Tuesday, 4 December 2018

The 4th Emergency Service

Returning from a tasking earlier in the week, the team came across a young female with a puncture to her car tyre.

Without hesitation the team stopped to help and soon had the wheel  changed and got the lady on her way.

It was definitely easier with Steve there as when he's not Coastguarding he runs Swanage Tyres, the local tyre centre!  Go and see him and get your own tyres checked before the winter sets in.  He also does batteries and servicing too.  On the industrial estate,  left hand side - you can't miss it.

Wasn't it the AA who coined the '4th Emergency Service' tag? Not this week  they weren't!

Fault Line

The team was out yesterday, responding to a silent call from the emergency phone at Anvil Point.

The phone has no dial but goes straight through to HM Coastguard at the National Maritime Operations Centre whenever it is activated.

Despite a search of the area from Tilly Whim to Cattle Troughs, no one could be found who may have made the call, and when a second call rang in the NMOC, it became apparent that the phone may well be faulty.  Inspection of the cable showed signs of damage, so this was reported to the Country Park and the team stood down.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Slip watch

It’s that time of year when we see the wet weather cause some cliff falls and slips.

These are all active and out advice is to keep clear.

In an emergency call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Depression, Angst and Support

In recent times the team has seen a sharp rise in the number of  'concern for welfare' incidents where despondent individuals are believed to have deliberately put themselves in harm's way, potentially with a view to taking their own lives. 

We have been called to four such cases in the last 10 days all, thankfully, with a successful outcome.

Life can often seem hard, problems build up and things don't make sense and as a team we never judge - we work with partner agencies to bring the person back into a place of safety where they can talk to someone and get some support. 

There's lots of help out there and if you can't talk with friends and family there are folks out there who offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal.

There is help and support available
  • Samaritans offer a 24-hours a day, 7 days a week support service. Call them FREE on 116 123. You can also email jo@samaritans.org.
  • Papyrus is a dedicated service for young people up to the age of 35 who are worried about how they are feeling or anyone concerned about a young person. You can call the HOPElineUK number on 0800 068 4141, you can text 07786 209697 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org.
  • NHS Choices: 24-hour national helpline providing health advice and information. Call them free on 111. C.A.L.M.: National helpline for men to talk about any issues they are feeling. Call 0800 58 58 58.

Monday, 12 November 2018

We did remember them

After yesterday’s incident, some members of the team represented HM Coastguard in the Town’s Remembrance parade.

The team joined several hundred others including veterans , other services and military personal.

We shall remember all those civilian and military you have fallen in the conflicts around the World.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

We Will Remember

The scene at the Station this morning,  11th November.

The Coastguard flag flies in memory of all those who gave their lives in conflict.

The team has just returned from an incident on Swanage Downs which resulted in the safe recovery of a casualty at the cliff edge.

Now to clean the muddy boots in time for the parade this afternoon.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Flood barrier monitoring

The Coastguard team provided eight hours of monitoring and safety cover during both high tides yesterday.

Working along side the Environment Agency and Dorset Police the barrier was monitored with several members of the public asked to move away from the closed section for their safety.

Large waves pounded the parade and along shore road.

During the monitoring of the barrier the team were requested to assist Dorset Police with a concern for welfare. Both Swanage and St Albans Coastguard teams were tasked and searches were carried out on the jetties and pier. As the full teams arrived Police confirmed the incident had been resolved and the teams were stood down.

A final check of the barrier was carried before returning to station around midnight.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Stay safe

A Flood Warning has now been issued for tonight high tide around 9pm in Swanage Bay

The lower high street and part of the square has been closed and this will include some footpaths tonight.

Please respect those closures , they are done for a reason which includes safety.

The large dump bags that form the flood barrier are a trial rather than the previous 700 sandbags that were used. Partner agencies are looking at a long term solution.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Flood Barrier installed

After events on Wednesday morning and with another approaching storm due on Friday a decision was made to put a temporary flood barrier to protect properties in the lower high street.

Strong gale force winds are due and with a high tide there could be overtopping of waves.

Partner agencies including County , Town and District Councils, Environment Agency , HM Coastguard , DWFRS and Dorset Police have worked together to get the barrier installed.

During high water on Friday , Coastguard Officers will be on duty to monitor the barrier and ensure public safety.

Please take care and keep clear from any flooded areas.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Early Morning Flooding

The team was tasked early on Wednesday after high tides, strong winds and rain combined to overtop the Stone Quay and flood the lower High Street.
The team provided safety cover for Town Council operatives and passers by and implemented a temporary road closure until police arrived and liaised with the appropriate authorities -  owing to the amount of rocks and debris being thrown into the road.  With 'eyes on', we were also able to provide a commentary to our colleagues at the Environment Agency.
Further high tides and weather warnings give the potential for further flooding on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Call to Old Harry

The team have been called this afternoon to assist SWASFT with a mountain biker who had fallen from their bike.

