Sunday, 29 January 2017

Local Patrols

The team has been out this weekend checking paths, trails and routes at Studland.
We had a late night search in freezing fog at this very location earlier this week, and it's at times like that with almost no visibility that the local knowledge patrols really pay off.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Cabin Cruiser secured in Bay

The team were just packing up from training on Thursday when they became alerted to a cabin cruiser moored in an unusual position off the boat park slipway with its navigation lights on but nobody on board.

Concerned that someone might have fallen in the water, the team first  boarded the boat to look for any occupants and then conducted a shoreline search. With nothing found, and with advice from the lifeboat cox and 2nd cox, extra mooring ropes were added to the boat to protect it against the incoming Easterly winds.
Using the registration number and name on the boat, the team were able identify the owner who confirmed he was safe and well.

The CG66 is an HM Coastguard registration form whereby owners can voluntarily register their boat details with the Coastguard in order that they can be contacted if the need arises. Google 'CG66 Scheme' and register yours now!

Friday, 27 January 2017

Night Training

Winter training doesn't mean we stay indoors, and last night the team was out at a chilly Peveril Point practicing rope rescue set up.

On this occasion we didn't put anyone over the cliff but rehearsed the complete operation including setting up the hold fasts and agreeing a method of recovery and we treated the exercise as 'real' right to the point of going over.

At this time of the year other factors such as lighting and keeping the team warm need to be considered.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

The Donkey Award

At Swanage Coastguard we pride ourselves on high standards - we train at least two evenings a month and we get together another evening each month to go through our kit, clean and check it and make sure it's it tip top condition.

Occasionally things go wrong - not operationally nor safety critical items - but perhaps something on station that makes us wonder if the  person is perhaps doing it deliberately wrong in order to prove we can all make mistakes.

The best - or worst - offender gets the Donkey of the Year award and this year's winner was our Terry.  Rumour has it that he avoided the presentation evening last week so as to avoid the donkey,  but it doesn't work like that and we caught up with him after a callout the other day.

And his misdemeanour?  Well it's a bit of a secret, but Terry is a full-on cleaning addict and the incident stems from when he vacuumed out the truck ('CRV') one kit night. Let's just call it High-Speed Hoovering.

In other news, we are on the lookout for a replacement 'Henry Hoover' if anyone knows of one.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Coastguard in large search

The team were called to assist Dorset Police just before 6pm.

There were concerns for a male last seen by the bus stop near to the chain ferry who had suddenly disappeared.

With concern the male had got lost on the heath , the Coastguard along with Police searched the heath, beach and ferry road.

Due to the freezing fog , neither the police or coastguard helicopters were able to assist so the St Albans Coastguard team and Dorsar members were tasked to assist.

Dorset and Wilts Fire assisted by sending an appliance with a thermal camera which was used along the Ferry Road.

Thankfully after a press release was issued by Dorset Police , a member of the public contacted the Police to confirm they had collected the male and he was safe.

All search units were released and a special thanks to the Staff in the toll boxes for supplying hot water for the search teams.

Monday, 23 January 2017


Having come second in the Purbeck blog section , we thought we would revert to wildlife pictures to see if this would boost the vote in 2017 !

So it was off to Studland to have a look at these murmurations.
Sadly the weather wasn't great today

Not going to see a lot today !

Oh there they are , short display today probably due to the cold !

Saturday, 21 January 2017

The Second Best Blog in Purbeck - thanks for reading!

We found out this week that this very blog was voted runner up in the best blog in Purbeck competition.

To be honest we didn't know we were being entered, and we were judged in the category that promotes the area in which we live - which is good because whilst the blog is about life in the Coastguard team, it's pleasing to note that it's doing more than that.  In fact, its original purpose was to document the build of our new station in 2008/09, but more of that another time.

The winner was the Purbeck Footprints blog run by our good friend Julian Sawyer who runs the nature based photography, walks and talks business of the same name at the Old Stables. Well done Julian - good effort. He's got one of his talks on Friday evening if you're interested. 

More details on the other categories and winners here

Friday, 20 January 2017

First Aid training continues

What may look like a rugby scum was in fact a first aid assessment at St Albans Coastguard this week.

Somewhere under the rescue officers is an exercise casualty being treated.

The team successfully completed their assessment and demonstrated a good standard of first aid and care.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Slip watch is back

The recent weather has taken it out on the cliffs to the north of the bay.

A fresh fall at Sheps Hollow

A larger fall North of Sheps Hollow.

Keep clear of the base of the cliffs and don't climb up.

In an emergency 999 Coastguard

Monday, 16 January 2017

Mind the drop

The beach is on move, in some places the sand is high.

And in some places ..... There's a big drop.

Take care , that's a six foot drop


Sunday, 15 January 2017

Swanage Coastguard of the year.....

