute Road, around to the High Street. 

As with the many events in the town Church Hill will be reversed to allow traffic to get to the south of the town.

Whilst you may expect delays - be part of the history and arrive in plenty of time.

Portland Coastguard kept busy

Portland Rescue Coordination Centre were kept busy yesterday with the flooding in parts of Dorset. 

Please take care and stay away from swollen rivers and flooded areas.

Saturday, 7 July 2012


With the weather conditions very poor the patrol headed out to check key areas and it wasn't long before we found some problems.

The Corfe river had burst its banks and was causing traffic problems. With the Police on the way we had to step in to control traffic before someone ended up in the stream.

With the arrival of Police a traffic plan was put in place with traffic diverted via the Studland road allowing traffic out of Swanage to flow with a bit more care.

Not really a Coastguard incident but this shows the close cooperation we have locally and to keep people safe.  Flood water is dangerous and the Environment Agency have flood warnings in place in Swanage and Corfe.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Severe Weather Warning Issued.

The Met Office have issued a Severe weather warning this evening.

Further heavy showers or longer periods of rain are expected during Saturday.

The "Red" warning advises the public to take action with disruption to travel and outdoor activities.

Partnership working at Studland

On Wednesday the Station Officer and Steve Lacey headed off to Studland to carry out some training with the National Trust and Dorset Police.  This was the 4th year we have all got together to discuss beach safety, in particular search management, helicopter operations and water rescue.

Most visitors to the beach probably don't realise the efforts that go into making their day a safe one.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Coastguard Oscar is being followed.....

Coastguard Oscar suddenly realised he was being tailed by the Swanage Mayor in a 1940s GI Jeep.
Here's a lovely report on the day from a visitor to Swanage...

Monday, 2 July 2012

Fish and Chips - Swanage Lima to the Rescue!

Saturday Evening saw the coastguard team and their families enjoy fish and chips on the beach....as arranged by Coastguard Lima aka Dee.

It was a very organised affair, we had ketchup, salt, pepper and even some posh tartar sauce. Oh and chairs and hot tea. Lovely evening; thanks Lima.

Wes Mullen and Swanage Coastguard

This weekend goes down as one of the most special events the Swanage Coastguard Team have been privileged to be involved in and shows its not all about search and rescue work.

Joining in with the Community is very special and we enjoyed the whole day which had been organised by many people, including the Hospitality Assocation, Mike Ford, Royal British Legion and the Town Council (plus many many more)

Wesley Mullen originally came to Swanage as part of the American 1st Infantry Division (known as the 'Big Red One') in October 1943. He was in the 26th Regiment 2nd Battalion, G Company 2nd Platoon - his role being a rifleman.

68 years later the 26th Regiment Association wished to thank the people of Swanage and with the excellent stone work of local mason Mark Blanchard had a beautiful plaque created.
For his work Mark was presents with an Honourary Membership of the Regiment nicknamed the "Blue Spades"

                Lt General John M Brown (Rtd)     Mark Blanchard         Wes Mullen

On Saturday morning Wes, his two grandsons, Lt. General Brown, and Matt Winter a serving member of the 26th Regiment were brought into Swanage by train just as Wes did 68 years ago.  I had the unique privilege of meeting Wes off the train and walking him down the platform meeting many people as we went.  The party was then met by the Mayor and a short speech was read out which was a copy of the one read out in 1943.  It was then into some jeeps and a couple of laps of the town

Having arrived at the War Memorial by the band stand, a short but moving service saw the plaque dedicated, before jumping back in the jeeps and off to show Wes where he stayed before (Beachways Hotel)
Wes in the actual room he slept in.

Then up to the Grand Hotel for the buffet (well if we could actually get Wes to sit down!) He might be 86 but he wore us out.

With the offically part over we then got asked to take Wes around Swanage and probably the most moving location for me ...the Globe at Durlston.
Wes and his grandsons Larry and Marc

Well done Swanage, yet again you put on a great show for a special visitor.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

American D Day Veteran Wes Mullen Visits Swanage - 68 years on

Specialist Matt Winter           Station Officer Ian Brown          Wes Mullen

Reliving a moment for Wes Mullen - 68 years on from the Original photo (this time the right side of the fence Wes !)