Monday, 30 April 2012

Weather Warning

Another weather warning has been issued for Dorset - heavy rain until Tuesday afternoon.

Flooding is expected in places and judging by the large puddle in front of the station, care should be taken

Wild conditions at Studland

The scene at Studland yesterday morning whilst on patrol.  Look one single person out for a walk ! 

It was raining hard yet the movement of sand across the beach was huge, quite an unusual view. 

Sunday, 29 April 2012

3 lucky people

Today patrol battled heavy rain and strong winds to check the patch.  Studland beach just had 5 people and 3 dogs out for a walk and thankfully there were no craft out on the water in poor conditions.

Whilst at the NCI lookout at Peveril Point, the two watch keepers and the patrol were surprised to see two small craft launch and start "wave jumping" in conditions which could be described as poor for such small craft.

The two craft moved into the bay so the mobile moved to keep them under observation and noticed one of the crafts break down and being towed back towards the boat park.   As the Coastguard arrived the swell picked up and to the horror of those watching, the broken down craft capsized throwing two people into the water.  The second craft also came close to being capsized and a request went to Portland Coastguard for immediate assistance as persons were in the water.

Both Coastguards put their water rescue equipment on (the 1st time in an emergency this equipment has been used)  and went to assist those in the water, thankfully both had surfaced close to beach and the second craft beached itself so everyone was accounted for.   With the help of some friends both boats were then recovered from the water.

Normally "words of advice" are given to the parties involved, but as one of them said "we were lucky" I think they realised for themselves.

Shall we just say - 3 lucky people.

Weather Watch

Blimey, its rough out there today!

Take care, particularly on cliff tops and exposed ledges; the wind is very strong and very blustery and forecast to remain so for the rest of the day.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Weather Warning

There are various weather warnings in place for the next 24 hours.  Please check the forecast before heading out.  Strong winds and more heavy rain which may causing flooding in places are expected.

Watch and make.....a Swanage Coastguard special

The other Saturday when dressed in our posh uniform we suddenly found the need to find some protective gloves.  Normally our overalls are full of them but we got a little caught out and the box in the back of the truck had gone missing.

So a box of gloves, pair of scissors, labelling machine, Velcro, two plastic takeaway containers and a cup of tea........ 
Take sip of tea, then cut some Velcro and stick it to the back of the plastic containers.  Using scissors can be dangerous so full safety glasses should be worn and an adult present for this bit.

Make some labels saying "Medium gloves" and "Large gloves" and attach to lid of containers.  Sip of tea, then fill the containers with the correct gloves.  Stick the containers to the truck using the sticky Velcro strips
Job done - a mark one Swanage Coastguard simple and cheap solution to ensure gloves are to hand !

Friday, 27 April 2012

Merchant Navy

In non-Coastguard related news, the second steam excursion in as many weeks has just arrived at Swanage Station on the Swanage Railway.

Approximately 450 day trippers from London will have about 3 hours to enjoy a beautiful afternoon by the seaside and spend their money in the town before returning to the capital this evening.

Actually, on reflection, maybe it is Coastguard related as the engine pulling the train is a restored 'Merchant Navy' class, no 35028 Clan Line making its first visit to Swanage.

Thursday, 26 April 2012


The scene at the station has changed a lot this week with the removal of the trees that are in the car park.

This work had nothing to do with the Coastguard but was a decision taken by our Landlords (of the car park) - the Town Council.

When the station was built the trees were meant to be taken down but at the last minute were just trimmed.  3 years on the tree roots are damaging the car park and also the properties next door to the station.

Since being cut down it was been discovered that some of the trees were also quite rotted so it an important thing they came down before falling down.

The good news is that in the Autumn some more suitable plants will be replanted.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Rough Seas - safety advice

A drive a long the sea front this morning showed how stormy it was with gusty winds and high seas.

Watching the morning news, one of their reporters was carrying out a live report on the weather on a sea front  with large waves breaking over the wall which could have put the reporter at risk.

Breaking waves can be dangerous as there can be a dragging effect as the water falls back towards the sea.

Our advice is to stay clear of sea walls, break waters and the beach when conditions are poor. "Wave Dodging" looks fun but can be dangerous, watch from a distance.

