Thursday, 30 April 2009

Kit Night

Just returned from Kit night, Messrs Kitching,Craker,Simmons & Bentham attended to check the equipment whilst I did the end of month returns.

All the kit was checked and the biscuit tin was again passed around to everyone but me!

So I'm not smiling must nearly be a month?

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

More Toys

At Christmas, I got a very special present!

Now the helicopter was meant to be a RAF Sea king, however I've made a few of these so I thought about painting it in Coastguard colours.

Now I know that the Coastguard didn't have "Sea Kings" but my skill level didn't reach to cutting the model in half and extending it to make the correct length. (in simple terms the old Coastguard helicopters were stretched versions of a Sea King).

So it took about 3 weeks, a WH Smith letter set, and some art work on the computer, using a few photos that I have.

Right, next project the Lifeboat.......but don't worry that will be done in the right colours!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009


The work continues in the new station on various projects which we just couldn't do at Peveril Point.

One of these is to assess the old mines,quarries, shafts and caves from Durlston to Dancing ledge, not a small project but one we have started today!

So if anyone has any information regarding the old quarries etc, please do get in touch, we will keep you posted on how our research is going.

Monday, 27 April 2009


Looking at the statistics for the year so far, shows what a different year this has been compared to previous years.

Currently we are 50% down on incidents on last year (15 compared to 30 this time last year).

So what are the reasons for this?

1) Are visitor numbers down ?
2) Has the economic down turn effected what people are doing?
3) Has our accident prevention activities worked?
4) Are we looking in the wrong place?
5) Are the public being good?

Well what ever the reason, its good that no one is getting hurt for a start, the team continue to train hard and engage with the public on many fronts to ensure accident prevention is at its highest.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Coastguard Garden

Whilst the patrol was out today, other team members were busy doing their gardens.

Here Terry shows his skills with garden machinery, this skill must have been developed using the Coastguard winch. Shortly after this photo was taken, the patrol were spotted (not difficult in a bright yellow and blue vehicle and something about my parentage was discussed........!

So we look forward to the summer to see what is grown.....lets hope its legal?

Saturday, 25 April 2009

My Christmas list

I know its only April, but yesterday I was in a toy shop and found this!

So if Santa, or any of my family are reading this.........yes please.

I wonder if the blue lights flash? Anyone got one?

Friday, 24 April 2009

The Great Dorset Beach Clean 2009

Yes folks a very worthy Sunday afternoon activity. The Great Dorset Beach Clean starting 2pm-4pm outside Ocean Bay.

More here:-

More take home a bottle …than bring a bottle!
Come along, a nice easy walk and the bonus of helping our community.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

The 500th post

A little mile stone for us, the 500th post....

I think Deputy Blog wanted something out standing? Well sorry to disappoint, but a little up date on our Co - responder scheme.

We had a meeting with the Ambulance Service today to discover where we were with the project, it seems we are still waiting for the MOU (memorandum of understanding) between the Ambulance & MCA.

Rather frustrating for us, as we are trained and ready to go.....more news soon

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Drum Roll.........500 Up

The next post on this blog is our 500 th !

As Ian is Blog Boss I shall leave it to him to write a very informative and amusing blog...probably running to a number of pages.

No pressure then.

How to put up a rack?

How many Coastguards does it take to put up the new clothing racks?

Well 3 and it was hard work.

Austen and I got to the station to assess the situation, kettle on.

Decide what height to put them at......based on the Station Officer being short, cant put them too high.

Thinking time.......make coffee, eat biscuits!!!!. (But not the Station Officer still serving the ban)

1st one up.......

Mr and Mrs Kitching arrive to assess the situation, Mrs K allows Mr K an hours pass to play.

With the extra person and a tall one at that, the whole process has to be reconsidered.

The jobs as follows.

