Friday, 22 September 2017

How long have Coastguards been volunteers

It's been a little busy this week again so sorry for the lack of Blogs.

In between work and callouts a comment on facebook caught our eye.

Someone posted a picture of our truck and wrote - thank you to the volunteer Coastguards ........

A comment said " since when have Coastguards been volunteers" - well in Swanage, 1888 to be precise. ( yes that's over one hundred years!!!)

Although there are full time Coastguards in our operations centres and senior officers, the Rescue teams are ALL volunteers who all have full time jobs.

A little volunteering last night at Anvil Point ......

Rope training in the dark as Terry heads over the cliff.

Nick heads down 90ft

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Two more incidents and training

The team have again been called twice in the last two days with the weather being a factor.

On Monday the team were called to Studland and two paddleboarders being swept out to sea and yesterday a possible swimmer in trouble off Swanage beach.

Thankfully all involved got safely back ashore.

Last night just as the weather started to change the team along with Dorset Police carried out a search exercise at Studland.

With several objectives to be achieved and the rain the casualty was located quickly which enabled everyone to return to the station to dry off and have a mug of tea.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Driving Rain, High Winds and four taskings

Sunday was a busy day for the team with four separate incidents (so far!)

The first was around 1am when the team was tasked to a female fallen over a cliff in Bournemouth - in this case the tasking was to support colleagues from Southbourne and Lymington but we were stood down when the lady was recovered by other means.

Next was a suspected piece of ordnance, discovered at Knoll Beach by the early morning patrol. Photographs were sent to EOD who examined them and who were content that the heavily corroded item was harmless.  The team marked the object up to avoid further calls and liaised with the landowner to arrange removal and disposal.

With the weather now worsening, the next task was back in Studland and to the asistance of a young lady who had twisted her knee badly when out walking near Old Harry.  Working with the NT rangers, first aid was given and the lady was stabilised and made comfortable before arrangements were made to recover her back to the village and from there to hospital.

Finally, whilst Swanage RNLI were out rough weather training, they noticed what looked to be a fresh cliff fall in the Tilly Whim area and the team was tasked to investigate from above.  Wearing full foul weather kit three CROs checked the area and coast path from the top, and after a further conversation with the lifeboat stood down when nothing could be found.

Meanwhile some of the newer members have spent a weekend training in Bournemouth.

That's 8 calls in the first ten days of September.....What will the rest of the month hold?

Friday, 8 September 2017

Light Aircraft makes an Emergency Landing

The team were tasked this afternoon to a mayday call regarding a light aircraft with engine trouble over Poole Harbour.

With information sketchy about whether the plane would land safely or not and the location that it might eventually come down, the full team was tasked ready to mount a coastal search if required and to carry out first aid and recovery as appropriate.  Colleagues from other emergency services were also tasked.

In the end, the pilot was able to make a controlled landing in a field near Fitzworth Point, adjacent to Wych Farm and a search was not required.

There were no injuries to either the pilot or his passenger.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Bella says Thankyou

You may remember an incident earlier in the summer when we recovered 'Bella', the golden retriever from off the cliffs below the Downs at Swanage.
Although Bella's owners were very appreciative at the time, they decided to come back to Swanage last week and say thankyou properly and to meet the team.
We met at the CG Station and chatted for an hour or so over a cup of tea and the couple said they had seen us at an incident a couple of days earlier; like many, they hadn't realised that we are just volunteers who all have day jobs as well.
It was great to see the family all back together with both their dogs safe and sound and our thanks go out to them for coming to see us and for their kindness.

Naturally, we couldn't miss out on the opportunity for a quick photo for the album!

Monday, 28 August 2017

Going to the beach today?

If you are heading to beach today , please observe the signs and parking restrictions.

Blocked gates or tight access can delay us getting to an incident.

That incident may be for you.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Its the Bank Holiday

Unusually for a bank holiday the sun is shining which means it's a bit busy.

Yesterday both the Swanage and St Albans teams were tasked to a lady fallen at Dancing Ledge. The lady appeared to have suffered a twisted or broken ankle so was carried out by the teams and with her family taken to hospital.

Today's patrol were tasked to the sailing club in Swanage after a sailing dinghy took on water. Swanage RNLI ILB soon arrived and brought those involved ashore to be met by the team. All were well so everyone resumed.

Tonight the team were tasked to Anvil Point to search for a possible person in a dinghy. Due the failing light it was a very quick search but nothing was found and no one has been reported missing or over due.

Swanage Coastguard Rescue Vehicle at Anvil Point

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Team assist air ambulance crew

Yesterday the team spotted the air ambulance circling over South Swanage.

The team assisted the crew to the location of the incident and stood by until they returned.

The volunteers are always on call ready to assist where required with helicopter operations being one specialist skill the Coastguard teams have.