See someone in trouble along the coast......dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Helicopters at Swanage

We continue this critically acclaimed feature with the most up to date shot yet - the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance taking off from Peveril Point on 21 April 2012. (..more exciting than Slipwatch!)

For those who wish to know, its a Eurocopter EC135 twin engined machine operated by Bond Helicopters. Its registration is G-DORS and its call sign Helimed One-Zero. The Air Ambulance can operate on one engine only if one should fail.

The vehicle in the foreground is our Mobile Response Unit (MRU) or Austen's truck as we call it. Its a Nissan Navara single engined machine operated by HM Coastguard. Its registration is HF53 AUS, call sign Swanage Mobile. It has a striking yellow bonnet and some nee-nahs on the roof. Sadly it cannot operate if its engine fails although it is useful to shelter behind when the helo takes off.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Swanage Pier Rescue

I've just been going through our old video links...... I forgot about this one from 2009!

A diver was taken ill with the bends and needs a medivac to the Poole decompression chamber.....

  • Option 1 - Gareth and Tom take the boat out and have the winchman land on the back; mmmmm tricky.
  • Option 2 - Winchman lands on Swanage Pier; mmmmm tricky.

Key to success

Part of the patrols are to maintain knowledge of routes and ensure access can still be gained.  We have quite a few locked gates in the patch so have a selection of keys. 

Pictured above is the main set of keys and the "Special Key" should all else fail and we need to gain access quickly.

Monday, 23 April 2012

A little reminder.......Flares

Over the last few weeks several "Flares" have been left several locations in the town which has caused a few problems.  Please act responsiblily - flares are dangerous in the wrong hands and can cause serious injury. 

Please dispose of flares properly - as the sign says, to discuss disposal call 01305 760439

The line up

Some of the team looking their best.  Ian, Nick, Tom, Roger, John and Austen.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

St Albans and Kimmeridge Coastguard had a incident this afternoon which required a helicopter evacuation.


Yesterday the team were invited to Peveril Point and the unveiling of a plaque to the late Ian Surface.

Ian was the station Manager of the National Coastwatch at Swanage, after serving in the Coastguard for 30 years. During his Service to the town Ian was awarded a B.E.M (British Empire Medal) for his work.  After 30 years, finishing as the Auxiliary in Charge - Ian went on to rebuild the lookout at Peveril and continue the good work from the lookout.

Whilst a sad day it was nice to be part of such an event to mark Ian's commitment to the town.

Strong Offshore Wind

A small inflatable dinghy has just been caught out by the strong offshore wind.  One of the sailing club rescue boats assisted and brought the boat ashore.

This year the team are going to work with partner agencies in Swanage and Studland to raise the dangers of offshore winds and inflatables.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Best dressed incident

The team were just returning from a memorial unveiling at Peveril Point, when on route to sandwiches and tea the IRT noticed an Ambulance car in the boat park.

The team stopped and checked with the Paramedic if she needed a hand and then next thing, 5 Coastguard Officers all dressed in the best uniform are on their hands and knees carrying out 1st aid. A male had fallen from his yacht whilst it was parked in the boat park and received a nasty head injury. Due to the location and a few other factors the Air Ambulance was requested and landed by the team at Peveril Point.

The male was flown to Poole Hospital for treatment and the team resumed just in time to finish the buffet.

Air Ambulance

The team are currently dealing with an incident at Peveril Point. S&D Air Ambulance currently on site and proving something of a visitor attraction

Friday, 20 April 2012

Fire on Green Island

A large incident in Poole Harbour today with a major fire on Green Island.

Thankfully no one injured but major damage to the property being built.

Different Cliffs

Useful cliff rescue training session at Anvil Point last night where the cliffs are totally different to those at Peveril. Oneeffect of this is that, because of the geography, the team operating the lines at the top cannot see the cliff technician or safety team operating at the cliff edge, so communications between the two have to be by radio.

DSO Austen was the technician who went 'over', his only slight panic being whether anyone had a camera to record the event. Well we did, and we did:

A while back, during a particularly quiet day in the office, Oscar wrote a useful blog entry looking at the different types of cliff we have in Swanage and how we tackle them, so if you want to know more about the local terrain, Click on Cliff:

Thursday, 19 April 2012

What do you take to the beach?

