Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year Honour

A Dorset Coastguard has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours

Malcolm Wright, previously the Station Officer of the Wyke Team (Weymouth) and now a Watch Officer at Portland Coastguard has served for 40 years.

Before joining Portland Coastguard Malcolm was a teacher at a local school.

Here's Malcolm pointing at something - not sure what, but it's damn good pointing.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Team called to Shell Bay

The initial response team were tasked this afternoon to assist the Ambulance with a casualty on the beach at Studland.

On arrival at Shell Bay the team transported the Paramedic in the vehicle to the casualty and having been treated carried them both back to the waiting ambulance.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Boxing Day Quiz

In our festival quiz fortnight, what is the meaning of this sign?

Is it

A) Oh look someone has blocked our route home, lets drive round it and hope that tree is not really blocking the road.

B) I travel this route every day, nothing is going to stop me , not even 2ft of flood water.

C) Lets pretend we didn't see the road closure sign and if it all goes wrong dial 999 and get the emergency services out to rescue us.

D) I think we better use that map granny gave us for Christmas and find another route home.

Several people in Dorset have had to be rescued from flood water in the last few days and with heavy rain tonight please don't ignore the signs or take chances in flood water.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Ferrero Rocketts

...and once again Christmas wouldn't be Christmas down the Coastguard Station without everyone's favourite festive chocolates!

“Monsieur, with these Ferrero Rocketts, you’re really spoiling us.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Twelve Days of Christmas Greetings!

As we get nearer to the big day itself, HM Coastguard has issued its own Christmas Greeting, courtesy of You Tube and a number of Coastguard Rescue Teams around the country.


If you look carefully you'll spot our colleagues from Kimmeridge and St Albans.  We were invited to take part but we are saving ourselves for bigger things, and hopefully 2014 will see us taking part in "Britain's Got Strictly Baked off with X-Factor Talent so get me Out of Here. On Ice."

Whilst it all looks like fun (to the performers at least, if not for the poor viewers), there is a serious message in there.  Do stay safe this Christmas - We are in for a couple of really rough days today and Christmas Eve so keep an eye on the weather warnings and heed advice.

The team will be on call all over the festive period - 24/7 as usual - although we hope we dont get another Christmas call out as we did on Christmas Day 2011.  If we do, Tom and Ian are the willing volunteers who have out their names forward this time - well done chaps!

On behalf of all the team, we'd like to wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and thanks for your ongoing support.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Amber Weather Warning Issued

Further bad weather is about to spread across the South West bringing heavy rain and strong winds.

The Met Office have issued this latest warning.

An amber warning is "be prepared" and our advice remains the same

Keep clear of flood water

Stay away from Cliff tops

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Brighton - sea search for missing woman.

A desperately sad incident over in Brighton.

Two persons have entered the water in rough conditions, a woman remains missing.


Please, please do not enter the water in rough conditions.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Swanage Coastguard in the past - the Christmas challenge.

This photo turned up this week thanks to Pete Wakefield a team member from a few years ago.

Basically who, what, where and when is then question over Christmas.
(Sadly we don't actually have the answers yet)

I think this is the LSA men - volunteers like we are today.

Their equipment is in the cart behind them which was kept at Peveril.

They are on the Downs, with us looking North across to Ballard.

1920's ?

Can you add names to the picture? On the back of the photo is a name of Tom Langtry.
It is not Eric or Tom in the front row before anyone says - they joined a couple of years after this photo was taken.

More rain

More weather warnings have been issued with rain and wind.

This unsettled weather looks like it will continue for a few days.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Amazing Helicopter Footage

A BBC News story from Canada showing incredible skill and control from a Search and Rescue helicopter pilot and winchman.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Weather Warning

A weather warning has been issued for tomorrow (Wednesday 18th December)

Strong winds and heavy rain will sweep across the country.

