Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Worth the Weight?

Nick and Lee took the MRU down to be weighed today as the laws concerning drivers towing trailers have changed recently.  Basically, what an individual is allowed to tow will vary according to vehicle / trailer weight and when the licence was issued, and with newer team members coming on board its always good to know who can do what.

Plus, its good practise anyway to know the vehicle weights anyway - and an empty Nissan Navarra pick up is a different story from one like ours with a SnugTop roof, all our rope rescue equipment, water rescue equipment, stretcher, metal stakes, first aid equipment, a tankful of diesel and upto five CG rescue officers on board with all their lifejackets, helmets, biscuits, crisps and so on.  Oh, and Jaffa Cakes, if Brian's on the shout.  Add to that a trailer loaded with the emergency lighting, a generator to power the lights, more metal stakes, sledgehammers, petrol winch, bags of 250m-long rope and it all starts to add up.

Swanage doesn't have a public weighbridge, so many thanks to the guys at Ideal Skip Hire who kindly allowed us to use theirs.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Photos being used.

Our photos of the Landslip have been in demand.

This week we have been asked by several partner agencies, a university and a local County Activity Centre if they could use then photos for education and monitoring purposes.

We are very happy for any of our photos to be used as long as Swanage Coastguard or the Maritime and Coastguard Agency are credited for their use.

We would prefer the photos are used rather than others put themselves in danger trying to get photos. Advice has also been given to two education establishments on how best students can see this active Landslip.

Our advice remains the same especially with this weather. Please keep clear of the slip, be aware of possible quick sand and the risk of entrapment. Be aware of what's above you and observe from a distance preferably at low tide.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Car Wash

Is your car looking a little worse for wear after all this bad weather? 

Why not head over to the car park at King George’s playing fields (Swanage) today and have the local lifeboat crew get it sparkling again as part of their charity Car Wash

The lifeboat crew will be on hand with their sponges & buckets at the ready from 9.30am. What’s more, they’ll be serving bacon butties & hot drinks while you wait. All for just a small donation to the RNLI – the charity behind our local lifeboat service. Click here to find out more: 

Perhaps we'll take our truck along. 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

After the snow

Having not been out during the snow, we decided to go and see whats been occuring down on the beach.  Tomorrow we are meeting some partner agencies to talk about events on the beach and review what happened over Christmas.

The balcony is slowly making its way down.

More mud and debris come down - metal railings, steps and fences.

Whilst this end of the slip has slowed there has been slight movement and the risk remains of it moving again.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Road Closure

The A351 is reported closed at Corfe Castle due to major flooding. Due to the weather conditions we would advise people not to make non essential journeys. This was timed at 6pm

At 8pm we understand the road may be open but with extreme care.  Our advice is to stay indoors tonight.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Fresh Falls and Mudslides.

Yesterday's patrol found this yesterday afternoon.

The force of these slips was shown as the metal railing had been pushed forward with the weight.

Whilst we haven't seen any rain the freezing temperatures are changing the way the slip works.

Below you can see some of the slips are liquid mud - this slip is about 1m deep and a very real danger should a child or dog fall into it. The top of the mud slip forms a crust which appears stable until you walk on it and fall into the liquid mud below- the suction makes it incredibly difficult to get out even if you are adult. At Hengistbury Head near Bournemouth similar slips occur and the Coastguard and Fire Service are regularly called to persons stuck.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Will it or won't it?

Weather warnings are in place for much of the country tonight with forecaster predicting snow for many places.

Swanage has in the past had some snow, but often being on the coast it sometimes misses out.

We would advise readers to take care and only venture out if really necessary.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Climbers, Climbing Kit and Rock Shoes

We had a busy training session tonight when we were joined by our colleagues from St Albans.

