Monday, 31 May 2010

Agent Eric and the Top Secret Photos

Agent Eric has passed over a top secret roll of film (well camera memory card) containing previously unseen photos of the team in action. Eric is like an undercover roving reporter, and a very well tanned one at that. I shall 'leak' this top secret information over the next few days.

Here is Ian being interviewed by none other than Roger Finn from BBC South Today

He used to present John Craven's Newsround. 

...Roger Finn obviously, not Ian.

Bank Holiday

Well the town was packed, lots of people down in the town and on the beach, thankfully as I write this the team haven't had anything today.........pager tones have just gone off over the radio but I don't think its us.

This is the half term holiday week so there is going to be an increase in visitor numbers.

So the advice to visitors is please read the signage, obey the warning signs and stay safe.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

We can't do it without YOU

Last nights call to a report of a red flare over Swanage shows how important members of the public are when it comes to reporting incidents.

A member of the public walking close to Northbrook Road sighted a flare out to sea, we arrived and took the lady back to where she saw it, having worked that out we carried out a search of the beach and around to Peveril Point.

Having spoken to a few fishermen on the beach, no other reports or sightings came in.

So what was it? It could have been an aircraft - this was discounted after checking with air traffic control. A light shining off the cloud base?
Sadly on incidents like this we rarely find out just check the area the best we can all we ask is that if YOU see something ALWAYS report it, someones life could depend on it.

Celebrity Swanage Resident in Coastguard Operation.

Jonathan Ross joins the Coastguard for a few minutes.

No i'm not making this up.

Dover Coastguard: "Are you able to help Mr Ross?"
Jonathan Ross: "Woger, I'd love to help in a Wescue."

He's welcome down the station any time.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Two Old Deers

Bet you thought it was going to be a picture of Terry, Eric or Tom!!!

We are so lucky living in an area where you can drive around a corner and find a couple of deer crossing the round .

Have a nice but SAFE holiday weekend.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Boys on tour

The boys on tour a few weeks back test driving a new Coastguard vehicle, I seem to remember the sound system was rather good. The picture above shows the vehicle in its summer mode, roof off and team members wearing full eye protection.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Kit Night

Good turn out at kit night to check the kit and wash the ropes. Unbeliavable how dirty they were after training at Old Harry Rocks on Sunday.

Here's Austen washing the rope (No detergent allowed!) He was given a big pat on the back for his efforts by Dee!!!

Meanwhile Malcolm turned up again.

He helped Tom fix the rear lock on the truck which seems to be on it last legs. Not one to tell tales but Brian broke it and then tried to pin the blame on Malcolm.

Sadly Malcolm the Gingerbread man was then eaten.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Mind the edge

This is the scene at Peveril Point and why we ask people to mind the edge and if on the beach look up. We will continue to monitor to see how long it is before this ends up on the beach.


Here's new recruit 'Malcolm the Gingerbread Man'. He joins us for a couple of days, ...maybe less if he gets eaten.

Here he is checking out the bay.

...and back at the Coastguard Station.

Perhaps he will join us at kit night tomorrow?

... And no I don't know why he's wearing a necklace.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Long way down!

Here's Deputy Blog's view from the bottom of the cliff. Austen on top doing the arm waving.

Now you might think that once your feet hit the bottom you're nice and safe.... Not strictly true. On cliffs like Old Harry the chalk boulders have a habit of falling down a few minutes after you have dislodged them on the descent.

So when you hit the bottom it's heads up watching for debris. Even pieces the size of a squash ball cause damage let alone the football size ones! A couple of years ago Tom got a right good clout and spent a night in AandE, fair to say his helmet worked!

The rocks bounce also so it's a case of letting some slack out of the ropes and standing well back. Even when you think it is settled the ropes can catch in the wind and spin bringing down more debris. So it's wits about you and keep the helmet on.

...and then you have to go back up!

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Sunday, 23 May 2010


Get Lost

Sorry for the lack of Blogs this week, despite it not being busy (rescue wise) behind the scenes there has been lots going on with meetings, TV appearances and training.

Yesterday, Austen and I attended the RNLI college along with the Station Officers from St Albans and Southbourne and rescue officers from Poole to be shown the new Search Management policy being brought in by the Coastguard.

The training was delivered by Pete Pritchard the Sector Manager for Lyme, those you know Pete will know he comes from an a military background so his delivery of training is very interesting with lots of "life experiences" thrown in.

Whilst there wasn't any major shocks, the major changes are the planning and management of the team during the search and those really affect Austen and I.

So for 4 hours we were shown how the search which is based on a bicycle wheel!!