A little reminder to keep away from rough seas and cliff tops during these stormy conditions.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Children's Christmas Party

The station hosted the annual children's Christmas party this afternoon and it was difficult to tell who was enjoying it more - the children, Terry or Duncan.

Party games included matching pairs and sucking up smarties on a straw, the children meanwhile watched on eating party food.

Special guest this year was Ninja Craker -

Brian so excited having had his uniform delivered this week.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Patrol at Studland

Yesterday's patrol at Studland with a RNLI lifeboat on trials in the bay.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Small, impressive and stunning

It might be a small lighthouse.....(oh look Coastguard helicopter 104 flying past)

Impressive in the right light.

Stunning sun set tonight.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Beach Clean Up

This weekend sees a small clean up of debris from the Landslip at the north end of the beach.

Owners of the beach huts have under guidance been given permission to remove certain items from near and around their huts.

Natural items like clay will be allowed to be place on the beach and allowed to be taken out by the tide. This is the normal process which supports and replenishes the beach. Concrete and metal items will be collected by a contractor and taken away for proper disposal.

This does mean during this weekend there will be machinery on the beach and we ask members of the public to keep clear.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The landslips - nearly a year on

Its hard to believe the landslips at the north end of the bay were nearly a year ago.

Thankfully we haven't had the heavy rain we saw last year however it doesn't mean things have stopped.

After the incident we sat down with several partner agencies to ensure a clear understanding of everyone's roles if and when these types of incidents happen again.
Move on 11 months and after several meetings and workshops with the public a lot has happened.

Warning signs,
Gyones numbered to identify areas quicker,
Part of the gyones removed to ensure safer access,
Emergency policy covering the whole county in place,
Emergency sign storage set up, one in Swanage,
Partnership working with Dorset Fire and Rescue,
Long term signage designed,
Monitoring system in place,
Expert reports on the cliffs from Ocean Bay to Sheps Hollow,
Clearance plan,
Study on Japanese Knot Weed,
Owners of beach huts identified and groups formed to work together for the future.

Last week there was a meeting of the Swanage Coastal Forum which some of the above points where highlighted.

A few reports are well worth reading

Instability report by the Environment Agency engineer.

An experts report, Professor Roger Moore

The following Agencies have been working together to ensure a safer beach.

Maritime & Coastguard Agency, Environment Agency, Dorset County Council, Purbeck District Council, Swanage Town Council, LiCCo, National Trust and the Swanage Coastal Forum.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Changing view

You go on holiday, come home and someone has taken the beach huts away!

Shore Road is looking different and will do for a whilst stabilisation work and new huts are built.

This area has in the past been important to the team during carnival week, being the forward operating tea stop.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Chocolate Fridge

It would appear that following one of my daily Coastguard Station 'security/how much chocolate is left in the fridge inspections' ...that the team have AGAIN managed to munch their way through a fridge load of  chocolate. 

Only Bounty Bars left....

I've told them before that if they keep eating chocolate at this rate they won't fit through the door!

...and that's the cue for a fat ginger cat to try and squeeze through a door.

Awww soooo cute.

Disclaimer: Any similarity between the cat and a team member is purely coincidental.

Monday, 25 November 2013

"Doing a Roger"

Roger's first descent at Anvil Point , it was moments later that he developed the new skill of viewing the cliff from a different angle.

Thanks to the high standard of the equipment and training methods Roger was soon back on his feet and continued down to the lower ledge.  Safety is so important in any of our exercises and the learning and checks continue from the moment we leave the station till we get back.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

View from the office

This morning some of the team had an early start at a local cafe.....before official training starting at 8.30.

We headed up to Anvil Point with the aim to get all technicians ( that's the person who goes over the cliff) down onto the lower ledges. (not all at the same time)

Brian was up first and performed a near perfect demonstration followed by Steve. The Station Officer was up next and just after this photo was taken got rather wet when a large wave dumped on top of him (despite the team thinking he had an accident).