The local male was heading down to Old Harry from Ballard when he fell from his bike. Some passerby’s assisted until the services arrived.

The Coastguard team assisted in transporting the injured male and paramedic to the ambulance.

During the incident the team briefly assisted a second casualty again assisting with the ambulance service.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Broken Leg at Dancing Ledge

The team were tasked to Dancing Ledge on Wednesday to a report of a person with a broken leg.

Both Swanage and St Albans teams were tasked along with a Ambulance first responder.

The male who had been coasteering at the Ledge had managed to get out of the water and to safety. The teams assisted in transporting the male back to a vehicle for onward transport to hospital.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Overdue Climbers

The team was back in action this morning at the request of Dorset Police who had concerns for the welfare of two climbers not seen or heard from since Monday.

The climbers' car was located at Durlston Country Park and so a search area was drawn up between the Eastern and Western mile markers.  Some personal equipment was soon located in the Boulder Ruckle area and so whilst some team members made for that spot, others took positions further along the cliffs where they were able to get 'eyes on' the climbs in that area.

Before long the climbers were sighted slowly making their up the Marmolata Buttress climb and were met by Coastguards at the top.
The team could see the climbers making their way back up Marmolata Buttress, the large outcrop in the centre of the picture. The photo was taken from the very spot we'd trained at on Sunday in an exercise to recover stuck or injured climbers!

Although cold, the pair were fine despite having spent the night in the elements and they were soon on their way back to their car.

It seems that the climbing routes were busy yesterday so they had abseiled in using someone else's rope which was already in place.  By the time the pair were ready to go home, the other abseil rope had been removed from above and the climbers found themselves tired, cold and stuck at the bottom of the cliff.  Rather than try to risk climbing out last night the experienced pair set off this morning using gear to set up a safety line as they progressed in the absence of a rope from above.
Once the team was happy that the climbers were safe and well, we stood down and returned to station.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Show and Tell

Our October exercise took place on Sunday morning and involved a joint session with Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue's Technical Rescue Team from Poole.  We were also joined by our colleagues from Southbourne Coastguard (our nearest rope rescue neighbours to the East) and together the teams carried out rope rescue recovery of a dummy 'casualty' from the cliffs at Anvil Point.
Fire & Rescue have similar systems to ours, but not totally the same, and the idea behind the exercise was to become familiar with each other's methods, systems and equipment for times of joint emergency working.
A really useful morning with some bright autumn sun, and plenty of wind to blow the cobwebs away!

Monday, 22 October 2018

Rescue teams tasked to cliff incident

Coastguard teams , RNLI crews , Ambulance personnel , Police and the Rescue helicopter from Lee on Solent were tasked to near the Western Mile Markers to a report of a person fallen from the cliff.

A group of climbers had called 999 Coastguard just as they were about to start a climb.

On arrival a male was located at the base of the cliff but sadly confirmed deceased.

Coastguard Rescue Officers were lowered down the cliff to assist lifeboat crew members in the difficult extraction and hand over to the Police.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Volunteering for the community

Coastguard Rescue Officers are all volunteers who when called respond to emergencies.

Whilst the Coastguard Service is a Government Agency the feet on the ground at about 300 stations around the country including Swanage are all volunteers.

In our team we have two trainers , a business advisor , a painter , a night porter, teacher , two business owners , a plant operator , a university student and youth leader. Some would say a big mix of skills but that’s what makes a team.

So it was nice this week to receive letters from two people involved in incidents during the last month thanking the teams for their service especially one for a medical emergency who is recovering well.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Teams tasked to St Albans Head

Both St Albans and Swanage Coastguard teams were tasked to St Albans head this afternoon to a 66 year old having a medical episode.

First aid was provided until an ambulance crew arrived. The Coastguard helicopter Rescue 175 had been tasked and landed nearby to evacuate the lady to hospital.

Swanage Coastguard Rescue Vehicle with Rescue 175

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Two divers airlifted

During the search on Sunday , Solent Coastguard took several 999 calls reporting a person in the water at Winspit.

Search assets were diverted and found two divers in the water struggling in the current.

The pair were airlifted by the Coastguard rescue helicopter and landed with the St Albans Coastguard team at St Albans Head.

Neither divers required medical treatment and were returned to their car near spyway barn.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Search Update

The body of a man and his kayak have been recovered from the water this afternoon 22 nautical miles south of Tyneham.

On Sunday 7 October 2018 following an extensive search coordinated by HM Coastguard, the man – believed to be 60-year-old Alistair Collier – was located in the water alongside his kayak by the coastguard fixed wing aircraft and recovered from the water by HMS Tyne and transferred to Poole Hospital by coastguard helicopter.

