Thursday, 31 December 2009
Well its simple Wally is the person who is working tonight starting at 10pm and finishing at 7am tomorrow morning, so on behalf of the rest of the team have a very safe New Years Eve and I hope you can remember the start of the next year!
Happy New Year to all our readers!
Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Well early this year Tom and I were called to a diver in distress who was on a boat next to the pier, I was tasked to jump on board, within a minute it looked like we would have to take the boat out to sea to allow the helicopter to put a winchman on board to pick the chap up. It turned out that the winchman was landed on the pier but for one moment I was going out to sea and I needed a jacket. The bottom line is the situation changes quickly at sea and you need to be prepared.
Take the chaps on fishing boat off Peveril Point last year, they snagged a rock and were pitched into the water. When they came to the surface the boat had gone! Yup in under 3 seconds their boat had just gone. Luckily a yacht saw the incident and Swanage Lifeboat launched and picked them up; the boat was nowhere to be found. Very lucky chaps as they were not wearing lifejackets. When asked they said they were in the lockers and that the life ring was tied to the roof to stop it floating away! (isn’t that the point?) Still at least they went home to their families - but only just.
Often people, be they recreational water users or fisherman, don’t wear lifejackets as they get in the way. Fair excuse, no! If you’ve ever been in the sea drifting for an hour hoping to be picked up (mine was a dive boat skipper fell asleep and forgot about me) it’s a very quiet and lonely place and you get an awful long time to think about family and friends. I had a dive lifejacket . There’s really no excuse for not wearing one.
So stick on a lifejacket, preferably a brightly coloured one, (not a Gucci black one that looks good but no bugger can see!) And equally importantly make sure your crew do too.
Talking of Lifejackets , here’s the November Podcast from the MCA – be warned it’s not very cheery.
Monday, 28 December 2009
After a few cans ( i wasn't on duty) it's time to answer the call of nature. You pop into the little boy's room and steady yourself when you see to the left of you.....
Ian's ugly mug smiling back at you!
It's enough to put you off.
Sunday, 27 December 2009
Saturday, 26 December 2009
Thursday, 24 December 2009
A Merry Christmas to all our readers, families, and colleagues around the country
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
When I called the Coastguard Operations room in Weymouth this morning, they were tasking many Coastguard units after being asked for help by South Western Ambulance (SWAST).
With permission from the Watch Manager at Portland, I decided to deploy the Swanage Mobile with an Ambulance responder in the vehicle to provide the town with Ambulance cover whilst front line vehicles attended the incidents above.
Yet again it shows how the emergency services come together to assist the public if required.
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Sadly there has been mutiny in the ranks caused by none other than the Deputy Blog.....
Text from Gareth " Can we have Christmas music tonight?"
"Excellent we can play this years Christmas Number 1"
Answer "No not that one"
"Stuff u I won't do what u tell me!"
Answer " Remember who is the Station Officer"
"Oh OK then"
Answer " Meeting in the office at 7.10"
Strangely nothing further heard!
Monday, 21 December 2009
Saturday, 19 December 2009
Friday, 18 December 2009
Ian was born in Swanage on the 5th February 1938 and during the service we all learnt some bits about Ian's life.
A carpenter by trade he enrolled in the Coastguard on the 20th March 1968, became the Auxiliary in Charge (now known as the Station Officer) in 1975.
Ian was involved in hundreds of rescues around Swanage, many people owe their lives to Ian's skill and leadership of the team. In 1988 the team received a Chief Coastguard's Commendation for recovering a deceased climber from caves near to Anvil Point, this rescue was lead by Ian who was also the cliff man that day.
After the town flooded Ian lead the other emergency services in helping other people out of their homes, for this and the many years of service to the Coastguard Ian received the British Empire Medal.
After nearly 30 years Ian retired from HM Coastguard in February 1998 and continued his excellent work with the National Coastwatch Institute at Peveril Point.
Personally I owe so much to Ian, without him I don't think I would be the Station Officer today. Yesterday the team carried out their duties so well I was very proud of the team.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
The main man himself for the Coastguard's Children's party held at the station, plenty of party food, tea for the adults with mince pies.
Just a little thank you to the children for putting up with us!