The hub being the last known position of the lost or missing person
The spokes would be the paths and tracks the person could be on
Reflectors are places that a person may be sat at
The Rim is the maximum area or boundary the person could have reached!

Along with lots of statistical values and details of various types of missing or lost people it was great training at a lovely location (nice coffee Pip!)

Saturday, 22 May 2010

BIG Training

Big training session on the cliff tomorrow morning, we're looking to considate training across the team and push a couple of chaps over the cliff (as it were!) to get their cliff technician's training ticket.

Currently we have four cliff technicians Ian, Austen, John and Steve, all are experienced operators in cliff rescue.

In order to do a cliff job we need four technicians on scene and it's difficult to pull four without asking for back up from our Sector Manager or the St Alban's team.

So we need to train two new ones this year and hopefully two more next year. Eight cliff technicians and we are 'cooking on gas!'

It's achievable over the next year and hopefully tomorrow we'll get two ready for assessment.

Let's hope the kit doesn't fail on the cliff man like last time!!! Update tomorrow at midday.

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Friday, 21 May 2010

Friday night

Friday and Saturday nights are the short straw when covering the IRT. Despite the call of a cold beer from the fridge, for obvious reasons it's a non- starter.

We'll probably get a job tomorrow as we're planning a BBQ. Out of four BBQs last year the pager went off three times.....

Still, it's meant to be a cracking weekend weatherwise so enjoy it!

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Tuesday, 18 May 2010

South Today

Viewers watching BBC South Today tonight (18.30) might be in for a shock ........

As everyone else was busy in the MCA today it fell to me to appear on camera talking about dogs falling off cliffs.

Thanks to everyone in the team who sent words of encouragement, I can not repeat most of the comment on this family blog.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Small Update

Well after the action on Friday we all thought it was going to be a busy got that wrong!

Our colleagues over the water in Poole and Southbourne had a busy weekend with large searches both on Saturday and Sunday, sadly one of those ended in tragedy when a yacht found a body off Christchurch.

Despite the lack of incidents there is a lot going on, this week we are meant to be shown the Coastguard's new search management process, more on this after the course!

Oh and I forgot......Happy Birthday to Austen for yesterday

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Hudson-Thompson Tan Test ©

Eric Hudson had his legs out at the station showing off his suntan, he’s been in Tenerife; Brian had his shorts on too trying to get a tan, he’s been in Swanage. It's fair to say Eric beats Brian hands down on the tan although he’s being pushed hard by Terry Thompson. Terry's head is as brown as a hot cross bun, although without the cross, and no raisins....or orange peel come to think of it.

In order to stop disputes as to who is the brownest I’ve decided to implement the Hudson-Thompson Tan Test © which will be based on a colour chart by a well known wood stain manufacturer. This will allow HM Coastguard tans to be graded fairly.

At the moment Eric’s legs are somewhere between an ‘Oxford Brown’ and ‘Saddle Tan’, whereas Terry’s bonce is closer to ‘Redwood’ than ‘Sequoia’.

I’m afraid Brian’s legs are currently ‘Cape Cod Grey’ although he’ll probably be ‘Harvest Brown’ by July.

Courtsey of no seriously it is!

...and again I'm so dead for this down the station.

Whose boat?

The patrol was tasked to report on a speed boat that had washed ashore at South Beach Studland. On arrival it was clear that the boat had seen better days and may have been abandoned in the bay and then washed ashore. Oddly it still had it's anchor attached. Inside were two oars.

Rather than leave it for others to set adrift or have a play rowing around the bay on the way home from the pub the boat was turned over against the sea wall and oars removed.

Looks like Ben Gardiner's boat!?

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Saturday, 15 May 2010


Yesterday the team didn’t get the result we were hoping for. It’s always sad when despite everyone’s efforts there is nothing you can do.

It’s also difficult breaking that news to one of the owners, which Ian did with the compassion and understanding that you expect; probably one of the worst part of the jobs for him I imagine.

But back to the station, debrief, sort the kit and get ready for the next job.

Austen and Gareth team up for a patrol this afternoon.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Call Out

Not all incidents turn out well, the team have just returned from Old Harry after an owner reported their 7 year old Labrador dog missing.

Usually when we arrive at Old Harry the tide is in and that limits us putting a cliff technician over the cliff so would call for assistance of the ILB however today the tide was out and this gave us the safety margin to lower the Deputy Station Officer over and search the cliff base.

It wasn't long before Austen found the dog, sadly it hadn't survived the fall, so using the new animal bag we recovered the dog for the owner and escorted them all back to their car at the Bankes Arms for a sad journey home.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Smile Please, Cheese.