Most people take a bucket and spade to the beach, this man brought his digger !

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Five go hunting in Durlston Bay

Like a story from Enid Blyton, five Coastguards go for a walk in Durlston Bay. A rocky beach and not easy to get about, the team had a good explore and checked the area to see if anything had washed up.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Peveril Point - its gone!

Panic not, not Peveril Point but the shelter at the head land. Built in 1940 the Defence Emergency Lighting (or search light ) was finally broken up yesterday.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Rescue 106 - Tasked to West Wales

The Portland Helicopter 'Rescue 106' was this weekend tasked over to West Wales to assist in the rescue of a diver.

So what's the difference between Helicopter 'Coastguard 106' and 'Rescue 106' ?

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Friday, 13 April 2012

Action at Durlston Country Park

Rescue 106 at Tilly Whim Caves - Photo Dee Bowden

The IRT (Tom and Dee) were tasked this afternoon to Durlston Country Park after female took a fall and hurt her ankle. Due to the location Rescue 106 was brought in to assist the IRT and the Ambulance crew.

Durlston Country Park Rangers assisted in keeping the crowds back whilst the helicopter was on the ground.

New RNLI Lifeboats Poole

Great news for our local economy!

The RNLI will be building their boats in Poole.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Abandoned Vessel - Grounded

Both Swanage Lifeboats put to sea last night to locate, tow and beach an abandoned vessel that was a hazard to shipping.

The Swanage Coastguard Team (Dee, Austen and Gareth) assisted the RNLI shore crew to bring the boat onto the rocks near Swanage. A block and tackle was used to haul the boat up the beach with the lifeboat pulling. A shout of ‘stop stop stop’ used just before the tackle was about to fail.

The yacht is ashore but beach users are advised to keep clear due to unspent fuel and other dangers.

We are volunteers honest !

This week I was approached to supply some more history on the Coastguard and the role we carry out in the community.

I asked how urgent it was as there is a lot going on behind the scenes (not call outs!) - the end of April was the reply. Oh that may be tricky due to work as there is a large sailing event not too far away from here in July.

So you don't work full time for the Coastguard? - No like everyone at Swanage I'm a volunteer - I work full time for another service (uniforms similar different epaulets).

All Coastguard Rescue Officers are volunteers - we have full time jobs but when required, we respond to emergencies. There are full time Coastguard Officers but the rescues like Cliffs, Mud and Water are carried out by about 3000 volunteers all around the country.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Chief Coastguard Commendations

The Chief Coastguard has recognised five Coastguard Officers for outstanding service to the Coastguard Service.

Read More......

Monday, 9 April 2012

Nearly Called out

With the usual standard UK bank holiday weather hitting Swanage this morning, the patrol went out early.

The purpose of the patrol was part training and part check the coast and check who was still about with the bad weather.

A trip to Studland (shows how early we were the gates were still shut) and the beach checked and returned via one of the tracks in the dunes. Boat park checked and then up to refuel returning to Swanage to hear that Swanage Lifeboat was launching to St Albans Head after a 43ft motor boat got into trouble.

Just as we got everything back in the garage, Portland MRCC called us up on the radio and put us on standby to meet the lifeboat. As we went to kit up Portland phoned us and cancelled us as the lifeboat was going to escort to Poole instead.

What else was there to do.....finish the coffee

Coastline Change

The familiar coastline of Swanage will be changing in the next couple of weeks with the demolition of the shelter at Peveril.

Sadly this structure has become unsafe (there is a large hole on the other side) and the Council were left with no choice but to remove it.

The shelter was in fact built in 1940 as a D.E.L - Defence Emergency Lighting or basically a search light. This was all part of the gun battery at Peveril but I'm told this week that there was also a "dummy" gun put in here at some stage to fool the enemy.

So pop on down to Peveril and take the last photos of this piece of history before its gone forever. (Please remember that it an unsafe structure so view from a distance)

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Saturday's Patrol

Chris and I headed out visiting the Zig Zag and Durlston bay 1st of all.