Gareth, holds up said frame, Austen marks holes and then drills holes, Ian tucks in low and holds the dust pan to catch the grit and slips in the raw plug. Gareth back up with the frame and Austen using the screw driver, drives them in. Mean while Ian back on the printer, printing name tags out. A formula one team would have nothing on this slick team.

Not a bad job, this replaces the 14 coat hooks the team were given, (the team brought the racks themselves). Slightly better for kit and tidies up the station well.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Smart Car - Sandbanks Ferry

The missus phoned this morning to say there was a kerfuddle going on down at the Sandbanks end of the Sandbanks Ferry. Lots of Police cars and a Coastguard Vehicle (Poole Team) and presumably the Sector Manager too!

It would appear someone parked their Smart Car on the slipway and perhaps forgot to apply the handbrake.

Oops. I think everyone is fine apart from the chap at the insurance company who no doubt will be saying “....explain that again?!"

Above:- The MCA Smart Car that was not in the water.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Candle in the wind

We have had another quiet weekend, but colleagues around the country have been busy.

One type of call out that Coastguard's are being called to alot are these "Chinese Lanterns", a paper type balloon with a small candle at the base, light the candle and it floats up in to the sky.
Now many of these are being used for ceremonies or to remember a love one that has passed away, the Coastguard have no problem in this as long as we are told.
Many are being set off along the coast, float up and then down again and can be seen many miles away. People are then calling 999 thinking they have seen a flare and then Coastguard teams are sent to investigate.

So if you are going to use one of these near the coast, please let us know, it saves a lot of time.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

The Plaque

The story behind the mountain rescue plaque......(as told to me so I hope this is right!)
A long long time ago
in a galaxy
far far
....sorry that's another story....

Back in the 70's(ish) there were "rescue posts" around the country, the equipment supplied by regional or local groups as well as the Coastguard and the Police.

Back then rescues were coordinated by both the Police and Coastguard and as time went on the Police handed over the rescues to the Coastguard, at Anvil Point there was one such "rescue post" and when the Police handed over responsibility the "post" was transferred down to the Coastguard station at Peveril Point.

The benefits of these posts were that some equipment was supplied by the regional mountain rescue organisation and for many years the Swanage team were supplied a stretcher until the Coastguard supplied a stretcher in the 1990's. We are not allowed to have equipment supplied by an out side organisation anymore but we still maintain links with our Regional Mountain Rescue association as its a useful forum to share information. When we moved we transferred the plaque (having cleaned it up 1st) and are proud of its history and our links to other units.

Saturday, 18 April 2009


On the Lifeboat blog, John has raised a very interesting blog re the future use of flares in the maritime world.

It is very true that the use of pyrotechnics in the Coastguard have been reduced and this was basically down to two things, safety and cost. On the safety front, there has been a few accidents and even we found on a few occasions that once fired they did go off in all directions! (Ask Dorset Fire & Rescue about a bush on fire on the Downs!!!!)
Cost wise they are not cheap and it was found that most of them were not used and went past their 3 or 4 year shelf life so it was a waste.

With modern technology, pagers replace maroons , and night vision equipment replacing para illuminates.

Having said all that we do still hold a small supply of para illuminates at Swanage due to the number of searches we have had in the past, these will be held until the end of their shelf life and then another decision will be made on what can be used in the future.

Regarding old flares, yes strangely the coastguard will collect out of date ones for the time being (small amounts) but this could change in the near future. If you need any flares collecting please contact a Coastguard Operations Room to arrange collection. Please DO NOT leave them on the door step of a Coastguard Station.

Friday, 17 April 2009

And Training it was

But we didn't go very far, in fact just to the other side of the car park!

Here we are practising what we call "immediate rescue", this is a two man operation, in case the initial response team find someone stuck to the side of the cliff and can not wait for the full team.

Using our standard equipment we can go over the cliff to stabilise the casualty but then have to wait for the full team to recover the cliff technician and the casualty.

Having run through that, it was back to the station for a debrief, tea and biscuits....but not me!

