Friday, 31 May 2019

Assisting Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance

Team members spotted our colleagues from the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance coming into Swanage this morning so deployed to assist.

A diver on the pier had been taken ill and with a possible diving related illness, so  the male was to be flown to the decompression chamber in Poole.

The Air Ambulance " Pegasus" is always a popular sight with the public  but landing in the middle of Prince Albert Gardens requires a clear space so the Coastguard team provided safety cover to ensure the aircraft had a safe operating area.

Due to the down wash from the rotors  the pilot requested the public to be outside the walls so we thank the public for their cooperation for a few minutes.

With the patient flown to Poole , the team liaised with the divers colleagues about the dive which the Dive doctors require for treatment.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Incident at Chapmans Pool

HM Coastguard received a call from a member of the public shortly after 1am saying that a man had come ashore in a small inflatable tender at Chapmans Pool.

The St Albans Coastguard team were tasked to investigate shortly after.

The man explained that his sailing yacht had been wrecked and there was no else on board.  The man was passed into the care of the ambulance service and taken to hospital to be checked over.

The Swanage Coastguard and both Swanage RNLI Lifeboats were tasked to assist in a search of the area and the yacht was found aground on rocks.

Dorset Council and the Environment Agency have been informed along with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's Counter Pollution Team who will continue to monitor the situation.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Sunday Incident

On Sunday 26th May , HM Coastguard coordinated a large search and rescue operation between Dancing Ledge and Hedbury Head, after a large number of people were reported to be in the water in difficulty.

Several reports came into the Coastguard at around 3.30pm on Sunday from members of the public and fishing vessels reporting a group of about 8-10 people in difficulty in the water and shouting for help.

Swanage and St Albans Coastguard Rescue Teams, Swanage RNLI Lifeboats and the Lee-on-Solent Coastguard helicopter were all sent to the area and a number of nearby vessels responded to assist. The South Western Ambulance Service, HEMS and Dorset Police were also on scene.

It is believed the casualties got into difficulty whilst coasteering and it was reported that they had lifejackets on.

Eight people were recovered from the water by the lifeboat and a ninth casualty was recovered to the clifftop by the Lee-on-Solent helicopter.

In total eleven casualties were taken to the nearby boathouse for medical assessment.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Search on Saturday

On Saturday , the Swanage and St Albans Coastguard Teams were tasked to assist Dorset Police for a missing male from Corfe Castle.

Information lead the search to be focused in the Swanage and Acton areas. Teams deployed and covered a wide area checking for the 81 year old.

Working with Dorset Police and NPAS , large areas were checked before moving towards Corfe Castle and north towards Norden.
Roads, tracks and paths were checked whilst NPAS covered the open ground from the air.

After 7 hours of searching the teams were stood down at 2am to rest.

Dorset Police later confirmed the male was located safe and well.

We would like to thank the local community for their support during the search.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Off the Beaten Track

Saturday's patrol re-familiarised themselves with the Heather Walk tracks at Studland which run through the dunes at Studland, linking Shell Bay with the main Knoll Beach visitors area.

If the beach is too crowded for us to drive along, the back tracks give us alternative options for accessing different parts of Studland beach in a hurry.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Sunday Training and an Incident

On Sunday the team headed for some early morning rope rescue training at Old Harry (having first headed to the Stone Quay for some early morning coffee and breakfast!).

Its always good to keep our skill levels up, and during the course of the morning four of our five cliff technicians descended to the water line at the bottom of the cliff and were returned using different methods of recovery.
The Station Officer was first to go over....

......closely followed by the Deputy!

We kept the cliff-top operators and cliff edge safety officer rotated so everyone got to practise different disciplines.

The Cliff-top operators doing their thing!
Part way through the morning we observed a jet ski break down at Old Harry.  We monitored the vessel for over an hour and although the two riders managed to start it, it wasn't right and they broke down several more times as they crossed Studland Bay.  Discussions were taking place with the control room regarding the best course of action to recover the jet ski when it was taken under tow by a passing boat and returned to the shore where it was met by some of the team who had made their way from the training to South Beach.

The jet ski had only just been bought second hand and broke down at Old Harry on its first trip out.  The riders had no radio, no flares, no proper buoyancy aids, no anchor to stop themselves drifting, no collapsible paddle to get out of trouble.  Words of advice were given.

Friday, 17 May 2019


Further to our 'Busy Wednesday' post, we received a nice note to our Facebook page, sent by the gentleman with the injured knee that we assisted at Studland.

Its always good to hear from people we help and nice to be appreciated.  Very often once the casualty is away in the ambulance, that's the last we get to hear.  We wish the gentleman a speedy recovery.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

A busy Wednesday

The team had a busy day on Wednesday starting with a team call out to Studland to support South Western Ambulance with a male with a possible fracture to the knee.