The search began yesterday afternoon, Saturday 6 October 2018, when race organisers raised the alarm after the man failed to finish a race, which was running between Knoll Beach and Swanage Pier.

An extensive search was carried out yesterday, overnight and throughout today with RNLI lifeboats from Swanage, Poole, Yarmouth, Mudeford, Bembridge and Weymouth, along with Coastguard Rescue Teams from Swanage, St Albans, Kimmeridge and Lulworth and Dorset Police. Coastguard helicopters from Lee-on-Solent, St Athan and Newquay searched overnight and the coastguard fixed wing aircraft was brought in this morning as the search area widened.

Formal identification has not yet taken place, but Alistair’s family have been informed and the coroner has been notified.

We would like to thank everyone who assisted in the search and who has shared the appeal.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Team assist air ambulance

The team assisted the Dorset and Somerset air ambulance this evening at King George’s field.

The crew required access to the field to allow the ambulance near the aircraft.

The team opened up the barriers and assisted with the casualty transfer before securing the field to allow the helicopter to take off.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Early morning call to the pier

The team were called just after 7 am to meet a yacht with a female on board suffering from chest pains.

On arrival at the pier the team provided first aid until the ambulance crew arrived. Having assessed the casualty a decision was made to take her to hospital for further treatment.

The team assisted with the transfer from yacht to pier and then to the ambulance.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Happy Retirement

After 49 years of service , today is the last serving day for Station Officer John Bugler from St Albans Coastguard.

We would like to pay tribute to John and take a moment to say a big thank you for many years of friendship and advice.

At 23.59 tonight, John steps down and hands over to his son Ian.

Both team were tasked yesterday to a person with a possible broken ankle somewhere between Winspit and Seacombe. Despite looking for an hour a further call confirmed the injured person had managed to get to hospital for treatment.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Search at Old Harry

Several Coastguard teams were tasked on Friday to support Dorset Police with a high risk missing persons search.

The team were sent to search Old Harry whilst colleagues searched around Sandbanks.

The missing male from the Swanage area was not located around Old Harry and the search area moved more towards Bournemouth so Swanage team were stood down.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Good luck Bouncer

Today we say good bye to PCSO Iain Leslie aka Bouncer.

Iain has served the area for over 10 years and involved in many joint incidents.

So we take a moment and raise our glass with a massive thank you.

The good news is that’s he’s off to become a Police Officer so maybe he might be back one day.

Last night the team were on exercise and treated Iain to a bit of rope training.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Another week in the Coastguard world

The patrol headed out early yesterday to support the marathons being run along the Purbeck Coast.

Having seen about 500 competitors through Anvil Point they headed to Studland where they were flagged down to a person having chest pains.
With an Ambulance on the way they provided first aid until it arrived.

Earlier in the week the team were called to Dancing Ledge after some clothing was located on one of the ledges. Joined by colleagues from St Albans the area was searched but nothing further was located or anyone reported missing.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Two searches and a dislocated shoulder

A busy 48 hours for the team starting with a search on Wednesday evening at Studland for a concern of a female reported walking into the sea.

Joined by colleagues from the RNLI in Swanage, the team searched the beach whilst the two Lifeboats searched the training bank.

After searching for over an hour no one was located after reports the female was seen getting the chain ferry back to Sandbanks.

On Thursday afternoon the team were tasked to assist the Ambulance service under the Pines hotel with a 17 year old student who had dislocated their shoulder. Due to the location the team requested assistance from the Swanage RNLI inshore lifeboat to transport the casualty to a better location to meet the ambulance.

The team were again tasked around 8pm to a report of a female walking into the sea at Studland. The Coastguard were joined in the search by both Poole Lifeboats , Dorset Police and the Coastguard helicopter. The description of the lady matched the lady from the previous night but no one had seen her come back out or get back on the ferry. Search assets searched from the chain ferry to South beach for nearly 3 hours before the lady was located safe and well returning on the chain ferry by one of the Coastguard teams.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Call 999 rather than post on social media

Whilst we live in a modern era with social media , please remember that the only official way to get the Coastguard is to dial 999.

This morning ‘a Post ‘ about a boat washed up was seen by an off duty team member who contacted the Coastguard Operations Centre.

The team were sent to make enquiries in case anyone was missing. Thankfully it was soon established the boat had come off mooring.

Don’t delay - always call 999, someone’s life could be at risk

Friday, 31 August 2018

Canoeist in difficulties at Studland

A female canoeist practising rescue techniques off Middle Beach saw the team along with both Poole Lifeboats tasked to assist.

On arrival the lady was found ashore safe but needed some medical treatment.
The teams were joined by ambulance crews who treated and took her to Poole hospital.