 The main topic was led by John Norman, one of the Ops Room chaps and was a discussion on climbers, climbing techniques and climbing equipment so we are better placed to deal with these kinds of incidents as and when we need to.  John's an experienced climber himself and he brought lots of kit for us to look at and get a feel for.  Sadly, Roger took quite a shine for these yellow rock shoes and we couldnt get them off him.  Well, not the left one, he definitely liked the left one.

Prior to that we had done a refresher on some first aid basics - in this case a simulated spinal injury, including fitting a neck collar, transferring to a stretcher etc.

All in all a very useful couple of hours.  Our thanks to John for coming down and good to train with St Albans too and see some of the guys we don't see very often.

One quick check before we all go home and, oh hang on... yes...there's Roger still with his favourite shoe on.  Gotta give it back Roger.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Large Search for Missing Person

Just before 9pm last night, Dorset Police requested assistance in searching for a missing male from an address in town. The full Coastguard team deployed to carry out a coastal search from the Chain Ferry at Studland to Durlston Head. In very cold and difficult ground conditions, search teams checked the beach and cliff areas.

Due to conditions in Durlston Bay and past the Landslip north of Swanage Bay, both Swanage RNLI lifeboats were requested to assist in the search.

Shortly after midnight, a member of the public reported to Police they had seen the male and shortly afterwards the male was located safe and well on the south side of Swanage.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Today's patrol

Whilst we call taking the truck out a patrol, the importance of going out is to ensure the vehicle is tested and run in preparation of an emergency.

With the weather going down hill the 1st call was the chain ferry at Studland which had closed this morning due to the high tide and weather.

A few people were braving the weather on Studland beach and then to Middle Beach cafe for a cuppa. We then had to check the track out to Old Harry as it was closed over Christmas due to a landslide. A new gate has been installed and fencing near the Landslip has been improved however the mud was deep so we went no further.

Back to Swanage and we went down to check the slide. We were pleased that people were keeping clear helped by the very low tide. With the rain it's again washing stuff down.

Then finally back to the station to wash the truck down.

Several weather warnings are in place with warnings of rain, sleet and ice.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Swanage Landslip - update

The advice from the partner agencies is to stay away from the slips.

Slow movement on the main slip however the rain tonight will again wash more down.

This is our main area of concern. As I walked down to take this, a lady stopped me to warn me not to go any further as her dog had got stuck in the mud.

The mud is mixing with the sand to make a very sticky mixture, please keep clear.

There is a railway sleeper washed down which three days ago was up the cliff, this is how active this area is.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Cliff Rescue Photos

I was sent an e-mail from a chap Josh, keen to send us some photos of the helicopter cliff rescue the other day; despite problems e-mailing them he's persevered and wow!

I can see why he was keen to send them ...they are rather good!

Always nice to start the year with a successful rescue!

Rescue 106 - In Action
Photo: Josh Samways.
Swanage HMCoastguard and Rescue 106
Photo: Josh Samways

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Views around Swanage

Ballard has not been left untouched in recent falls

Lets not forget that people's property has been damaged during the last few weeks.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Hugs all round

Message sent yesterday to Eric, Tom, Crew of Rescue 106 and Portland Coastguard.
Message: Thank you so much for saving my son from Swanage cliffs yesterday. My other son has told me how kind and reassuring your men were, I'd like to send a big hug to you all!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart,
Hug a Coastguard, now there's something to do in 2013

Friday, 4 January 2013

Figures for 2012

It all got a bit busy at the end of 2012 which complicated the final statistics for the year.

Incidents were down again which is good news, this partly down to the weather at the start of the year.

The final incident count for the team was 106 incidents which breaks down as:

2 EOD incidents ( unexploded ordnance )
3 Animal Rescues
50 Maritime incidents
5 Cliff Rescues
14 Medical Incidents
4 Investigations
15 Searches for missing people
13 Other incidents

The Coastguard MRU (vehicle) drove 2227 miles

2251 hours put in by the volunteer team members

August was the busiest month with 36 call outs, the next busiest was December with 12

Sunday at 2pm still remains the team's busiest callout time. Wednesday remains the quietest day.