Thursday, 16 April 2009


Training Tonight - I think the boss said we are doing cliff training as we need to keep our skills up. Hopefully we'll get a good turnout and be able to send someone over the cliff.

Ian's Biscuit Ban- Legal Loophole

Ian won the ‘Who eats the most biscuits?” vote here on the blog and has won a month’s biscuit ban.!!! I say good, and tough luck.
But there is a legal loophole (It says so on Wikipedia so it must be true!):-

Under UK law, no Value Added Tax (VAT) is charged on biscuits and cakes — they are "zero rated". Chocolate covered biscuits, however, are subject to VAT, currently 15%. McVities classed its Jaffa Cakes as cakes, but in 1991, this was challenged by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise and the case ended up before the courts. This may have been because Jaffa Cakes are about the same size and shape as some types of biscuit. A question that the court asked itself was "what criteria should be used to class something as a cake?"

McVities defended its classification of Jaffa Cakes as cakes. In doing so it produced a 12" Jaffa Cake to illustrate that its Jaffa Cakes were simply miniature cakes.

McVities argued that a distinction between cakes and biscuits is, inter alia, that biscuits would normally be expected to go soft when stale, whereas cakes would normally be expected to go hard. It was demonstrated to the Tribunal that Jaffa Cakes become hard when stale. Other factors taken into account by the Chairman, Mr Potter QC, included the name, ingredients, texture, size, packaging, marketing, presentation, appeal to children, and manufacturing process. Contrary to a commonly held belief, whether something is considered a 'luxury item' is not a test for VAT purposes.

Mr Potter ruled that the Jaffa Cake is a cake. McVities therefore won the case and VAT is not paid on Jaffa Cakes.

Therefore vis a vis, inter alia, and all that…There is a legal loophole and Ian gets to eat Jaffa Cakes.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Ikea - Coastguard Outfitters.

Austen’s made some Loggas down the station.

They are from New Coastguard Station Outfitting company ‘Ikea’. Now we just need to mount them on the wall. Exciting stuff!

What can I say, they are silver and you can hang your Coastie coats and rescue helmets on; and they’re dead cheap. We also have blinds and other paraphernalia from Ikea.

I just love their wacky names for products:- A bed called a 'Boing', a duvet called a 'Slagg' and a kitchen utensil drawer divider called 'Messi'. I swear they are making the names up as they go along.

We did think about some pine panelling and curtains for storing stuff like they do down the lifeboat station but thought it would look too much like a Swedish sauna. (I imagine never having been in one).

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Ring Ring

There was a strange noise at the station went "ring ring ring".

It took us sometime to work it out, a clue was the BT van outside the station.

Oh yes its the phone, finally we got connected again!

Another job off the list, hopefully got a few visitors to the station tomorrow including the radio engineer to "tweak" the radio equipment.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Not a good weekend

The weather might good, but I'm not having a good weekend.

1) I'm working (off tomorrow and guess what....its going to rain)
2) I've been banned from eating biscuits for a month (yes a whole month)
3) When not at work I'm painting a room
4) Thanks to the team members who have been texting with comments like...."its nice out here" and "that's the 4th biscuit Ive eaten today"....your not funny.

Can it get any worse?

Today's weather

Sunny with a fresh wind in Swanage today!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Easter Day

We had a reasonably quiet Easter Sunday – Rockett and Kitching on Local Patrol. Two incidents the first a young diver lifted off a local dive boat with ‘The Bends’; and secondly a boat that had engine failure and had to be towed in. We were there purely to take details and make sure all was fine. Perhaps I’ll do a short blog on the bends i.e. decompression sickness DCS later this week.

Sadly during the patrol we heard that a chap had fallen over a cliff on the west edge of the sector. Very sad to hear this type of thing over the radio; you sort of know from the intonation of the voices that there’s not going to be a happy ending. Tragic.