Shortly after a child was treated for a cut foot at Knoll Beach and then the team searched for the parents of a found child along the beach.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Our new vehicle

So we are a bit late but here is our new vehicle.

A change from the traditional blue and yellow - we went to silver and now the vehicles are white.

The team are getting use to its new functions and where the equipment is stowed

So it was out and about to learn it’s controls and ensure we can access our routes to locations.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Goodbye Nessie

So it all change again at the station with our vehicle “ Nessie” departing from Swanage and was redeployed to Poole.

Having come down from Scotland the vehicle was a temporary one until our new one was completed.

.......so come back tomorrow and see what we have.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Thanks !

You may recall we had a busy Sunday evening recently, including an incident at Studland Middle Beach where an elderly lady had fallen and sustained a nasty gash to the back of her head.

At the time we treated the injury, bandaged it, monitored it and kept the lady warm and in good spirits whilst we liaised with the ambulance service about taking her to hospital (at the same time we were also dealing with a young lad also in some distress with a broken arm further down the beach).
With no ambulance available, the lady was finally assisted from the beach and taken to hospital in our vehicle.

We received a lovely letter from the lady today, thanking us for our kindness and care and wishing us well.

It's great to hear from folks we've helped!

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Training Continues

Even though we are going through a busy spell at the moment, that's no reason not to train.

A few nights ago the team were in the Boulder Ruckle area looking at options  for potential rope rescues in that location

Friday, 17 August 2018

Missing Person at Studland

The team were tasked to Studland just before 5pm to support Dorset Police in searching for a missing 17 year old.

On route to Studland the team were stood down when the person was located safe and well.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Paddleboards at Studland

Just as it was getting dark last night, the team was alerted to a group of 9 paddle boarders potentially in difficulties in Studland Bay; a passing vessel had contacted HM Coastguard with concern for welfare.

Coastguard Rescue Officers (CROs) were deployed to South Beach, Middle Beach and Knoll Beach in an attempt to find the paddleboarders, with another unit going to the higher ground at Old Harry for a better view.

The group was soon spotted; all appeared to be in order and they were tracked back towards Knoll Beach where they were met by the team there.

As suspected, everything was fine and the group had just been out for an evening paddle to Old Harry and back were never in difficulty.  We did discuss letting HM Coastguard know if they were likely to be out late again or on a route away from the shoreline and we put the incident down as FAWGI - false alarm with good intent.

If you ever see anybody in difficulty or who appears to be in difficulty  on or near the coast then please call 999 Coastguard.  We'd rather be called to a false alarm than miss someone in danger.

Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs) have become a growth leisure activity over the last few years with more and more people taking to the water and we'll be offering some safety advice in a coming blog.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Take Two!

In an almost carbon copy of Friday's incident, the team was tasked back to Winspit today to help SW Ambulance with the extraction of a 13 year old boy who'd twisted, and possibly dislocated his knee on the rocks.

Working with St Albans CRT, and under the watchful eye of the paramedic,  the team soon had the  boy on the stretcher and, using some of the rope rescue equipment as a security measure, carried the stretcher to a place where the boy could be safely transferred to the waiting ambulance.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Dancing Ledge Incident

Rescue teams were tasked to Dancing Ledge yesterday afternoon to a report of a Male with a serious head injury pulled out of the sea.

Both Swanage and St Albans Coastguard teams were tasked along with both Swanage RNLI Lifeboats.

Conditions at the time were rain showers , heavy sea swell and strong winds.

The teams arrived to find the group on the cliff top having got out of the water. One male had suffered an asthma attack in the water whilst another had a possible broken hand and leg injuries received whilst get the first casualty out the water.

Both casualties were transported for urgent ambulance care at the top of Dancing ledge and then to Poole hospital.

Both Lifeboats remained on station and assisted in radio communications which are difficult in the area.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Landslips warning

Around the country in the last week there have been some large landslips sadly with a fatality.

The weather has been been very dry and now with some heavy rain this may see further cliff / landslips.

So advice has been given out painter agencies across Dorset.

Saturday, 11 August 2018


Both Swanage and St Albans Coastguard Rescue Teams were tasked yesterday afternoon to assist SW Ambulance with a male who'd fallen and injured himself at Winspit.

Winspit is a disused quarry on the cliffs near Worth and until around 1940 was used to quarry stone, providing material for buildings in London. During World War II it was used as a site for naval and air defences. After the war the caves were opened to the public and today it's popular with walkers, swimmers an climbers.

It was agreed that owing to the nature of the injuries and the remote location, the casualty should be flown to hospital and so Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 175 was summoned. The teams helped make the casualty comfortable and then stretchered him to a more convenient position to load onto the aircraft before it flew to hospital in Dorchester.