Friday, 9 October 2015

Time for a Cuppa?

Kerry led our training this week - a session on vertical rescue, which, different from a cliff rescue, we might use for recovering a person fallen through a hole through a pier or in between rocks in rock armour.

In this scenario, Nick was the technician deployed on the rope, but I can't help thinking he's treating it all a bit casually.
Careful, don't spill it!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Silver Jubilee

Back in 1977, when I was a youngster I remember the celebrations for the Queen's Silver Jubilee.  I didn't really know what it was all about, but I do recall there was a street party in the road outside, my mum bought us a union jack T-shirt, and we had  day off school.

We had a Silver Jubilee of our own yesterday, and although no street parties or days off school (I think I still have the T-shirt) this silver jubilee was equally as important - certainly for our Station Officer, Ian Brown.

Yep, 25 years ago yesterday, a fresh faced young lad, knee high to a grass hopper but sky high with enthusiasm joined the team at Peveril Point as Swanage 196.  Now, as Station Officer and having overseen the move to our new Station at North Beach Car Park, he's still just as full of enthusiasm and just as dedicated although certainly no taller and not quite so fresh faced.

We'll have a look at some of the rescues Ian's been involved in in the coming days (when we can't think what else to write) but for the meantime we couldn't let the occasion slip by unnoticed.

So, from all your friends and colleagues, Congratulations Ian, and thanks for the hours of voluntary service that you have given to the people and town of Swanage.

Swanage 196 on patrol on his first day a long time ago

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Previously on the Coastguard Blog....Flares dumped at Coastguard Station.

I was talking to friend, following the blog on Tuesday, who asked why we don't take old flares and pyrotechnics at the Swanage Station - the simple answer is that we are not equipped to store them safely, and we are in a residential area. 

It reminded me of an incident that we reported 15 July 2012 when a bag of flares was left at the station door. We turned up to the station for training , found the bag, opened the bag, put it down very gently, and walked away very quickly. We had to evacuate the building for a short period while we formed a plan to dispose of them. 

Previous blog below:-

This is one of the flares that was dumped at the Coastguard station this week and caused an incident.
It's against the law to use flares in a non-emergency situation or dump them at sea. You also must not discard them irresponsibly - never:
  • put flares in carrier bags or drop them in general household rubbish or public litter bins
  • leave flares on the doorstep of coastguard rescue equipment stores, sector bases or Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboat houses
  • dump them anywhere where members of the public could come across them
So based on the law above, "the offender" broke all 3 of the above points.  What is really worrying is the state of the flare, its either been close to a heat source or some sort of chemical - what ever it was it could have made it explode.

These flares WILL KILL if used incorrectly.

There are ways to dispose of time expired pyrotechnics correctly, clearly whoever left them couldn't be bothered , instead putting lives at risk by their actions.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Flare on the beach

The team were tasked this afternoon to a report of a flare washed up on the beach at Studland.

A pen is used as a 'gauge' to show the EOD Team the size of the item

A detailed check was carried out as the type of flare couldn't be identified.

Having liaised with an EOD Team the item was transported to the flare collection point at Poole which is at the RNLI college for the Dorset area.


'If you want to hand over time-expired pyrotechnics, like distress flares, for safe disposal you must contact your nearest centre to make an appointment.
RNLI Security Gatehouse
Corner of West Quay Road and Slip Way
BH15 1HZ
Telephone: 01202 336336

Open: Monday–Sunday; 1000–1130 and 1400–1600

Please note they only accept pyrotechnics from recreational water users and disposal is by appointment only so please phone in advance.

When you phone, please be ready to give details of the type, quantity, age and condition of your time-expired pyrotechnics.

It is an offence to dispose of flares at sea or in the general refuse, or to let flares off in a non-distress situation.' (Poole-RNLI)

Wednesday, 30 September 2015


Dolphins are regular visitors to Swanage. They are highly intelligent animals, sensitive to disturbance but can easily be hit.

Dolphin and Calf off Durlston March 2011
Photo: Julian Sawyer

More recent photographs can be found on Julian's Blog - Purbeck Footprints.

If dolphins approach your craft or bowride, maintain a slow speed and course until clear. Dolphins should never be chased or harassed in an attempt to make them bowride. If you are going out on the water, please follow these simple guidelines:-

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, (as amended by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, 2000) it is an offence to kill or injure cetaceans (dolphins, porpoises and whales) or to disturb cetaceans. To do so intentionally or recklessly may result in prosecution. To report such incidents to the Police Marine Section call 101.

If you do see some why not log them online for the Durlston Marine Project .

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Lego Coastguard

Coastguard Bravo was sent this photo of the Coastguard Station at Legoland.

It appears that a watch is being maintained

...although it does appear that a child has been eaten by a shark.

Credit: N Sharpe

Looks like he should do some more training at Lego Coastguard School.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

A pipe , a yacht and an upturned kayak

A mystery item in the cliff had the team paged to investigate.

The possible ordnance had turned up near to Sheps Hollow , thankfully both Steve and Roger quickly identified it as a clay pipe - part of an old drainage system.

Thankfully it was a good call by the member of the public who reported it.

The patrol then went out and monitoring the Coastguard channel heard that there was a possible yacht aground at the entrance to Poole harbour. Being in Studland they proceeded and confirmed the location for the NMOC.

Having just packed away the whole team were paged for a report of a upturned kayak off Ocean Bay, thankfully several members of the team confirmed this was moored and had been there for a while. The team were stood down.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Another form of transport

Having realised the Land Rover wasn't going to fit in the garage and that step up was just too big for some of us - we returned the keys.

We carried on and spoke to some amazing mountain rescue and cave rescue teams that span the country.

Kerry discovered a mountain bike and now wants to set up a Coastguard Bike Response Team.

Roger wasn't quite so sure about that saddle.

So that left just the Station Officer working out how to get home.

Well thanks to this charitable trust who work with Devon and Cornwall Police one of these kit cars will do.

These kits are supplied in Devon and Cornwall to primary and secondary schools.

Well job done - fits in garage and low step in.

Any one seen Kerry and Roger ? Last seen heading south with Roger sat on handle bars?

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Swanage Coastguard on Tour

A delegation from the team headed north to Birmingham this week to the Emergency Services Show at the NEC.

The range of equipment , knowledge and skills is massive and such an opportunity to see what is available.

Of course the team had a mission statement of gather what you can especially if it's free.

Good effort Rog and Kerry who collected the keys to this brand new Coastguard Vehicle which was part of the Coastguard stand - beat my free pen from that other stall !