Friday, 30 June 2017

The Show Must Go On

At 9.00pm this evening, Portland SAR Helicopter base will close its doors one final time and decades of SAR operations from Portland will come to an end.

You will read in the local press all about the rescues that the flight has performed in its time, you will read about the professionalism of the crews and you will read that SAR operations will be hampered by this move.

Rescue 106 from Portland lowers its paramedic winchman near Anvil Point, Oct 2016
We would echo the praise that has been heaped on the crews over the years, and it has been a pleasure to work with them all. However, its worth setting the record straight how incidents will be managed in Swanage from now on.

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

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

We salute you

At 21.00 on Friday the search and rescue flight at Portland closes after many years service, saving many lives.

We would like to say a massive thank you to the crews of the various helicopters that have served us so well at Portland.

We salute you.

Coastguard/ Rescue 106

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Why why why?

We had a late night, multi agency search on Thursday night for a local man who'd gone missing.

One of our SCOOs attended to oversee the operation, and at its conclusion, returned to Dorchester at 2.00am.

Shortly afterwards, someone did this and stole some equipment from inside.

Why,  why, why?

Emergency services save lives!

Friday, 23 June 2017

Missing Male located safe and well

Dorset Police have just confirmed that Barry Cullimore has been located safe and well tonight in Cumbria.

The Police would like to thank everyone for their assistance in the search.

Two major searches in 48 hours

The volunteer coastguard team have had two very long nights in the last 48 hours.

On Wednesday evening the team backed up by the St Albans Coastguard team were tasked to assist Dorset Police in searching for a person in the dunes at Studland.

Sadly during the search a body was located in the dune area North of Knoll Beach.

On Thursday night both teams were tasked again to assist Dorset Police in the Dancing Ledge area to search for a local missing man.

The Coastguard teams searched the cliff tops whilst both Swanage Lifeboats carried out a sea search.
DORSAR members carried out inland search.

At 1am, teams were stood down having searched the area but not locating the missing male.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Team called to over loaded speedboat

The team were out driver training last night when they were tasked to meet both Swanage RNLI Lifeboats.

Both lifeboats were tasked to assist 14 people in a speed boat off Ballard.

None were wearing lifejackets in an overcrowded speedboat trying to get back to Poole.

The lifeboat brought the 14 back to Swanage to the waiting Coastguard team , but despite efforts none of the 14 wanted to engage in any conversation or listen to any safety advice.

In this hot weather our advice is

Don't put yourself or others at risk - wear lifejackets

Know how to contact the Coastguard in an emergency - 999 or via VHF Ch 16.

Don't mix boating and alcohol.

Never overload your boat.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Bella takes a tumble

The Swanage team were tasked to the Downs in Swanage for ''Bella' who had gone down the cliff about 60 feet yesterday afternoon.

The team carried out an immediate rescue deploying a rope technician to secure the dog from falling any further. There was concerned the owner was with the dog and that's the reason for the rapid deployment of the team.  Thankfully the dogs owner had gone to the NCI lookout to report the dog and walked along the beach to find where it was.

The St Albans Coastguard team were called to support the Swanage team and assisted in recovering the technician and the dog to the top of the cliff.

All were reunited at the top of the cliff and Bella received no injuries


Thursday, 15 June 2017

Continued Development

The rope technicians headed off to Burnbake last week to carry out some rope training.
Thanks to Steve and Emma of Vertex, the team were allowed to use their ropes course which allowed us to practise in a nice safe Environment.

Practising recovering a casualty.

Allan popped along to join in the training

We were able to practise many of our techniques in a safe and quiet location.


Sunday, 11 June 2017

Awesome weekend in Swanage

What a weekend in Swanage ,

Not only the fish festival but also paddle boarding.

Really great weekend for many and we were there too !

This was the national championship - conditions were a challenge.

Off they headed towards Ballard

The team on PR

Out little display

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Fish Festival and a couple of incidents

So the team headed off to Prince Albert Gardens today for the Fish Festival and meet the public.

Meanwhile in the bay the National Paddleboarding Championships were taking place.

Just before 5pm the team were made aware of a possible safety issue at the boat park concerning a 25ft motor boat. On arrival a boat was found to be going round in circles but managed to get along the slipway.

One of the Coastguard functions is to offer advice and in this case some strong word of advice about the craft and more importantly safety equipment were given.

Returning to PAG, the team were made aware of two over due walkers and were tasked to meet Police for further details. Having establish the two set off from Lulworth this morning at 8.45, they hoped to have arrived in Swanage by 16.00. With two hours gone past and many attempts to call on a mobile the emergency services were contacted.

The full team were tasked along with Lulworth Coastguard to start searching. Five minutes into the search a Coastguard search team located the pair near to the Castle. Both were fine and had taken a different route than planned which took longer than expected.

This incident was very close to the training exercise carried out by the team this week!!

Swanage Fish Festival

Today sees the start of the Swanage Fish Festival at Prince Albert Gardens.

Come down and see us ( subject to commitments) along with many other stalls and displays including cookery demostrations.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Team carry out search exercise

The team headed out to Durlston last night to carry out a search exercise.

Weather conditions made conditions a little more realistic for the team as they searched for " Heather Gorse" a walker who had got lost with her walking party.

Briefing and search plan being given

A difficult search checking the undergrowth.

Keeping a line is difficult when there are obstructions in the way

"Heather Gorse " located with a broken leg taking shelter in a hedge.

First aid given and a short carry out.


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Training at PAG (Prince Albert Gardens)

The team headed to a slightly different location last night for training.

Prince Albert Gardens ( PAG) is just above the pier and will be the site for the Fish Festival in just over a week were the team will be carrying out a small demonstration on the Sunday.

Slightly different location for training which kept those enjoying the evening sunshine entertained.