Biscuits Eaten: Classified

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Cliff Rescue at Anvil Point

This afternoon volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officers were tasked along with the Portland Rescue Helicopter (Rescue 106) to Anvil Point after a climber was reported stuck on the cliff.

The climber was lifted by the helicopter crew from the cliff to the top of the cliff to be met by Eric and Tom. Having checked the climber was not injured, the helicopter and Coastguard team returned to base.

BBC News report

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Swanage Landslips - Final Update.

By way of a final update, for now, on the Swanage cliff slips.

HM Coastguard  have formally requested that the relevant local authorities (Purbeck District Council and Dorset County Council) take full responsibility for the situation following their office closures over the Christmas break. It will be up to these bodies to assess the risk to public safety and decide whether the beach and promenade can be reopened; this will be undertaken in liaison with local landowners.

Naturally HM Coastguard (Swanage) will continue to respond to any emergency incidents on the beach and cliffs.

Our advice remains that the cliff slips, whilst appearing benign, remain active. The risks as we see them are further slipping/cliff falls, persons being cut off by the tide when walking to Shep’s Hollow, and persons getting stuck in the mud/quicksands at the north end of the beach.

Notably on New Year’s Eve Dorset Fire and Rescue (Swanage) were called out to a dog that was reported stuck in the slip under The Pines Hotel, an incident which would normally be dealt with by the Coastguard. This area was cordoned off for public safety.

On arrival I am told that the dog had managed to free itself.

Mudslip along North Beach

In total the volunteer team have put in over 250+ hours dealing with the slips; the majority over the Christmas holiday period. Sadly we have taken a lot of flack for the beach closure, even though we were not the lead agency – just the most visible!

Thank you to those people who have provided their support on Facebook and the Blog.

Oh, and if you fancy doing your bit for Swanage why not consider joining the team?

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Beau survives 90ft fall from Old Harry

This is Beau, safely returned to her owners by Coastguards and ILB crew at South Beach Studland this morning.
The one year spaniel was out walking with her owners at Old Harry Rocks when she shot off to chase the sea gulls and fell over the cliff.
Thankfully the tide was in and she fell the 90ft into the water and was spotted by a local fishing boat.
Swanage ILB was launched and the Coastguard IRT dispatched to meet the owner on the cliff top.
A well practised routine swung into action with the ILB crew picking the dog up, the Coastguard picking the owners up and all were reunited at Joe's Cafe over a nice mug of tea.
With many people out enjoying the sunshine, please keep dogs on leads near the cliff.

2013 Recruitment - Coastguard Rescue Service - Swanage

Happy New Year! 

So have you got a New Year's Resolution........?

How about something different? Something really different!

Coastguard Rescue Officer

Swanage Coastguard Team are looking for volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officers.

“The volunteer Coastguard Rescue Service provides the UK’s coastal search and rescue capability and as part of Her Majesty’s Coastguard. It can operate separately or jointly with other emergency services and volunteer rescue organisations. It consists of teams of volunteers drawn from the local community, which are fully trained and equipped to carry out search and rescue operations around the coast of the UK.”

In the last 3 years the Swanage Team have attended nearly 500 incidents; we are one of the busiest and most proactive teams in the country.

So, willing to get your hands dirty? Calm under pressure? Fancy being called out in the early hours in all weather to rescue people in distress? Want to help support the local community?


If you’re 18 to 65 in age and seek a rewarding challenge then we want to hear from you.

To find out more about becoming a Coastguard Rescue Officer please visit our Coastguard Blog and see the recruitment podcasts top right.

Or contact:-
Gareth Kitching - Deputy Station Officer (DSO) ,
Swanage Coastguard Station,
North Beach Car Park,
De Moulham Rd,
BH19 1NR.

So please give us a call, text message, or e-mail ........ why not do it now.