The Somerset and Dorset's new helicopter

Friday, 18 August 2017

Busy week for Coastguard volunteers

It's been a busy summers week for volunteer Coastguard teams in the Purbeck area,

3 incidents at Lulworth along with the Kimmeridge team involving people falling from cliffs or hit by rocks.

1 person stuck on a cliff at Swanage with colleagues joining us from St Albans.

1 person airlifted from a path at St Albans last night.

All these incidents have involved the rescue helicopter 175 to assist.

In total there are 48 volunteers on call in the area ready to assist those in trouble or who have been injured.

Never attempt a rescue yourself - what may look like a slope could cause you and others serious injury if things go wrong.

# 999 Coastguard

Sunday, 13 August 2017

A very long night

Coastguard teams risk assess their areas and deploy patrols to reduce risks especially if there is an event in the area.

For the second night running the team headed out to an event at Studland that in past years has seen some serious maritime incidents.

At 7pm the team headed out and it wasn't long before it was reported there was some serious fighting going on aboard some boats at South Beach.
On arrival it had calmed down but the team remained around to ensure people were going back to their boats safely.

The team then spotted some persons in danger of being cut off by the tide and went along to point them to a safer location.

Then a large jet ski was found balancing on rocks and along with the owners assisted moving it before the incoming tide caused any damage.

One of the biggest risks whilst at the beach is mixing cold water and alcohol. The team spotted several naked makes swimming at South Beach. The group were monitored and later give safety advice.

Sadly a further fight started on a boat with the team standing by whilst Police attended. The boats parted company and were monitored back to Poole due to their behaviour.

The patrol then located a cyclist in a ditch , first aid was offered along with a suggestion of leaving the bike and catching the bus. This was declined and the cyclist headed off again this time with his white tshirt on rather than his black jumper.
This was good advice from the team as 10 minutes later they spotted the male embedded into a hedge. This time the bike was left at scene and the male dropped at the ferry for his and other road users safety.

Shortly after this incident the team became aware of a female cyclist involved in a accident just after knoll beach.
Whilst this isn't the usual Coastguard area of work as an emergency service the team provided immediate care to the seriously injured female.

Immediate assistance was requested from the other services and due to the females condition deteriorating the Coastguard Operations Centre tasked Rescue 175 to scene.

Police and Ambulance arrived and all three emergency services worked together treating the female.
Due to the possible injuries the ambulance crew confirmed the female should be airlifted so an emergency landing site was set up opposite the Knoll House Hotel.
The female was airlifted and taken to Southampton Hospital.

The team finally left the station just before 03.00 having cleaned and replaced the equipment ready for service.

Busy Evening

It's 2.30am and the team has just returned from a busy patrol in connection with a major event in Studland.
Starting soon after 7.00pm, the team dealt with seven incidents through the evening including a serious bicycle accident,  resulting in a multi agency response which saw a young lady with suspected head injuries airlifted to hospital by Coastguard Helicopter 175.

We'll post a fuller update later.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Swanage Lifeboat Week

Swanage Lifeboat week starts this weekend and runs right through to next weekend.   With loads of activities and things to do, it's the year's main fundraising effort for our colleagues at the RNLI.
Why not visit some of their events, have a bit of fun and drop a pound or two into the buckets?

Friday, 11 August 2017

Chain Ferry update

Good news !

We have just heard the ferry is back on.

Chain Ferry Suspended

We have just heard the Sandbanks Chain Ferry is suspended due to being grounded.

It is unlikely that it will be back in service tonight due to the tides.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Ridge Wharf

The team was tasked to support our colleagues from Kimmeridge Coastguard at Ridge Wharf this afternoon when an elderly lady aboard a pleasure cruise on the Wareham River was taken ill.

The skipper called the UK Coastguard by VHF radio and then moored up alongside at a place accessible to ambulance and Coastguard Rescue Officers.

Assistance was provided to the paramedics, and the lady and her friend were helped off the boat and into the waiting ambulance.

With concerns about the falling tide, once the transfer had been made, the boat was soon under way again back into Poole Harbour and the teams returned to base.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Dog Recovered from below the Downs

The team was called for the second time in a day yesterday afternoon, assisting with a dog that had been found at the base of the cliffs at Swanage Downs.

Whilst a full rope rescue was an option, the position of the animal was such that it was feasible to walk the Coastguard team in along the beach and to carry the dog out and reunite it with its grateful owners.

The dog was taken to the vet for a check-up and the team, supported by our colleagues from St Albans,  returned to base.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Early Start

Back to work for most of the team today after the Carnival last week,  but not before a 07:20am tasking to investigate a red dinghy that had been found adrift off Ballard.

Our first concern in such cases is to assess whether anyone has fallen out of the boat,  or whether it was simply washed off the beach or set adrift deliberately.