Roger and Nick were next up for their 1st Anvil Point run and did ever so well despite at one stage Roger performing an interesting descent which the team have now called 'doing a Rog'. Sadly, we cannot say what this manouevre involved, but it has to be said it was impressive. No, really it was. Its such a pity that we cannot let you, our dear readers, know what variation and artistic element Roger brought to the task but thats the way it has to be.

Instead, you might like to listen to some music and think about what may have happened.

Anyway, both Rog and Nick score a good '7' from the cliff edge safety officers.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Different Types of Cliffs

As many will know from their geography field trips to Swanage we have a varied geology. To the north we have chalk, then some limestone, then some um ..other limestone.

"So what's this got to do with Coastguarding?"

Well have a look at these three cliffs:-

Durlston Bay

Old Harry

Anvil Point

All very different with different challenges and dangers; and as a team we train on all three so we know what to expect.

The first Durlston Bay is less steep but very slippy with numerous holes towards the top. Easy to get stakes in and get the cliffman over but easy to trip on the way down and turn ankles etc. Lots of undercuts and sharp ledge. Pretty flowers though in spring.

Old Harry, vertical and undercut, again easy to get the stakes in on top, but loose gravel at the top makes the first 5m difficult. On a dry day it's dust in your eyes and the cliff top safety officers. Below 5m and the keen eyed viewer will see big 'square chunks' of rock which are easily dislodged. You try and kick off the loose ones and carry on. Issues here are rocks following you down or the ropes twisting in the wind and catching rocks, again they like to follow you down. Anything larger than a tennis ball can do serious damage to the cliffman or casualty below. You spend most of the time looking up and dodging. On the bottom move away from the cliff face quick. Out of interest a stonemason has cut a face in the rock at the bottom.

Anvil Point, big cliffs, vertical. It's hard rock not very forgiving on our kermantle ropes which can become desheathed (outer lining cut) even with loads of line protection. Really difficult to get stakes in, but the rock face is nice and stable. Very slippy on the bottom. It's a nightmare bringing casulties over the top without them getting cut and bruised, we use the 'quadpod' (a four legged crane thing) here a lot. If we are going over here its normally a climber and we would be playing for keeps so to speak. It's an exposed site to the weather so othen cold, wet and windy. Not my favourite site.

So you don't need a geology degree to join the Coastguard, just an understanding that each type of rock brings up different challenges.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Flares not Fireworks

These photos were kindly sent to us of a recent exercise at St Albans Head when some our new team members had a practise firing some illuminates.

We normally use them on night time searches to light up a large area.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Incident at Tilly Whim, Swanage

The last four days have been some of the most difficult the team have faced for many years.

When I say "team" that is just not the immediate members of the Swanage and St Albans Coastguard teams. This incident has defined just how big that team is during an incident of this magnitude.

Over the 4 days we believe over 500 people have been involved in this continued incident - Coastguard Rescue Officers, Coastguard Operations Room and support staff, RNLI Swanage crews and support staff, Coastguard Helicopter crew and CHC support staff, Dorset Police Officers ,Police Staff, National Police Air Service and Dorset County Council Country Park Rangers.

But there are some more very important people we should mention - our families and friends who have shared the pain and upset the weekend brought. We should also mention the kind support from the community, the cafe who provided refreshments and the shop who refused payment for some equipment we needed.

On behalf of the Swanage Coastguard Team we would like to thank everyone who has been involved or supported us all.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Bonfire Night

An example of what happens if you do!

By way of an actual example; last year a single red flare was reportedly seen by a person standing on Poole Quay who reported the position over the southern side of Poole Harbour. The positioning suggested it was on land - however we treat each sighting as an emergency until we can confirm otherwise. The time was 02:00am isn.

To verify this position HM Coastguard Ops Room Portland tasked Poole Coastguard to talk to the first informant, and Swanage Coastguard to go to the approximate position of the reported flare.

Needles Coastguard Team and the Yarmouth Lifeboat on the Isle of Wight were turned out to help triangulate the flare position.

