Sunday, 31 March 2013

Another mud rescue at Lulworth

Despite repeated warnings from partner agencies, another person got stuck in mud down In Lulworth yesterday.

Coastguards, Fire and Rescue and a lifeboat were involved in the rescue.

Ros Evans, Watch Manager Portland Coastguard issued this warning after the latest incident along the Dorset Coast.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Don't Panic We Are On The Case.

Yesterday afternoon the IRT got called to a possible Ordinance (BOMB, DON'T PANIC!!!!) near the parish slipway, on arrival the IRT donned the relevant ppe (sadly we don't have bomb suits) and went to investigate. We were given quite a precise location so it was easy to locate the old piece of cast iron pipe.

On closer inspection we think that it is part of an old outlet pipe that has broken off and with all the rough weather we've been having it has found its way round to the parish slipway. From a distance you can never be to sure, better to be safe than sorry especially on this busy weekend.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

News Letter

Purbeck District Council have issued a press release today on the landslips.

There is also a news letter been issued by the agencies involved. The agencies are Dorset County Council, Purbeck District Council, Swanage Town Council, Environment Agency and Maritime & Council Agency.

We want visitors and residents to know the Beach is open however we just ask for you to be aware around the landslips. At certain tides there is a risk of being cut off and the cliff is still moving.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Devon Landslip

The BBC are reporting this lunchtime that HMCoastguard Rescue Teams and the Fire Service have been deployed to a landslip near Shaldon, Teignmouth, Devon twhich has trapped two people in a tunnel that leads to the beach.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Helicopter Locations

Following on from the previous post here are the locations for the Helicopters - roughly speaking.

Red Flags - Sikorsky S92
Blue Flags - AW189

Map: Ordnance Survey / RouteBuddy Software

New SAR Helicopter Contract - Bristow

A private company, Bristow, has won the contract to operate Search and Rescue Helicopters in the UK.

Whilst the RAF and RNAS provide Search And Rescue (SAR) capability at eight bases across the UK, the four HMCoastguard Helicopter bases have for some time been operated through a private civilian contract , utilising ex- RAF and RNAS pilots. 

The 22 helicopters will be built in the UK and will operate from 10 bases overseen by HMCoastguard.

Sikorsky S92 in the snow

Ten Sikorsky S92s will be based, two per site, at:

  • Stornaway, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

  • Sumburgh, Shetland, Scotland 

  • Newquay, Cornwall, 

  • Caernarfon, North Wales, 

  • Humberside. 

AW139 in Sunny Swanage

Ten, AugustaWestland 189's AW189 (the newer version of the AW139 above) will be based, two per site, at:

  • Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire 

  • Prestwick Airport, Scotland

  • Inverness, Scotland

  • St Athan, South Wales

  • Manston, Kent

There are two 'spares' - one of each for training.

The only real difference most people in the UK will see is the actual livery and type of helicopters used. 

....just found this... ooooh wizzy techno-helicopters.

Monday, 25 March 2013


This afternoon Dorset Police requested assistance in searching for an overdue walker on the South West Coast path. The male had failed to reach his destination last night and there was concern for his welfare.

Coastguards from Swanage and St Albans joined Police Officers in searching from Durlston Head to St Albans Head. Rescue 106 from Portland joined the search in near freezing temperatures which continued for over two hours.

Search teams were stood down at 18.30 and the male has since been confirmed safe and well out of the area.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Poole Team play in our mud

The chaps from Poole popped over yesterday to have a look at our mud and Landslip.

The last few days weather has again changed things down on the cliff with more washed down. The beach has also changed shape due to the easterly winds we have had for a few weeks.

The Poole team are a full mud rescue team and in theory would be tasked to assist us with anyone trapped until the Agency has reviewed our status in this area.

So we decided to have a little practice, wearing a dry suit and special boots, our man from Poole had a walk around the slip to show us how it all works. Yes it's still very soft and if we get more rain the risk of getting trapped increases.

Please stay out of the mud and certainly do not carry out your own tests on the mud, leave that one to us.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

What a plank

Just as we had finished today's patrol, we were tasked to search for a large piece of wood reported in the water. The member of the public was concerned it would be a hazard to shipping so Portland Coastguard wanted it checked out.

After a short search the offending item was located in the water just by the pier, in fact it looked like it had come from the pier.

Due to the conditions and safety concerns we have been unable to recover the 15ft beam but hopefully it will come ashore later and be returned to the pier.

Of course if we had a boat hook, we could of used that to help recover it

Friday, 22 March 2013

Dirty Thirty - A Clue?