After a slight delay in the announcement, the Swanage Coastguard of the year was announced last night.

The award is made in memory of Mike 'Spike' Williamson who sadly collapsed and passed away having completed 30 years service.

Spike was a quite man but his actions were massive and that's at the heart of the award.

The recipient of the award is Nick Field , the Deputy Station Officer.

During 2016 Nick worked very hard behind the scenes ensuring things ran as smooth as possible.

Attending over 70 incidents during the year , his commitment to the voluntary service was an example to the team.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Stay safe and away from high seas

With many weather warnings in place of snow ice and high tides , please take care near rough seas and high tides.

Whilst the weather brings photo opportunities, don't put yourselves and others at risk.

Check tides and the weather. Stay away from areas that have flood warnings.

999 Coastguard

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Coastguard called to Old Harry Rocks

The team were tasked this morning to a report of a female calling for help at Old Harry Rocks.

The National Maritime Operations Centre also tasked both Swanage RNLI Lifeboats , St Albans Coastguard Team , Dorset Police and Rescue 104 from Lee on Solent.

On arrival a female was located at the base of the cliff by the lifeboat crews who quickly got the casualty out of the water and into the safety of the lifeboat.

First Aid was given until the arrival of R104 who lowered their paramedic winchman.

The female was winched back to the aircraft and flown to Southampton Hospital for treatment including the effects of the cold.

It is believed the female slipped near the cliff edge and fell about 90ft. In the current weather condition we would remind readers to stay away from cliff edges.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Search Planning

When we are called out to searches for missing persons, it's not just a case of heading out and looking anywhere and everywhere.

We always spend 5-10 minutes profiling the 'Misper' in order to give us a clue as to where they might be and to make our search as effective as it can be.  Studies have shown that whilst a missing 12 year old might do one thing when lost, an 85 year old with, for example, early onset of dementia might do something else.

The former demographic tends to stay to marked routes and paths, and could be located upto 12km from their last known position (LKP) whereas the latter tends to head in straight lines, regardless of terrain and will only stop when they reach a physical barrier that is insurmountable.  Invariably they will be no more than a few hundred metres away. Despondent people characteristically behave in a different manner, and young children different again.

All of this profiling information is taken in to account,  along with the time since last sighting, the weather conditions,  the number of team members available, other resources available etc and a search plan emerges.  We also think about the equipment a Coastguard Rescue Office needs to take out on a search, including PPE, first aid kit, torch, VHF radio etc.

Tonight's training was around building that search plan and giving everyone a chance to input into it.  Next time it might be for real.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Let's reduce incidents

During 2017 we want visitors and the community to stay safe and reduce the number of incidents.

One factor that often plays a part in incidents is the weather.

Quite often those we rescue say it was ok when we started out.

It's not about just the weather now it's what may be approaching and that starts to change the wave height for example.

Always check the forecast , take advice and keep within your capabilities.

Friday, 6 January 2017

On Top of the World

The SO and DSO were out this morning transporting an MCA surveyor to our remote aerial site at Nine Barrow Down.

Whilst not quite on top of the World, this is the highest point in our patch.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

What do you do on your days off

So you have a day off ( as did a couple of the team ) and they went for a climb !

Normally we would say stay clear of cliff edges as they can be slippery or be aware they can give way.

Ensuring they stayed safe they did tell someone where they were and their expected time back.

The Coastguard are professionals who can assist if you get in difficulties on the coast which includes the cliffs.

Call 999 and ask for Coastguard.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Who are you going to call ?

Living on the coast , the community is probably aware of the Coastguard and the role they carry out.

For those who live away from the coast, another emergency service may not cross their minds even when visiting the coastal area.

Several times last year , calls were made to other emergency services when the Coastguard have what is called Primacy.

HM Coastguard are the coordinators of search and rescue around the UK coast line , cliffs, beaches , some inland water ways and out to sea.
In these area the Coastguard have the primacy to deal with incidents , having equipment or declared facilities available to them

Don't delay a rescue , 999( 112) gets the Coastguard just the same as Police , Ambulance and Fire.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

That was 2016

As we enter 2017 , we reflect on 2016 and the incidents the team attended.

The team attended 120 incidents during the year, 26 of those incidents were of a serious nature due to the injuries or with the number of emergency services involved .

The incidents were at time very demanding and needed those involved to draw on all their training and skills to save life.

Sadly we saw an increase in the number or people who lost their lives along our coastal area and our thoughts are with those who they left behind.

We assisted with 5 incidents involving unexploded ordnance.

3 Incidents involving animals over the cliff.

7 Rope rescues.

30 incidents involving medical assistance or assisting the ambulance service.

20 searches for missing people including lost children on the shore line.

The remainder were maritime related, investigations and minor incidents.

2016 was the 4th busiest year in the last 16 years.

# always on call