Swanage Team them put up a white star para illuminate flare and the position was confirmed by Yarmouth RNLI and Needles CG as Goathorn Pier. The Pier was checked and nothing found. All teams were stood down at around  04:00.

Given the resources involved you can clearly understand why the chap in Salcombe who deliberate let off a flare for no reason was fined over £750 with costs of £3000 awarded against him.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Incident at Tilly Whim Caves

Yesterday afternoon at approximately 15:20 both the the Swanage and St Albans HMCoastguard Cliff teams were tasked to a report of a person who had become stuck in a sea cave under Tilly Whim Caves. Given the nature of the tasking both the Swanage Lifeboats and Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 106 who were already at the scene were unable to prosecute a rescue. 

On arrival the cliff teams were met by the helicopter winch-man who explained the tasking. Entry to the cave was either underwater, or though a narrow blowhole at the top of the cave.

A full cliff rescue set up was put in place and risk assessments conducted as to the severity of the rescue operation and whether a rescue was viable through the blow hole. The rescue was considered to be at the very edge of our technical capability.

With the light failing and high tide approaching a final risk assessment was undertaken by the officer in charge and decision made to deploy. The St Albans' Cliff Technician showed exceptional courage and entered the cave through the blow hole. 

On entering the cave it became apparent that the casualty had sadly succumbed. The difficult decision was taken that the recovery of the body at that point was too dangerous to undertake. The teams then stood down.

Naturally at this time the team's thoughts are with the person's family and friends.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Coastguard Medal Presentation

Photo courtesy of The New Milton Advertiser

This week I was invited to a medal presentation for one of the Southbourne Coastguard team.

In the Coastguard Service having completed 20 years service you are present with a medal for long service in line with the services.

As can be seen several important guests were invited (the gold braid is a clue) .

The Chief Coastguard Mr Peter Dymond OBE , Head of Coastal Resources Richard Martin OBE, Rescue Coordination Centre Manager Portland Mark Rodaway OBE along with 3 sector managers.......lots of important people.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

A Horror Warning

Tonight is Halloween and there's nothing more scary than dressing up like Terry Nutkins or a Panda.

Combine the two and it's horrific!

...as our 'overseas coastgaurd' Austen Rockett demonstrates.

Terry Nutkins / Pandaman

ok ok i'll put a nice photo of him up too.

Just after rescuing a dog in full dress uniform!

Another Weather Warning

Another weather warning has been issued for tomorrow (Friday)

Heavy rain is expected during Friday going into Saturday along with strong wind along the coast.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Don't misuse flares.

A person has been fined for misusing flares when not in distress which resulted in a unnecessary search and rescue incident.

With Bonfire fire night fast approaching this serves as a reminder that it is illegal to fire maritime distress flares when not in trouble.

Bonfire night is not an excuse to get rid of out of date flares either, flares should be disposed of properly.
Here in Dorset the collection point for out of date flares is the Security gate house at the RNLI college at Poole.
However please DO NOT just turn up as an appointment has to be booked with the staff. They can be contacted on 01202 336336.

Please also note its an offence to leave flares at Coastguard stations and RNLI lifeboat houses. Previous incidents of flares being left at these premises have caused huge problems with safety and seen areas being evacuated.

Have a safe bonfire night.....be responsible

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Monday, 28 October 2013

Think of your safety

The sun may be out (here at Anvil Point) but conditions are still hazardous.

The sea conditions are still rough with large sea swells and waves.

Please stay safe and view the conditions from a safe location. We recommend you stay out of the water for at least another 24 hours till condition improve.

Trees will have been weakened in the strong winds and there is still a risk of fly debris in the gusts.

Don't put you or others at risk, if you see someone in trouble call 999 and ask for Coastguard.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Dorset Flood Alert

15:41 The Environment Agency have put out a Flood Alert for the east coast of Dorset.