Sunday, 13 December 2009
We introduced the Spike Williamson Memorial Trophy last year as an award to the Coastguard who had done the most/best Coastguardy stuff, this voted on by the team. Austen Rockett was a worthy winner in 2008
Well this year’s winner was......drum roll.....wait for it....more drums....Well this year’s winner was Station Officer IAN BROWN!
This year we fixed it, Jim’ll Fix it style.
Ian doesn’t know this but upon the opening of the new Coastguard station back in February we all decided as a team that we would vote for him as he had worked tirelessly to win the town the new building. Seven years I believe he worked on it.
The voting all got a bit messy last night, as a joke Eric had another wind up going where we voted for him, then people were voting for themselves, and then voting for food on the menu...basically after a couple of beers it all got very messy.
Anyway despite it being a complete fix the right man won it. Well done Ian.
He may yet make it a double! Yes next week’s kit night will see the introduction of the all new “McVities Muncher award” for the person who has put away the most biscuits over the year. In order to keep the anticipation going I would say there are many contenders, Austen, John, Brian and even myself, however I’d be lying to you.
I think we already know who polished all the custard creams off ! - don’t we readers!
Saturday, 12 December 2009
Friday, 11 December 2009
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
We felt the garage had room for this addition feature and with enough points saved on the Nectar Card we ordered the all singing and dancing hot tub.
Pictured above the base being prepared
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Our thoughts at this time are with Chris, Christian and Hannah.
So here is a photo of a chap who never eats any biscuits, …..well eating biscuits at 4.37am in the morning.
Above: Ian scoffing biscuits
Joking aside after 3 hours of searching a beach on a cold stormy night you need to keep the energy levels up. However applying the coastguard energy equation calculation:-
Where x is constant and cc=Custard Cream, R=Russian, T= Tea.
Resulting in Y, namely the number of hours that Ian could sustain a search based on the energy in kcalories that he derived from the biscuits eaten.
Now, I’m no mathematician or dietician, or even beautician, but from my reckoning Ian consumed a minimum of nine custard creams which when applied to the above formula demonstrates that he had enough energy to continue searching for at least another nine days. It also demonstrates he is not to be trusted around biscuits.
One further finding from our investigation is that I will now be sweeping the vehicle bay for the next 2 months.
Monday, 7 December 2009
Sunday, 6 December 2009
In the station we have a large poster of Waldorf and Statler, basically if any one has any gripes (much like the two muppet characters who are always complaining and moaning) they are put up on a post it note and then attached to the poster.
This is a prompt to discuss the grievance at the next session. They tend to be ‘No muddy boots on in the training room’. ‘Someone left the vehicle light on’ and “Who ate all the biscuits”.
So Waldorf and Statler have nothing to do with Terry and Tom; other than the passing resemblance.
Saturday, 5 December 2009
I’m so dead for this.
“But this isn’t very ‘Coastguardy’?!” I hear the reader cry.
Well it is sort of, more later of how Waldorf and Stadler do actually play a part!
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Well rather than the two IRT (Initial Response Team) Members being paged, the full 12 person team is called. The pagers give a very loud audible tone or beep, followed by a voiceover from Portland Ops, Room. One minute you are asleep the next there is a loud beep and a man (who may as well be standing by your bed) saying “Full Team Page- Swanage!”, which is a little disconcerting at in the early hours. Everyone makes a quick telephone call to the ops room to get brief details and the rendezvous point for the team, normally the Coastguard Station. Kiss goodbye for the loved ones and out the door,
The first person at the station unlocks, sorts out the alarms, opens the vehicle bay doors and gets the truck out. He then makes a call to the ops room to say he is on station and starts taking down the full details of the shout – locations, type of incident, numbers of person, weather conditions. As the team turn up at the station they start kitting up with their personal protection equipment (PPE) helmets, coats, boots, radios, etc etc… The Coastguard Rescue Vehicle is then equipped with any extra equipment that we made need depending on the job. This could be torches, search bags, the cliff trailer. Meanwhile calls are being made to team members who may not have heard there pagers; if we can’t raise enough a call is made for backup in the form of the St Albans Team.
The officer in charge – normally Ian or Austen then give a quick briefing of the tasking and the risks and we set off. All in all we can be out of the station in around 8-10 minutes (on a good day) from the actual pager being activated. On the journey cliff harness are put on, torches checked, and more calls made both radio and mobile to ensure the team all meet at the same point.
