Friday, 15 December 2017

The Best Blog in Purbeck - 2017

This very blog won an award yesterday - it was voted 'Best Blog' in the 2017 Best In Purbeck Awards.

Organised by Dorset Holiday Cottages, the awards celebrate Excellence on the peninsula where we live and they cover a variety of categories including Best Place to Eat, Best Attraction, Best Event and Best Local Producer.  Thanks to the organisers for arranging the competition, and it was particularly pleasing to win as we didn't even realise we had been entered - we may have had a dozen mire votes had we known!


Our friends at Purbeck Footprints came in second place in the blog category - well done Julian, but I suspect you probably needed to include a few Coastguards to make your pictures stand out a bit more.

Incidentally, the blog started out in 2008 to document the build of our new station in North Beach car park, but has since shifted focus to reflect daily life for the volunteers in the team. This post is the 3,252nd post since we started!


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

I've Started so I'll Finish....

The team held its Christmas Quiz last night - this is a light hearted way to wrap up the year's training by testing knowledge on a few Coastguard related topics.

Not actually sure who won, but I don't think we'll be on Mastermind any time soon.  Pointless, possibly!

A good time was had by all and thanks to the NPT for popping in and providing some security - these things can easily get out of hand!

Friday, 8 December 2017

Coastguard? Dial 999

Earlier this week we had a message via our Facebook page from a lady concerned that a boat in the bay may have been on fire.
 
We don't monitor Facebook 24/7 whereas the UK Coastguard Operations Centre is manned day and night, 365 days of the year, but fortunately we did happen to see this message come in so we wrote straight back asking the lady to contact the Operations Centre on 999 to give full details.
The normal route is for them to then task us by pager or phone if they want us to respond.
 
All the same, we spoke to the cox'n at the Lifeboat Station where there is a better view to sea and contacted the Ops Centre  as well.  The Ops Centre  located the vessel on AIS and gave it a call to check all was well - turns out they'd just started their engines which were just a bit smoky when cold and there was nothing to worry about.
 
The lifeboat cox'n sent us a photo through their binoculars of the vessel in question.
 
 
With all loose ends tied up, we stood down and recorded a FAWGI - false alarm with good intent, and we'd like thank the member of public for raising the alarm.
 
However, please, in an emergency or if you see someone in trouble, or who appears to be in trouble on the coast or at sea,  you should always call HM Coastguard on 999.
  
Facebook is good - but it's not a substitute for 999.

Monday, 4 December 2017

The story behind the Incidents




This morning just before 7am an off duty lifeboat crew member contacted the Police and Coastguard concerned for a person at Buck Shore.

The NMOC immediately tasked the team who were on route in just over 10 minutes from being paged.

Working together and using local contacts and knowledge, the team met up with the lifeboat crew members and quickly started searching the town where the person was last seen.

Thankfully the team located the person in the high street and quickly got them home to their family providing some first aid whilst the Police arrived.

Working together and an early 999 call to the emergency services saw someone safely back at home. - thank you to all those involved today.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Terry the Tech

The team headed off today to Old Harry for some rope training.

Terry has been training for a while now and today he was up in front of our Senior Coastal Operations Officer for his assessment.




Terry and the team were put through their paces in different scenarios.


Terry Working down the cliff to put the training dummy into the stretcher.


A very happy Terry having just passed all his assessments.


We also managed to get Steve and Jonny through their Operators qualifications so well done to the whole team for their efforts and thank you to Allan for his help and guidance.


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Stolen - Team Member's Paddle Sports Equipment

Many of the team have 'outdoors' type hobbies,  such as walking, cycling, climbing, kayaking, diving etc which is partly what makes them good Coastguards - the fact that they know the local terrain and understand the sports that go on here and the mishaps that can sometimes happen.
 
So it was particularly frustrating today when one of our Coastguards discovered that a whole load of specialist kit had disappeared from his washing line where it had been drying.
If you see or are offered any of the following paddle sports kit, please either let us or the police know:
 
-Palm Torrent dry suit - blue XL
-Black WRSI helmet with green visor
-Red Peak River Guide Buoyance Aid with rescue kit and first aid kit in front pocket and cow's tail attached
-Black Five Tennies paddle sports boots size 10
-Whetman spray deck with RAY written on the grab loop
-Palm neoprene socks (heaven knows why anyone would pinch those!)
-Pink plastic tub

Monday, 27 November 2017

Happy Retirement

We would like to join our colleagues down in Devon in wishing our previous Senior Coastguard Operations Officer, Pip Hall a happy retirement from the Coastguard.

Pip left us in 2010 and headed west to Torquay and the East Devon area.

Our very best wishes from all at Swanage.


Thursday, 23 November 2017

Search for Gaia

In the last two weeks volunteer Coastguards joined emergency service colleagues, volunteer search teams and the public in the search for Gaia.

Coastguards from many stations across Dorset came and provided additional support here at Swanage with the searches.

It's been difficult for us all but where there are no words , please know the silences are carrying the thoughts of all of you.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Diver in distress




Shortly after returning from the major search the team were paged to a report of a diver in distress under Swanage Pier.