'....a flood alert has been issued for the east coast of dorset due to weather conditions tonight. Very large waves plus strong winds between force 7 and force coinciding with heavy rain will have effects, especially between 5.00am and 6.15am Monday.'

Call Floodline on 0845 988 1188, select option 1 and enter Quickdial number 04532 to get more information

'St Jude Day Storm' Radar Plot


HM Coastguard will be monitoring the storm over the next 24 hours. Whilst it's exciting to watch mother nature at her most powerful please keep yourself safe, especially close to the shoreline and on the cliffs. As of yet we still don't know the precise storm, track but given Swanage's exposed coastal location we are taking all precautions. The team are currently out liaising with coastal users.

The Swanage Coastguard Team normally provide a 2 person 'Initial Response Team' 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Tonight at 19:00 we will be increasing this to 6 Rescue Officers with the rest of the team on immediate team call.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Dorset Storm Warning

BBC's Weatherman Matt Taylor provides an explanation of how the storm may develop.

Met Office and HM Coastguard are also putting out a High Seas Forecast and Storm Warnings

Friday, 25 October 2013

Met Office Storm Warning Swanage Dorset

A weather warning has been issued for Monday.

An amber warning has been issued for storm force winds.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Partnership working

Tonight's training saw a visit by a couple of staff from the Environment Agency come and talk about the Swanage Flood plans.

Following last years heavy rain and landslips we have been drawing up a working agreement with the Environment Agency to be able to observe events on the ground during flooding.

The team have been briefed on the areas to check along with the different types of flooding which could occur in the town.

Our primary roles hasn't changed in this type of work its just about working with new partner agencies and feeding key observations back to confirm what the electronic sensors are showing.

Looking at tonight's weather, tonight's training could soon be in use.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Dornier pulled from the channel

Readers may have seen that a rare World War 2 bomber was recently lifted from the English Channel and taken for restoration.

The Dornier 17 has been taken to RAF Cosford where its been sprayed with a solution to stop it decaying before it can go on display. I managed to get a good close up view of the work being done this weekend.

There are laws protecting items recovered from the sea and this is where the Receiver of Wreck steps in

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Rowing Club Progress

I notice that Swanage Sea Rowing Club are making good progress with their new boat house in Eldon Road, opposite their temporary Polytunnel.
If you cant get down for a look yourself, then there are some pictures here:

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Water Rescue Training

There is only one problem after training with the new water rescue kit......the drying of it.

The new dry suits are super and give us safer capability to enter the water if required.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Real Rescues

The Swanage Coastguard Team featured on Real Rescues today.

The incident was the young lady who fell off Agglestone Rock at Studland during the summer. The air ambulance attended and had a camera man on board filming the incident. The Coastguard attended to assist the ambulance due to the remote location.

You can see the video by using the BBC I player - Real Rescues Series 10 episode 10.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Emergency Phone Anvil Point

After many month of being broken, the emergency phone is back working at Anvil Point.

This phone is vital in this area as the mobile phone signal is very poor in fact you often pick a French signal up only.

All calls from this phone go direct to the Coastguard as BT were unable to provide a normal 999 service.

In a time of cutbacks we would like to thank those involved in maintaining this vital life saving phone.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Spike - we remember you.

The 7th October 2004 is a dark day in the history of the team.

One of our team Michael "Spike" Williamson collapsed and sadly passed away, a day team members will never forget.

This afternoon Steve and Ian attended the Godlingston Cemetery to pay our respects and remember a great team member.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Yacht washed up at Studland

The scene facing the initial response team last night when they were called to Knoll Beach Studland.

Regular readers will know this isn't the 1st time the Coastguard has attended this yacht.

Landslip drop in meeting

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Things that go bump in the night

Just after 10pm last night Dorset Police requested assistance in searching for a local male missing from his home.

Normally the Coastguard would search an area called the coastal strip however to assist the Police we searched further in land , around the streets and paths of the town.