Here's a holiday photo of Austen meeting one of the Cornish Coastguard Teams, it was sent in by an 'unnamed source'.

Austen is the one on the right.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Austen's Engine

Austen has been away on a short break and decided to send us an e-postcard.....of a big engine that he found in Cornwall.( I know it's at 90degrees!)

No doubt he will want to try and fit this to his coastguard truck... Oops I mean our coastguard truck!

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Sunday, 9 May 2010

Chinese Lanterns

On the way home from work last night, over the sky of Poole, was a floating white light drifting out to sea......a Chinese lantern.

These things are getting more popular, available in garages and even available at book clubs. I was aware last night that one had already sparked several 999 calls down in the Weymouth area after a lantern was seen drifting out to sea.

So a problem with having these things, but please if you are going to let them off within 5 miles of the sea, please contact the Coastguard, it will save time, money and more importantly someones life as some one might see a real flare and think its a lantern.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Meet and greet

Meet and greet is a common term in Coastguard to refer to meeting the lifeboat towing a broken down boat in. The role of the Coastguard is to then discuss what has happened and discuss safety issues.

This morning at 00.04 the team were tasked to meet a small vessel with 2 people on board who had broken down off Peveril. Swanage ILB had preformed their duties to the usual high standard and has the boat in tow and alongside the boat park jetties in no time.

Our role was to discuss the lack of safety equipment, no VHF, no life jackets, no flares just a mobile phone and so on.
I hope our message got through, the pair were lucky that their mobile phone worked, has they gone around the back of Durlston they would have had no signal, what would have happened then?
At the start of the boating season, we urge all boat owners to review their safety equipment, breakdowns happen but please ensure you have the relevant equipment to save your lives in an emergency and don't rely just on a mobile phone.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

How Long

A question was raised some weeks back about whether our cliff lines were in fact long enough when we went over Ballard !

Now I was told that Ballard at its highest point was 375ft converted to metres is 114.3 metres, length of lines we currently hold 250 so thats loads left over ( 137.5 metres left??)

Well that's ok then, but remember that Ballard is not a sheer cliff its quite a slope in fact, we don't descend straight down and often go down at an angle to avoid bits of rock etc. We also don't set up the equipment right on the edge but several metres back from the cliff edge, and the rope technician carries quite a lot of spare rope in his bag to allow adjustment, so that 137.5 suddenly starts to decrease.

Oh heck were we going to have to get the church bell ropes from St Mary's Church like they use to when someone was stuck on the cliffs?.........

Thankfully no, Austen headed off and reached the bottom (the beach) in about 10 minutes and the good news was there was plenty of rope left in the bag. We use to have 200 metre ropes and that use to get very tight, now with 250 metre there is plenty spare.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Long Day

This is the device the Coastguard team looked after for nearly six hours until the Royal Navy confirmed it was a container.

With modern technology the picture of the tube was sent via email to our Operations Room in Weymouth in 5 minutes of arriving on scene, the problem was not knowing what was in side and that's why a bomb disposal team was called, sadly that involved a long drive from Plymouth.

Whilst we can take a picture we are not allowed to touch the device, just observe the markings and sit and wait having put a large cordon to protect the public.

So it was rather annoying that it was empty other than having sand inside......better to safe than sorry

Monday, 3 May 2010

Its kicked off

Busy couple of days for the team,

Sunday a broken down jet ski off Round Island in Poole Harbour, we don't get called down there very often!

Then to King Georges playing field for a medical evacuation by Rescue 106.

Today started with a mystery item on the beach, a long six hours later the team find out what it was. Photo's will hopefully be on tomorrow's blog.

Finally the team get called to Anvil Point for a climber fallen, Rescue 106 again in the patch.

Sunday, 2 May 2010


A lot of Coastguard teams have Rescue Support Trailers ........posh words for a good old trailer.

Its used for several things, carrying extra equipment or for removing large items off the beach or when we moved stations it came in very handy!

Now only one small problem these days with trailers, you have to have to have a trailer entitlement on your driving licence to tow one. Us old folk have what is known as Grandfather rights and can tow one without having to have taken the extra test, sadly that has changed.

So as time goes on less people will have trailer entitlements as they never thought at the time to take the extra test, a slight problem if you want to tow a caravan or a Coastguard trailer!

So the other day I visited the station to find Rid parking his car as above, "Rid are your practising towing a trailer?", "one small thing, you need a hitch!"

Saturday, 1 May 2010


Deputy Blog mentioned this incident this week, a chap using a road guide to sail around the UK!

Well the Sun Newspaper ran the story, but our interest was more taken but the Coastguard on the left. Is this our Terry we all said? We know he travels the world but we never thought he took his overalls!