The team provided a stretcher and the personnel to lift the male out on to the beach and on to a National Trust's vehicle.  The vehicle then transported the male to Knoll Beach and to a ambulance.

Later in the afternoon the team were paged again to search for a possible crashed paraglider on Ballard.  The team searched Ballard , the coastal path up from Sheps Hollow and from the Coast Watch Lookout at Peveril but nothing was found.

As the team searched a concern for a person on the cliff edge was reported and checked to ensure the person was ok and away from the edge.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Yacht Aground and RYA SafeTrx

The team was out on Monday morning responding to reports of a yacht washed ashore near the Mowlem.

On arrival, it was evident that the yacht had dragged its mooring from the sailing club area and had blown ashore in the strong Easterly wind.

Two Coastguards kitted up in water rescue responder suits, and, protected by the rest of the team acting as spotters and armed with throwlines, the pair walked out to the vessel to check there was no-one in difficulty on board. 

Having confirmed there was no-one on board, the team checked for any damage and any resulting pollution and then set about trying to find its owner.   A note and phone number on the cabin door led us to a local individual who in turn contacted the owner who attended.

HM Coastguard has a voluntary boat registration scheme whereby owners can their register details and when a boat ends up in difficulty such as this one did, it's easy for the Coastguard Operations Rooms to identify and contact the owner.  Regular sailors may know it as the CG66 scheme, although these days the register is run in conjunction with the RYA and is called RYA SafeTrx.  Why not register your boat now?  It's free and it means we can reach you quicker if we need to get in touch!

Monday, 13 May 2019

Stuck Climber Recovered on Sunday Night

The pagers sounded around 9.15pm on Sunday evening as the team was tasked to climber stuck at the bottom of the cliffs in the Boulder Ruckle area, several hundred metres West of the lighthouse.

Two climbers were involved, and the climber's buddy at the top had attempted to devise a number of solutions himself in order to try and recover his friend who, although totally uninjured, was unable to make his way out.  In the end he decided seek help and used the yellow 999 phone attached to the lighthouse to speak directly to HM Coastguard.  This telephone has no dial and on activation it rings immediately at the HM Coastguard National Maritime Operations Centre.

The team drove as near as was practical and walked in the rest of the way

The team, along with our flank colleagues from St Albans, soon met up with the buddy at the climb location having carried the rope rescue equipment some distance along the coast path and a cliff technician was deployed over the edge to get 'eyes on'.  By now it was dark, and unable to see the casualty and his surrounding terrain clearly, the Swanage Lifeboat was requested to attend to provide illumination and advice from below regarding the best route to approach.

Swanage Lifeboats illuminate the scene
Once on scene, it became clear that the casualty was much nearer the water line than had first been understood, and so it was agreed that the climber should be recovered from his position on a ledge at sea level onto the inshore lifeboat and from there to the Shannon for the journey back to Swanage.

The Coastguard Team remained in postion and monitored the second climber whilst he collected the pair's equipment together and made his way back to the cliff top.

Coastguard Teams stood by with rope rescue kit rigged and ready until the climber's buddy was safely back at the top

Once everyone was accounted for, the pair were reunited with each other and with their car and the team returned to station shortly before midnight.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Late Night Search

The team was paged around half past midnight this morning with concern for the welfare of a missing person, believed to be putting them self in danger along the coast near Swanage. 

Liaising with the police and calling our colleagues at St Albans for back-up, on one of the wettest, windiest nights for weeks the team soon put a plan in place to cover the ground.

The area from Peveril Point to the chalk stack north of Sheps Hollow was divided up and searched whilst another team walked the path from Sheps Hollow to the top of Ballard. Intelligence suggested this could be a key path.  Our 4x4 vehicle was deployed onto the top of Ballard Down and made a number of sweeps from Old Harry to the Obelisk above Ulwell.  It was kept there for quick response in case the individual should suddenly appear at the cliff top threatening harm.

After a couple of hours and the beaches and beach huts thoroughly checked, we started to move the search further South and cover the area from Peveril Point up towards Durlston.

Shortly before 03.00am, the individual made a phone call from the Durlston area and with Police and Coastguard teams making for the area, was soon located cold and wet and was taken into police care.

The 14 volunteers stood down, cleaned and dried equipment back at the station, warmed up with a mug of tea and then returned home.

Monday, 6 May 2019

May Day Weekend

The weather was not as good as the Easter weekend but the team headed out on several  patrols to monitor and check the various key areas of the patch.

Saturdays patrol came across this jellyfish on Studland beach before being tasked to the harbour entrance and a yacht aground.  Working with the harbour master the yacht and its crew were confirmed safe and waited for the tide to return before floating off.

On Monday the track out to Old Harry was being checked when a member of the public flagged the vehicle down and said they were concerned for a party of people on Ballard carrying someone.  The patrol continued up and located a male with a twisted knee being carried by his friends.  With the path down to Swanage very difficult the male was driven down and taken to Swanage hospital to be checked over.