Thankfully the missing man was located safe and well, however the sight of several of our search teams in high viz clothing looking around garages and using torches triggered several calls to the Police.

So apologies to the residents we disturbed, we would like to reassure residents that all our clothing is clearly marked with Coastguard logo's and team members would be wearing safety helmets. We would also only be on public land and only search private areas with the permission of the owners.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Belgian Registered MotorYacht

RNLI assistance was provided to a 40-foot Belgian registered motorboat in Swanage Bay last night.

The vessel with three people onboard was in difficulty in the bay some 60m off Swanage Pier and due to the worsening weather Portland Coastguard requested that Poole lifeboat attend to help the boat continue its voyage to Poole.

The lifeboat was launched at approx 19.15 and was on scene approx 40 minutes later. 

Further details at Poole Lifeboat's website http://www.poole-lifeboats.org.uk/recent_launches.shtm#oct_anchor

Monday, 30 September 2013

Sea Foam

A concerned walker contacted us today regarding the foam washing up on the beach. Quite rightly our beaches and sea are very important and any report of pollution is taken seriously.
On this occasion the foam was caused by the natural action of the waves creating bubbles. Any organic or inorganic particles then stick to the outer side of the bubble creating foam. I'm told that it's a technique used in marine aquariums to keep the water clean - foam fractionation or protein skimming.
It can cause some irritation in large qualities or when mixed with other toxins but a visual check of the beach confirmed no other pollution today.

Any reports of pollution on the beaches (Dorset area) can be made to Portland Coastguard 01305 760439

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Stormy times

The team were tasked this morning to near the lifeboat slipway after reports of debris being washed up. Large amounts of wood and diesel was being washed in from Peveril Point to the sailing club. The team arrived and searched the shoreline, removing any hazardous items like fuel cans or small gas cylinders.

It was soon discovered the remains were from a boat that had been towed to safety during the week and put on a mooring awaiting the owner to collect it. Sadly over night it appears the boat broke up in rough seas.

The pollution was thankfully being broken up by the action of the waves and tide with the rest of the boat being the responsibility of the owner to clear up.

The day didn't end there, this little yacht had been the focus of attention this week due to the seamanship of the owner. It's not the 1st time the owner had been rescued will colleagues in the Littlehampton area been out 4 times to him.

Well having spent a day away, the male returned to his yacht and found it just short of the pier having survived the nights storm.

Despite advice from locals he decided to head off to Poole .....well that was the plan. Crossing the bay a rope managed to get caught around the propeller and this time the owner requested assistance. Swanage RNLI inshore lifeboat launched and soon was alongside to resolve the problem. It was decided to tow the boat to Poole so Poole Lifeboat came out to take over the tow.

This is now 6 times this individual has had to be rescued.

Friday, 27 September 2013


We received a very nice note of thanks from the climber involved in the incident near Anvil Point last Sunday.  Its always good to hear from the people we've helped and to know that our services are appreciated!

Just a quick note to thank the team that recovered
me from the bottom of the Marmolada Buttress on Sunday after dark. I
sincerely hope I won't need to call on your services again, but it was
great to see how efficient the team were. Alongside that they showed
genuine care and concern for my wellbeing and a good sense of humour
too. Please pass on my thanks to the whole team, the whole experience
reinforced my long held belief that we live in a country that is well
supplied with people who are prepared to make sacrifices and use their
skills to help others.

Keep up the good work!

Monday, 23 September 2013

That's why we Train!

Having only just rigged an 'after-dark' a cliff top set-up, we were faced with the real thing last night (Sunday).

The pagers went off just after 8.00pm and we were tasked to a climber, stuck on the cliff somewhere near the Anvil Point Lighthouse.

We quickly grabbed the night lighting and trailer and met the first informant at Durlston who took us to the climb area.  The incident turned out to be along the coast path, several hundred yards west of the lighthouse and inaccessible by vehicle, so we lugged the lighting, generator, stakes, 250m rope bags, sledgehammers and other assorted equipment to the site by hand.