An off duty St Albans Coastguard heard a diver in possible distress being taken on a strong current.

The team arrived to find the male ashore but rather cold.
An ambulance arrived and treated the male which released the Coastguard back to the station.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Search Update




For the last 24 hours , Dorset Police again requested assistance in the search for Gaia Pope.

Today Volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officers from several Dorset Coastguard stations deployed to assist in the search.

Joined by colleagues from DorSAR , Dog units, Dorset and Wilts Fire and Rescue a full multi agency search was conducted at the direction of Dorset Police.


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Search - Coastguard update




Swanage and St Albans Coastguard Rescue Teams, alongside Dorset Police and members of the public have extensively searched the Swanage area for the missing teenager, Gaia Pope.

Dorset Police are now concentrating their search efforts inland and the teams have been stood down.

There are no plans to resume searching the coast and shorelines unless HM Coastguard is instructed to do so by Dorset Police.

We would ask members of public who are continuing or considering joining the search, to not take unnecessary risks or place themselves in danger along the coast

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

A Good Read

The eagle-eyed Station Officer spotted this letter in the local newspaper this week.
It's always good to hear reports of a job well done and we are pleased to hear the lady is making a good recovery.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Gaia Pope : the Search Continues

The team were out yesterday and have been out again this morning checking routes,tracks and access points along the coastline.  We'll be back out this afternoon, and again tomorrow.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Search Update

Volunteers Coastguards continued to support Dorset Police from 20.00 until midnight working along side DorSAR.

The teams have now been stood down by Dorset Police.




Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Missing Teenager - Search Update

Both Swanage and St Albans Coastguard Teams have been searching this afternoon for the missing teenager Gaia Pope.

Fifteen Coastguard volunteers conducted a thorough search from Peveril Point and the Downs up the coast path and undercliff to Durlston and from there up to Anvil Point and onto Dancing Ledge.

After over six hours the teams were stood down by the Police and have returned to base to eat and rest and await further instructions.

We understand that members of the public  are continuing to search this evening and we would urge you to take great care and please stay away from cliff edges, coast paths etc. These areas have been thoroughly searched today and nobody wants to see further missing persons or injuries etc as a result of searching unfamiliar terrain in the dark.

To repeat: the coastal areas from Peveril Point to Dancing Ledge have all been checked this afternoon.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Training counts

Coastguard teams regularly train to maintain their competencies and practice in different locations and conditions

On Sunday afternoon the team headed out to Old Harry Rocks to practise a rope rescue.




A low tide enabled a safe area at the base of the cliff.




The face of the cliff was very loose and slippery to get to the casualty who had slipped down the 90ft cliff

The first technician arrived and treated the casualty requesting further assistance.





Down came a further two team members to assist.




The casualty was placed on the stretcher.



The casualty being lifted back to the top of the cliff.



The team at the top worked hard to carry out several descents and lifts.





It's all about being a volunteer Coastguard, how do you spend your Sunday's?

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Team tasked to Sheps Hollow

At 8.50 the alerting system requested the team attend a person cut off by the tide at Sheps Hollow.

Along with colleagues from the RNLI ILB the team arrived and started to search from Ballard to the Bull and Boat.

The team spoke to several people but no one had seen this male.
Speaking to the 1st informant it was confirmed the location of the last sighting which was checked so it's presume the person had managed to reach safety before the rescue assets arrived.


Swanage RNLI ILB searching


The high tide North of Sheps Hollow

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Multi-Agency Working

The team was tasked on Saturday afternoon to assist SW Ambulance with an elderly lady that had slipped on some sloping ground at Durlston.

Suspecting a broken leg, the ambulance crew had requested Coastguard assistance to transfer the lady from the point where she'd slipped to the safety of the ambulance parked on the hardstanding.

Our friends from Dorset Police also attended, making a proper team effort.

We wish the lady a speedy recovery.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Search assistance




The team were tasked at 5.15 on Tuesday morning to assist Police with a search for a male at Durlston.

The search was expanded just before 8am with St Albans Coastguard , DORSAR and both Swanage RNLI Lifeboats.

Search teams were stood down around 9.30 when Police located the missing male in the town.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Holding Back the Waves

Well not quite,  but this incredible set of photos shows how the team huddle together to collectively wade through waves and swell which would otherwise knock a single person over.

On the nearside, the group has formed a 'wedge' to protect the casualty (in the light yellow with white helmet) from the power of the tide. The group on the far side have a floating stretcher and are ready to load the causalty aboard.

As you scroll through the photos, notice how the large wave breaks right over the group, but the stance they have adopted not only keeps the team upright, but protects the causalty from being swept away too.

Photos taken during our Water Rescue Training on Sunday.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Water Rescue Training

The team took advantage of a beautiful sunny morning and some choppy seas today to practice water rescue techniques in the breaking waves.

We used the 'wedge' and the 'huddle' to maintain stability in the swell and practiced causalty recovery by both floating stretcher and by rope following a tethered swim by the rescuer

After a really good morning's work, our SCOO gave us the good news that he had seen us demonstrate all the competencies required to revalidate the team in Water Rescue for three more years.

Thanks to Hellie Ridler for the photos.