Meanwhile back at Old Harry we saw a couple having an Easter picnic on the edge of the cliff, looked nice and relaxed….Porkpies, sandwiches and crisps although it looked like they were also drinking wine. Not a crime in itself, but perhaps not best to have a glass right on the edge of the cliff; and I do mean legs hanging over! You do wonder sometimes.

What do you do? Have a friendly word? Probably best, prevention is better, but just as we were going to have a chat we were tasked to Swanage.

Still a nice day today, and i hear it will be sunny with a fresh wind in Swanage tomorrow. Well I know it will be sunny with a fresh wind as I am actually writing this Monday morning and backdating the post to yesterday. Happy Easter for I mean today.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Today's Jobs and an Easter Bunny

Thanks to Eric who patrolled single handedly this afternoon.

Today Agent Eric been tasked to a 200 metre oil slick, and to meet the Inshore Lifeboat just off Ocean Bay who rescued two young girls in a dinghy. Nice easy jobs but still important.

Meanwhile Ian is the winner of the vote and wins a month's biscuit ban. A fair result I think, although he is disputing it.

Lets see what Easter day brings....have a good day tomorrow whatever you are doing.

Obligatory cute bunny photo below:

Thursday, 9 April 2009

The New Mast

The new mast arrived yesterday.

Some more photos in the next few days

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

The biscuit vote

Something is wrong with the vote.....I seem to be leading the vote?????

There is no way that I eat more biscuits than Gareth and Austen so come on vote for them not me please.

Unless of course someone is playing with the results (Deputy Blog??) I'm sure Austen had 6 votes at one stage?


Coastguard - a family business

On Monday and being the school holidays we had to go to Poole, so popped into the Sector Office on the quay for coffee and doughnuts.

As stated before the office has been refurbished and is looking smart (well not as good as our building but nearly!)

The room is much bigger and provides the Sector Manager with much more room, it even has a creche facility!

Above the children are sat at the table, two are counting key rings and the other one is trying to build something he saw on Blue Peter the other day out of card and sticky back plastic!

Meanwhile in the down stairs office, builders got carried away with a drill and discovered this old window. The building dates back to the 18th Century and the thought is this may have been part of the a cell for the drunken sailors! Being of historic importance, this feature has had to be opened up and the relevant authorities are deciding how best to display it.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Hi Tech Ambulances - No April Fool!

Here is a link to an interesting article on BBC - Ambulances of the future.

I can't see Terry and Paul (our resident team paramedics) being too chuffed with ejector seats!

Monday, 6 April 2009

New Equipment

For the last few years, we would go and collect flares from the public or that wash up on the beach. These would be held and collected by the Sector Manager and then passed to the bomb disposal squad who get rid of them!

Now flares are dangerous in the wrong hands, some are rockets and some have chemicals in them that can burn the skin, so the Coastguard have now issued big gloves and a face shield when we collect these things.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Saturday Morning

Requested to provide some safety cover for a walk, by a local church group.

Can't really turn the request down when the weather is this good.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Day in the life of the Station Officer

Friday morning.........

Having taken the car to the garage for some new tyres, the Sector Manager picked me up in Wareham at 9.15 and straight over to Screw Fix in Poole.

It was like a little boy in a sweet shop, can I have this? "No" how about one of these? "No" oh please...."No" so we only got the new safety signs for the new the last minute, I tried getting a team radio, one of those builder types that you charge up, it would look really good on a rescue, set the kit up and have some music playing?......"NO". Shall I just get in the car then? "YES".

Arrive at the newly refurbished Sector Office and help put up the bosses notice boards, lunch (rather nice), back to the office to help with some paper work and equipment.

Back to Swanage, phone call from Police, can you come out to the beach, there is a large party on the beach and it would be good for a Coastguard input on safety grounds.
I must say at this point the youths we spoke to last nice were very good, and today we are too quick to point the finger and say they are misbehaving...last night we had a good chat with some of them and explained the dangers of drink and water....most seemed to understand.

Home at 22.30......!

Friday, 3 April 2009


Teenagers these days!