I have no idea what the 'Dirty Thirty' training session might involve next week, but I may have found some clues at the station.  We have done some research on the latest trailer laws, and fortunately all of our team are licensed to tow ours.  But can they manoeuvre it?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Flood Warning

The Environment Agency has issued the following Flood Alert this lunchtime, Thursday 21 March:

  • Water levels in the Purbeck Rivers and streams around Corfe Castle and Swanage areas are rising and are forecast to continue to rise in response to current rainfall. Up to 40 mm of rainfall is forecast over the next 24 hours which will raise water levels further.
    13:31 on 21 Mar 2013

  • Link to EA site

    Ferry Good News

    Good to see Brittany Ferries' Barfleur is back in action on the Poole - Cherbourg route this week.  The service ran regularly from Poole until March 2010 when it was withdrawn.   It was then reinstated in February 2011 but only lasted the season before being withdrawn again.

    This latest re-introduction sees a daily service for the forseeable future, although its first two sailings earlier this week were cancelled as a result of recent bad weather which had delayed the preparation, certification and approval processes.

    According the the BBC report, "The Barfleur had been leased to another firm, while Condor Ferries had been providing summer crossings between Poole and Cherbourg.   A Brittany Ferries spokesman said the end of both contracts prompted the return of the Barfleur, which he said would run year round depending on how it does this summer".

    Disclaimer: Other ferry services are available, but they don't all link Dorset to the Continent.  I mean, you could try Red Funnel from Southampton, but you wouldn't get further than the Isle of Wight, and the Brownsea Island ferries don't even get out of Poole Harbour!

    Wednesday, 20 March 2013

    Famous Sailors

    Robin Knox Johnston
    Chay Blythe
    Dee Caffari
    Ellen McArthur

    They all have something that we as a Coastguard Station don't have.

    Ben Ainslie however doesn't have one ('cause he sails dinghies)

    A boathook!

    Yes, Brian...

    (ii) accidentally dropped 
    (iii) conducted a float test

    on the Station's Boathook in the sea last year...he thought we'd forgotten but were still banging on about it. Meanwhile our boathook is either in someone's shed in Swanage or as we prefer to think .... floating in warm, calm water off the bahamas.

    Tuesday, 19 March 2013

    Pier Pressure

    Sadly, Swanage Pier was damaged in last week's rough weather, as reported on the local news sites:
    Although a temporary brace has been put in place to prevent further damage, the Pier remains closed for the immediate time being.

    With Easter just around the corner, this is a setback for all those who use the Pier - including anglers, divers, pleasure boaters, strollers and incoming excursions.

    The Pier, originally built in 1860 won the Pier of the Year award in 2012, and I'm sure the Swanage PierTrust would welcome any donations towards its upkeep and ongoing repairs in a bid to regain the coveted title.

    Sunday, 17 March 2013

    Biscuit Rationalisation

    I've just been up the station and noticed that the five half eaten packets of biscuits have been 'rationalised' into the biscuit tin.

    Funny enough some of the biscuits - notably a large proportion of the 'first division' biscuits (i.e.  jammy dodgers and custard creams) have gone missing in action at the same time.

    Whereas there still appears to be an over abundance of 'Isthmian League Division One South' biscuits (i.e. digestives and rich tea).

    I wonder who ate  rationalised the biscuits?

    Our websites

    For many years now we have run our website, blog and Facebook pages to keep our community and visitors up to date with what we do.

    There has always been the official Coastguard site but it would be rare for us to get a mention, so as a group of volunteers we along with other teams around the Country we set up our own websites to promote what we really do in our communities.

    Whilst we are Volunteers, we are part of a Government Agency so have to follow the rules and guidelines set down by the senior managers.
    As mentioned yesterday there has been a change of thought on the media strategy and the Coastguard Agency want just one site to avoid confusion along with a Government policy change on the use of crests.

    Thankfully we have always had a strict code of conduct on our own sites, including not naming casualties, not taking photos of people rescued and towing the party line.

    Our blog and Facebook have actually been approved by the MCA but our website has not as its outside the guidelines of having one single site for reference.
    We are currently looking at the opinions for the website as it has a lot of historic information which we know are used for research and educational needs.

    The blog was set up to cover the building of the station in 2008/9 and it was YOUR request that the site was maintained so you could follow what we did following your support in the town.

    Social media is an important tool to promote what we do but we want to ensure we follow the rules so stick with us whilst we make a few changes.

    Saturday, 16 March 2013

    Swanage Coastguard

    We're about to change our logo on Facebook and this Blog. 