On scene, a sit-rep call to ops room, another quick briefing and we start work proper.
Monday, 30 November 2009
“Swanage Mobile, Swanage Mobile, This is xxx: - Is that you driving along the beach? Over”.
After a slight delay to compose himself.
“xxx, xxx, this is Swanage Mobile:- Affirmative - we’re the ones with the blue flashing lights. Over” – Austen said without a hint of sarcasm.
We then both burst out laughing as we were the only vehicle on what was a deserted beach at 03:30am, so it was obviously going to be us. The fact that we were lit up like a Christmas tree made this funnier. To be fair, xxx, only wanted to check a position and relay a message.
Five minutes later and Karma had its revenge for our meanness. I forded a small stream at speed which led to the binoculars sliding across the dashboard and hitting Austen ‘in the lap’. He was in the middle of a radio communication with Ian (Swanage Alpha) and the shock of the binoculars hitting him meant he let out a ‘naughty word’. Luckily he had let go of the radio button so it didn’t get broadcast. Just to check he called Ian back
“Swanage Alpha, Swanage Alpha, This is Swanage Mobile, – did you get my last?” Squeaked Austen in a high pitched voice.
On another subject.
Who’s been caught eating biscuits again? Photos this next week.
Sunday, 29 November 2009
The first job when getting to the station, sorry make that the second after putting the kettle on is to check the post box......yes a small pleasure as we never had one at Peveril Point, normally the small pleasure is over taken by disappointment as no one every writes however to day there was a letter!
Ripping it open thinking someone loves us it was from our great friends "Southern Electric", remember the company that took along time to put the electric into the new building.
Sadly it wasn't a nice letter but one to say they are sending a bailiff in to cut the power off as we haven't paid a bill.
Now I know Southern Electric put the cables into the building, but I have been told that they don't supply us with electricity its another company and there has been a lot of work up at estates to explain this to them.....that worked then!
So if anyone has any candles we can borrow we would be grateful oh and if we don't turn up to an incident then we are sorry but our pager repeater wont be working.
Thanks Southern Electric, Oh by the way its nice to know that your office only works Monday to Friday, some of us don't.
Saturday, 28 November 2009
Our Sector Manager, Pip, and Station Officer, Ian, argued that the Swanage Team should retain flares for use, notably to aid in the large number of searches we have.
The ‘Russian Ferry Jumper Hoax’ incident the other day was a prime example. As we started the search the information given was that there might be up to three people in the water. During the night the team fired half a dozen para-illuminate flares – a parachute flare that lights up the sky as if it was daylight for up to a minute depending on weather conditions.
These are VERY effective bits of kit and allow us to scan a wide area quickly. Perhaps more importantly it tells a casualty who may have given up all hope that we are there for them, often prompting calls for help.
The indecent the other day proves that the decision by Coastguard HQ to allow us to continue to use pyrotechnics was a good one.
Apparently most injuries are due to ‘slipping and tossing’….and before anyone starts these were the exact terms used by HQ.
We have been asked not to toss kit at each other as invariably the ‘catchee’ gets injured when they drop a catch.
We then had a team discussion as to who the biggest 'slipper' was.
Friday, 27 November 2009
However despite being up for 5 hours some people just couldn't sit still and went to sweep the car park!
Thursday, 26 November 2009
It would appear that the chap is Spanish, and may have made the whole story up. Why he was wearing a wetsuit under his clothes, and why he chose to fabricate a story is still under investigation. One thing the scenario did clearly demonstrate was the ability of HM Coastguard and RNLI to put a rescue plan into action so quickly.
We often forget the operations room (Ops Room) who yesterday morning played a blinder in the co-ordination of a large number of search units with constantly changing information; much which was conflicting. It gives the teams on the ground (and sea/air) real confidence. Well done Portland Coastguard Ops Room.
I'm sure Ian will have more to say on this subject.
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
The search teams were out in the dark and cold getting lashed by rain and wind, a very stormy night all in all. Meanwhile Austen and I had the onerous task of sitting in the vehicle, warm and dry.
At one point it was so damn hot in the vehicle (32 degrees in fact) that it started to melt the bag of chocolate mini eggs that Austen had brought along. Acting immediately we had to turn off the heaters and open the windows. We then ate the mini eggs.