Driving around the town on two wheels like a bunch of loons; drinking alcopops, wearing hoodies, smoking, swearing. Those were the days! No seriously it’s not all bad.

I spoke to my neighbour who was down from London for the weekend (I know she’s a second home owner but lets put that to one side). She is in her seventies and said that it was lovely to see a young man working so hard for his community. For a moment I thought she was talking about Austen working over at the station – and that I needed to put her straight on his age – but she meant young Rid, who was washing the vehicle. The comment made me proud of the both the team and especially Rid; the team for taking on a young chap and giving their time to train him and Rid for showing the commitment.

Rid (Richard) joined the team at 18 and after 18 months is a fully trained and valued member of the team. Rather than out on the town doing all the things he shouldn’t, Rid gives an awful amount of his time to the community and dealt with some major incidents last year. He’s always enthusiastic and willing to learn. As the neighbour said, it’s great to see a young person doing their bit for the town. Well done chap.

Oh, and thanks Rid for ‘arranging’ for us to get a new gate up at Peveril Point.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Left and Right, versus East and West

Top of a cliff - last Wednesday night

“I’m over to your left” said Austen over the radio. His left or my left?, thought John who then made the very practical point that he should just use east and west instead. In Austen’s defence at that precise time he was hanging over a cliff, neck deep in a gorse bush with a very big dog between his legs.

At the station on Sunday, discussing Wednesday’s job:-

John: “Perhaps we should use compass points, its more professional?"

“I suppose so.” conceded Austen, “But what if we are in a cave in the dark?”

John: “We don’t have any caves”
Austen: “Yes we do “
John: “No we don’t”

Austen: “What about that one at Dancing Ledge”
John: “That’s not cave, it’s a hole in the rock”
Austen: “It’s a cave”
John: “Not a proper one”
Austen: “It’s dark!”
John: “Doesn’t make it cave”

Gareth: “Um…I thought north was a constant- so it doesn't matter if it’s a cave, or a hole in the rock!”
Austen: “That might be so, but it’s still dark and I won’t be able to see a compass!”
John: “So use a torch”

Austen “But I’ll be hanging upside down!”
Gareth “Light works upside down, it’s constant too”
John: “So use a torch”

Austen: “Where am I going to stick that?”

John and Gareth just smiled.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Rescue Vehicle ready to roll.

The MRU has had a new clutch fitted today by the lads at Avenue Garage, Swanage. Thanks lads.

We have 14k on the clock and have had two clutches; not good! Apparently the Navarra was designed as an automatic and when it came to our shores they put in a manual gearbox and a clutch made of cardboard. Or so it seems! Anyway she's back on station, ready to roll.

Thanks to the St Albans chaps for covering.

Oh yes on the right hand site we have a new 'Poll section' feel free to vote. ...and it you're submitting comments please note they are not immediately posted as they are moderated. So if you've typed something in and it disppears don't worry it will be published in a few hours.


Oh yes Andy, (comment on last post) you mean this one!

Coastguard Rescue Jetski "One Zero One"

Well the Easter weekend is nearly here and we have been given some smashing new equipment to trial for the next 3 months. We had a spin on it this weekend, around Swanage Bay and by golly she’s quick.

Above: - Ian and Rid on the Coastguard Rescue Jetski "Rescue Jetski - One Zero One"

The Station Officer Ian is already proficient on his scooter so who better to take her for a spin. Poor Rid is hanging on for dear life! Shortly after this ‘action shot’ they caught a wave and Ian in turn caught himself on the handlebars (An accident known in the trade as the ‘Boston Ballcrusher’) - ouchers! He’s still walking funny today poor chap.

The idea came from a Lego model. Regular Blog readers will know that some of the team have some Lego Coastguard stuff- and yes we are grown men. For a bit of a laugh we discussed the idea with the Sector Manager who low and behold thought it was actually a jolly good idea. So as of today, we’ve got a jetski.

Above: Lego Jetski