On site, the lights were soon up and running and a double-stake holdfast installed to give a cliff technician access to the cliff edge where he was able to spot, and make contact with, the casualty.

It soon became apparent that the climber was in no immediate danger and was in fact tired and unharmed on the rocks at the bottom rather than stuck or injured half way up.  Bearing this in mind and noting the calm sea conditions it was considered easier and safer to request Swanage RNLI's inshore lifeboat to recover the climber, rather than deploy a technician over the cliff in the dark.

We continued to prepare for a cliff rescue, setting up further holdfasts etc, just in case the lifeboat was unable to recover, but it was very soon spotted rounding Anvil Point and quickly on scene.  A quick call on the radio confirmed that the casualty was on board and the boat was reversing out and it was time to pack the kit up, carry it all back to the truck and return to the station.

A Job well done, and thanks to the RNLI crew for their quick response.

There's a decision making process to go through when carrying out operations such as last night's, including whether to recover by ropes, by lifeboat or even by helicopter.   This is normally a job for the Officer In Charge -OIC- in conjunction with the Portland operations centre and other team members and we'll take a look at that process and the various factors to consider another time.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Night Shift

We ran a useful cliff rescue training session last week, without actually putting a cliff technician 'over the top'.

We've had some new recruits this year and after a summer of  thorough training, we thought it would be useful for them to prepare our cliff top set up in real time as though it were a proper emergency.   The exercise was conducted after dark and so involved the floodlights and generator to add to the experience.

The whole team worked quickly and efficiently and we had the lights working, kit unpacked, holdfasts set up and ropes rigged and were ready to start the rescue less that 15 minutes after arriving on scene.  A good effort all round.

Then we packed it all up again and went to the station for a debrief.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Purbeck Marathon

The Purbeck Marathon took place today and thankfully the weather held at the start.

Starting on the Downs in Swanage, the route follows the Coastal Path to Tyneham before returning to Swanage via the Purbeck Hills.

Today's winner finished in 3 hours and 6 minutes! Well done to all those who took part today.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Off Duty?

Like other emergency services volunteers, we're never really 'off duty'.  Of the 12 on the team, there are always two of us near the Coastguard Station at any time, and this pair is the 'Initial Response Team' (IRT) who will be tasked to attend to any incidents.
The remaining team members still wear their pagers in case a bigger presence is required eg for rope rescues or coastal searches, so although it frees them up to do other things that life has in store, they are still technically available.

Our patch includes the Rempstone Forest / Wytch Farm area leading down to Poole Harbour and its important that the team keeps familiar with the various tracks and routes through the forest - if a distress flare is sighted in Poole harbour we may be tasked to Goathorn Pier or Ower Quay to see if we can identify someone in distress.

So last night, whilst off duty, one of the team took advantage of a beautiful late summers evening to cycle some of the Rempstone lanes and paths to check access points, gates etc, and to generally admire the views.  Off duty or on duty?  Its all useful local knowledge training.


Monday, 2 September 2013

Land Slip - two cut off by tide

We renew our warnings today about the dangers of land slips and remind the public of the dangers of climbing over rock debris.

Yesterday Coastguard Rescue Officers were tasked to Ballard after a boat owner was concerned for two walkers, walking along the shore.

During this dry spell rock has continued to fall around Ballard and has built up large deposits. It appears the walkers has clambered over these piles of rock to see how far they could walk around the base of Ballard.

On arrival the walkers had disappeared but the boat owner confirmed they had left the danger area.

There continues to be rock falls and smaller land slips in the area and the public are reminded of the dangers and to observe signage.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

BSAC 60 years old in Swanage

Members of BSAC (British Sub aqua Club) visited Swanage this weekend as part of their 60 year celebrations.

Swanage is quite important in the diving world and has one of the oldest diving schools in the Country.

Pictured above were members of BSAC using some of the original diving equipment (restored to full working order)