Firstly, we will still have helicopter cover. The nearest helicopter will come from Lee on Solent where there has been a base for many years and with whom we have worked many times. In fact, Lee on Solent has recently upgraded from an AW139 which it has used for around 10 years to a larger, faster AW189 which is on call 24/7. Portland only ever operated during the day, and not at night. At busy times back up will be provided by HM Coastguard helicopters from Cardiff or Newquay.
|Rescue 104 from Lee on Solent working with the team near Langton Matravers, Sep 2016|
Secondly, as a Coastguard Rescue Team we are aware that we may be called to carry out more cliff rescues than before - that's fine - that's what we train for! In the last 6 months alone we have rescued 5 people and a dog from over cliffs, so we know the ropes if you'll excuse the pun. Earlier this month, four of our cliff technicians spent a day training on more tricky scenarios than we'd usually train for, just to push our skill levels that bit higher. We're a volunteer team, but we are on call 24/7.
|Coastguard recovery of an unconscious climber hanging in his harness - training exercise, June 2016|
Finally, Swanage RNLI took delivery of brand new boat last year - a Shannon class which can operate at twice the speed and over twice the range of the Mersey class it replaced, giving an excellent on the water rescue capability. There's also an inshore 'D-class' boat at Swanage so we are well catered for there.
|Shannon Class 13-13 'George Thomas Lacy' arrived in Swanage in April 2016|
All of this is backed up by the watchful eyes of the National Coastwatch Institute volunteers who monitor the bay and passing vessels from dawn to dusk.
|Members of our Coastguard Team at the NCI's Coastwatch Lookout getting 'eyes on'.|
|Working together - CG Helicopter, Coastguard Rescue Service, RNLI and Police at Studland, August 2016|