Then down to National Coastwatch at Peveril to see what was happening and be told about some divers they had some concern about earlier.

A slow drive up the sea front and out to Studland and Knoll Beach and watch the Coastguard helicopter return from Bournemouth very quickly and low over the water.
We then noticed a Easter egg hunt at the education centre at Knoll so thought we had better check it out. To qualify you had to take part in a trail and answer questions before returning to the centre to claim your chocolate.

The questions were well hard so we are going to return on Thursday to do it during training. Off then to Middle Beach to see how much seaweed had washed up and have a coffee (of course).
Checked the access at South Beach and out to Old Harry before returning to Swanage and a visit to Divers Down.

Chris was surprised at the number of people I waved at whilst driving around (I didn't know anyone really but he thinks I have lots of friends now!)

Finally back to the Station to see Lee (on his new patrol bike) Roger and Ali.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Station Officer - the many roles

In a new series for the blog, "The many roles of a Station Officer" we will show you all those extra little things that happen behind the scenes.

In the above photo (taken by David Haysom) it shows how useful a Station Officer can be as a ribbon holder. More to come will include, Station Officer does the washing up and Station Officer empties the you can't wait.

Beach Watch

A view over the bay yesterday shows plenty of folks making the most of a particularly low tide giving a much larger beach area than normal.
The extended beach easily accommodated the high number of Bank Holiday visitors and it is hoped to drain the tide in this way on other peak weekends throughout the summer.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Peveril Point

During the opening of the new information board at Peveril Point yesterday. The Mayoress, The Mayor and Sally Maltby.

A lovely weekend for a walk.....

Going walking this weekend? Please check the weather, take the right kit, tell someone what time you're back and most importantly have fun!

Here's some peeps having 'fun' on Crib Goch - Snowdon.

Peveril Point - another great project

Another wonderful example of partnership working was opened yesterday at Peveril Point.

The idea by Sally Maltby, a resident of Peveril Point and a watch keeper of The National Coastwatch lookout at Peveril, sees information boards put up in the old gun emplacements.

The project was opened by the Town Mayor - Bill Trite, Sally Maltby and John Master of NCI (oh some Station Officer was used to hold the tape)

I have to declare an interest in the project, as I had an input on a couple of the boards but alot of local people, swanage museum, companies, Town Council and partner agencies came together to give a insight into life at Peveril Point. The boards contain information on The Coastguard, wildlife, shipwrecks, World War Two, National Coastwatch, history of Peveril Point just to name a few.

So pop on down and have a read of the boards - there is a education booklet which encourages children (and adults!) to read the history and answer questions.

My favourite board (below) - it would be of course I co wrote it !

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Beach Wardens Hut

The new beach wardens hut is nearly finished and goes to show how working together gets things done.

This project was partner working at its best - Swanage Town Council and the Swanage Hospitality Association being the main parties.

This hut or shall we call it a cabin (as it did replace an old beach hut) will assist the beach wardens operate a little better, giving them a view over the banjo jetty for example. More room to provide 1st aid or take details in private of a lost child and for a Coastguard team to keep dry in the rain?

Well done everyone - goes to show what can be done.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Helicopters at Swanage

In the continued series of "helicopters at Swanage" - here is the air ambulance coming in at Peveril.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Wheres Roger?

Where's Rog..... Its a bit like Where's Wally but the Swanage Coastguard version.

Well actually we know where he is.....FRANCE !

Roger is currently sat by a lake somewhere in FRANCE, fishing - yes FISHING.

Whats wrong with Poole Park we asked but got ignored !

We hear that the tally is 8 however there is no independent verification on this.

So Roger if you are reading take it easy and don't worry I took your plastic bottles to the recycling centre for you.

Successful Sunday Search Studland

The Team have just returned from a successful search on Studland Beach for a missing elderly man.  CROs Simmons and Kitching with DSO Rockett in attendance.

Thanks to the St Albans Coastguard Rescue Team for providing additional search support.

Amazing Footage....

Amazing footage of Pilot Rick Roll of the Stornoway Coastguard Helicopter 01APR landing on the back deck of the Mallaig Lifeboat ... truly unbelievable.

Click photo above to watch the amazing video footage.