It was good to see that the rest of the team appreciated the difficulties that Austen and I had to endure. Brian was particularly understanding, commenting that he was glad we hadn’t got too warm and dry. Well at least that’s what I thought he said…..to be fair it was difficult to hear as we drove past him standing there gesticulating alone in the rain and the wind.
No doubt next time we will be on foot, while Brian drives by serving up a warm slice of Coastguard Humour!
So what were the Swanage Coastguard team up to at 1:10am?....well at this time we were all tucked up in our nice warm beds, asleep.
Five minutes later and a full team page was instigated; the tasking – the search and rescue of a number of persons believed to have jumped off the ‘Barfleur’ Cross Channel Ferry into the sea. The Poole Coastguard Team, East Dorset Sector Manager, and Rescue Helicopter 104 were also tasked, along with the RNLI Swanage Lifeboat and Poole Lifeboat.
At the time of tasking a foreign national had been found on the Studland Chain Ferry, it was apparent that he had been in the sea. The person was taken to hospital and subsequently arrested by Police.
Throughout the night the information changed rapidly and it would be fair to say that given the appalling conditions we considered that the chances of survival of any persons in the sea were low. The strong tides in the area also meant that the area of search was extensive and over time this area increased. After an exhaustive search of the shoreline from South Beach, Studland to the Chain Ferry, the Swanage Team regrouped at the Coastguard Station ready for a ‘first light’ search.
At around 5.30pm we were advised that the picture had become slightly clearer with regard the number of persons involved and the teams were stood down.Readers will understand that due to operational reasons we are unable at this stage to report all the details. Perhaps more later.
MCA - News
Other News sites.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Monday, 23 November 2009
Not much going on in this part of the world as far as Coastguard is concerned (thankfully) but I'm sure you are aware the weather is remaining unsettled for the week. With the heavy rain rivers remain high and we ask everyone takes care near rivers and flooded areas.
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Between 9.00am and 11.00 the Chain ferry between Studland and Sandbanks will be out of service for the public.
During this time the ferry is being used for a training exercise for the emergency service and other maritime services.
Sorry for any inconvenience in advance.
Friday, 20 November 2009
Having worked nights, events were monitored on sky news and I take my hat off to all the emergency services involved in such dangerous conditions, lifeboat crews working along side the Coastguard and Fire teams, a Coastguard truck towing a lifeboat to the scene, usually the sea but in this case a flooded high street where buildings and signage caused even greater hazards.
Helicopter crews working just above roofs plucking flooded house holders to safety, over 200 people brought to safety.
Then sadly at lunchtime news came of a Police Officer losing his life when a bridge collapsed, our thoughts are with his family and colleagues.
With more bad weather approaching the UK, we urge everyone to monitor information from the news, weather and environment agencies.
Thursday, 19 November 2009
"Watching" is a huge part of the Coastguard role, and yes the author of the thank you was correct in saying that education would be a good idea in those conditions as there was several inexperienced surfers out in conditions which were extreme .
Where we can, we talk to the various groups of people pointing out various local issues and "request" they wear the correct safety equipment however we can not stop people doing something (in certain situations the police may be able to help us if an individual is putting other peoples lives in danger but this is a very rare).
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
The other day I was saying.....
"Nice to see people braving the elements and to be fair to the surfers they all seemed to know what they were doing and were not taking any unnecessary risks. "
Well here's two doughnuts taking unnecessary risks. A one way ticket to Broken-Legsville!
Monday, 16 November 2009
Every now and then a policy has to be changed and the Remembrance Parade was clearly time for a review on the clothing policy.
Up to now we have had a policy on Station that you have to do at least 5 years service to obtain a jacket.......Yes that was fine until you realise that you're the only one that doesn't have one!
Sadly Brian missed his jacket by a matter of months and the parade just didn't look right.
Sorry Brian.........we will get it sorted for next year.
An article in the Mail by Richard Littlejohn caught my eye.
"An 11 mile coastal footpath, built at a cost of £30,000 by the Rotary Club to allow ramblers to enjoy the scenery along Loch Ryan , near Stranraer, has fallen foul of elf'n'safety. Dumfries and Galloway Council officials fear hikers may slip and graze their knees. They are also worried that the route goes through a field of cows.