    Apparently our 'New Media Officer' at HQ says we are not allowed to use the colour HMCoastguard crest - above (i.e the HMCoastguard Flag) because all official logos have to now be in black and white - below.

    From of the Official Site.

    I understand the Government have done this at a national level to reduce the colour printing costs on letters, publications etc. across all UK Government departments. Swanage Coastguard's  continued use of the colour logo on the blog and Facebook is unacceptable as it will confuse you.

    If we don't then we have to close our Facebook account and this blog. 

    Anyway, instead of the colour HMCoastguard Crest (i.e. the HMCoastguard Flag) we will opt to take a picture of the flag at the station, which just happens to have a colour HMCoastguard Crest on it. 

    Oh, and we have also been asked to point out that we are Swanage Coastguard and NOT the Official UK HM Coastguard webpage / blog / facebook page. I know it can be very confusing so to avoid any further trouble we're opting to continue to call our website / blog / facebook page - 'Swanage Coastguard'. 

    Please accept our sincere apologies for any confusion. 

    If you do want to find out more about HM-Coastguard please go to the Department of Transport webpage and find the Maritime and Coastguard Agency page and then the HMCoastguard page. For ease I've copied the link below:-

    Kimmeridge Whale

    Regular readers will know Kimmeridge Coastguard and the Kimmeridge Emergency Volunteers (KERV) had a whale of a time last year.... A Fin Whale.

    Kimmeridge Coastguard was particularly generous on Facebook....

    They have promised an update this weekend. 

    More about why KERV was set up here ......they are on Facebook too!

    Monday, 11 March 2013

    Sunny Swanage

    A little fresh on the sea front this morning, minus one with a wind chill factor of about minus 9.

    Sunday, 10 March 2013

    Leave footprints in the sand......not the mud!

    A recent patrol found these worrying footprints.   Despite warnings people are ignoring our advice and risking themselves and others.

    These are not footpaths but mud slips

    We now have the new warning signs in place thanks to the Town Council, these replace the paper signs that have been up since Christmas.

    THE BEACH IS OPEN but please take care around the landslips and stay clear.  We are about to have Spring tides (Higher Tides) and add in an Easterly wind and the risk of being cut off increases.

    Enjoy the area but we would prefer you did it without your local Coastguard having to come and dig you out.

    Saturday, 9 March 2013

    Heavy Mud Rescue

    With very kind permission of Roger, there was a mud rescue of a difference this week when his 35 tonne digger slipped down a bank and sunk !

    Thankfully due to Rogers quick thinking and skill as a machine operator he managed to stop the the machine sinking further.

    So whats the link......well Roger wanted to show how dangerous mud can be, whilst his digger is 35 tonnes the principles of a rescue is similar to those faced by us on the beach recently.

    It took a bulldozer and an even bigger digger to get the machine pulled out and then just like our mud rescues ....... a lot of cleaning !

    Friday, 8 March 2013

    New Signs

    After several weeks of discussions, new warning signs have arrived in town to be put up warning visitors of the dangers of the landslips.

    We will be updating on the slip over the weekend

    Sunday, 3 March 2013

    Ian Brown DIP

    The boss was away yesterday so we went mad and opened a packet of biscuits at the Coastguard Station.

    It appears he has only gone an got himself a Diploma in Life Long Learning, or 'teaching' as it used to be called. So off he went on a jolly to pick up his certificate.  It's a proper one, not one of those you get on the back of Kellogg's' Cornflake* packets.

    (He actually worked damn hard at it - no really he did).

    Ian picking up his Diploma - at sunset outside Fawley Oil Refinery.
    Well done Ian!

    *Other own brand corn flake based cereals are available at local supermarkets, but they don't taste as nice. 

    Saturday, 2 March 2013

    Cliff Rescue, Geology, and Mr Whippy

    The other day we were training on the recreation ground, it's a very gentle grassy slope that allows us to see what the cliff technician is doing and to practice cliff rescue in slow time.

    To give it 'edge' (excuse the pun) we call it 'The Cliff of Certain Death', but the worst that can happen is someone gets grass stains on their knees, .... or falls through the back wall of the ice cream hut into the Mr Whippy machine.

    Brian was the Cliff Tech, and on this occasion he decided to take Chris - our Paramedic over the top.

    Brian and Chris dressed in full PPE tackle 'The Cliff Of Certain Death' .

    Once the cliff technicians have mastered this its onto the cliffs for real! Swanage has a varied geology and every cliff brings different risk factors, so we're budding geologists also!

    Or is it Geomorphologists?

    Brian, this time dressed as a lion - he's no stranger at the ice cream hut.