It gets sillier. Elf'n'safety is so concerned that someone might fall in the loch and drown, they are insisting that a lifeguard has to be present at all times.
The Council will allow organised groups to use the footpath only if they are supervised by a 'trained outdoor specialist' - what ever that is.
When they are not finding out what people enjoy doing and thinking up way to ban it, these maniacs are capable of turning any innocent pleasure into a job-creation scheme.
Next thing, they'll be demanding handrails on every hillside. How long before they insist that everyone has to wear a hard hat and a high-viz lifejacket before they're allowed to venture into the countryside?
Now being fair, I'm sure there is another side to this story (any official from Dumfries and Galloway council like to comment?) but could this lead to such events happening in the Purbecks?
6ft fences along the cliff edge, a 'wear the proper shoe' course for those wishing to use the coast path, wearing a giant zorbing ball just in case you do trip, lifeguards every 30 feet....just the start?
In 19 years I've been to many incidents, some accidents "Acts of God" and some through the stupidity of the individual, in my book when you step out the front door to take part in an activity you need to take something with you......personal responsibility rather than rely on a person or sign telling you something is dangerous?
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Then having been away for a week I thought I better check the station, and found this strange scene on the floor in the garage, had the team being playing cluedo whilst I have been away?
One thing for sure, whilst we wait for a little bit of the floor to be done, our kit boxes have been muddled up and this could explain the clothing all over the place.
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Apparently some surfers were getting into difficulty in Durlston Bay. CROs Curtis and Kitching attended to find a big, bad sea and about 30 surfers enjoying some impressive waves. With a strong rip current potentially pushing surfers onto the rocks a watch was maintained for about 2 hours until all surfers came ashore.
Nice to see people braving the elements and to be fair to the surfers they all seemed to know what they were doing and were not taking any unnecessary risks.
Looked fun, if a little chilly, and it was nice that the surfers understood and appreciated that HM Coastguard weren't there to spoil fun, but to watch out for them; it was also nice to thanked.
I've just looked out of the window and the radio mast on the station is swaying! Which is good in a way because if it was rigid it probably would have already snapped!
It's reasonably quiet in town, but we may put a patrol out later in order to respond if necessary.
Meanwhile Terry sends his regards, his message to me reads...
"Tenerife is calm, 80 degrees outside my lingerie shop and I aint coming back!"
You fibber Terry, we know you're at home fitting a kitchen.
Friday, 13 November 2009
A weather warning has just been issued by the Met Office at 17.35
There will be heavy rain at times and gusts of wind of up to 75 knots!
We suggest that unless you really need to go out, stay in doors tonight.
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
In the other room were the less exciting HM Coastguard white shirts- although these also have a logo on them.
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Apparently they call their helicopters, planes and boats ‘Units of Intervention’, with the boast known as ‘Fast Intervention Vessels’ or ‘Salvamares.’
Saturday, 7 November 2009
Friday, 6 November 2009
Last night being the 5th November a patrol headed out to monitor fireworks around the patch, sadly the 5th November sees a large number of maritime flares being used instead of fireworks and this can lead to problems when fired near to the coast.
So with firework parties tonight and Saturday, please don't fire your old flares, rescue units could be sent out wasting time and money.
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Wytch Farm? what is that a large farm? Yes there is a farm there but its BP's Wytch Farm gathering station, IE where BP pump oil out the ground and send it off for processing.
Tomorrow is an exercise to test the emergency services and see if the "plan" goes right.
This year is the 1st year that Coastguard ground units have been invited as its been identified that during an incident the heath might need to be evacuated so that's our role to be tested!
So if you hear the emergency alarms at 09.00 tomorrow morning its a test (I hope)
Monday, 2 November 2009
My mid afternoon siesta.....(his usual) after a bottle of cold San Miguel on the balcony was rudely interrupted by the Tenerife Coastguard ripping out of the harbour to rescue a yacht.
What it didn't say was he decided not to go down and collect details when they returned !!
Meanwhile I noticed that the "pirates" off Somali claimed they were "Coastguards !" well clearly Coast guarding around the World is different, but those passing Dancing Ledge should feel safe as we are not those sort of Coastguards but the ones that rescue people in distress, not cause distress!