We established that there hadn't been anyone on board and so the potential for a sea search was removed.   We then set abut trying to identify the owner, and by 11.00am with help from the local community of commercial  fishermen, the owner had been located and reunited with his boat.

Investigations are ongoing but it would appear that it was initially taken from the beach early on Monday, perhaps with malicious intent, but then later discarded.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

And Relax.....

So Swanage Carnival is over for another year and the team can take a breath.
Like us, the Swanage Carnival Committee are all vounteers and they work tirelessly all year to make the Carnival happen - and we do our best to support them by covering the waterborne and coastal activities or those where large crowds are likely to attend.  Two of the team, Eric and Steve, are part of the carnival committee, and Tom spends much of his week helping man the carnival information caravan, so all three have been particularly busy all week, along with their wives.

This year we provided patrols for
- the beach race
- the bay swim
- three firework displays
- the biathlon
- the Red Arrows display.
The SO and DSO also took part in the junior crabbing but we can't really count that!

Incidents were down on previous years  which is good to report, the most serious being a lost 4 year old child, missing for half an hour on carnival Sunday, and a 10 year old on a kayak blown out to sea nearly half a mile during the Red Arrows display.

Finally, time for a quick photo with the local neighbourhood policing team after the Saturday fireworks (we work very closely with the Police all week) and a chance to hear the last band in the marquee before it comes down for another year.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Two incidents during Red Arrows display

The team put a patrol out this afternoon to provide safety cover for the thousands of visitors in Swanage for the visit of the Red Arrows, but moments before the display started they team was tasked by the UK Coastguard control room.

Two separate 999 calls had been made when a young lad on a sit-on kayak was suddenly taken by the wind from the shallows below the Grand Hotel northeastwards towards Ballard.  The boy's father tried to swim after the kayak but he was no match for it and it also evaded a group of long distance swimmers training in the bay. The patrol alerted the Dorset Police Rib which was afloat in the bay, but before it had time to reach the boy, a motor boat at anchor for the display slipped its mooring in pursuit and soon had the boy aboard and the kayak under tow back to the safety of the beach.  The boy's mother had actually been holding the kayak and had just let go to turn it round when it disappeared from her reach. She was shocked how quickly the situation had developed and how the boy came to be several hundred metres adrift after just a couple of minutes.

Whislt keeping watch on the kayak through binoculars  the team also witnessed an individual on the rocks at the base of Ballard Point. Swanage NCI also saw the same and although the two units later liaised with the Ops Room, the individual could not be seen again and was assumed to have departed by one of several boats in the area.

So for the chaps that missed the Red Arrows, here's what you missed.
(All photos courtesy of Jayden Capper)

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Coastguard join in junior crabbing

Carnival continued today with the team active in the background.

Last night the team provided safety cover for the swim along with the RNLI and a few locals helpers.

This morning it was the junior crabbing competition so advice was on hand ...... Some got a bit carried away and showed some hidden talent.


Monday, 31 July 2017

Busy Carnival Day

A busy carnival day yesterday.

A multi agency briefing started the day just before 9am.

10.30 Team called to Ocean Bay after concern the heavy rain had washed the sand away from under a beach hut. Area taped off and liaised with Council for contractor to attend with a digger to replace the sand.

Whilst on the beach the team gave some safety advice to some jet ski riders about the 5 knot speed limit.

12.50 , Team along with Police, Lifeguards and Tourist Information staff search for missing 4 year old. Full team called to assist. Child located safe and well half a mile away and reunited with parents.

15.00 Team joined by colleagues from St Albans Coastguard for the carnival procession.

Just after 16.00 team tasked to Studland after an empty jet ski was found drifting off Old Harry. Both Swanage Lifeboats were sent and started searching for a missing person. Rescue 175 was scrambled from Lee on Solent.
Full Coastguard team tasked to carry out shore line search from Old Harry to Poole Harbour entrance. Some detective work from the team spotted a large motor boat off South Beach with a similar jet ski on board, Swanage ILB tasked to investigate and confirms the found jet ski had come from this boat earlier in the day !

17.10 Member of public approach Coastguard team at Studland reporting a white canister washed up near to Old Harry. Team tasked to investigate along with Swanage ILB. Confirmed item was a fishing marker washed up.

17.30 Poole RNLI ILB tasked to report of person in the water between Brownsea and Shell Bay. Team tasked to assist but on arrival the ILB crew confirmed two on a jet ski and managed to get ashore safely.

18.30 Team return to station , wash down , pack away equipment and go for tea !

That's carnival day for us and not forgetting those who were on carnival duties around the town.

Thank you to everyone for their support.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Coastguard called to ulwell stream

The team have just taped off an area at the Ulwell Stream outlet.

A concerned owner contacted the Coastguard after children were playing under the beach hut.

The area has been taped off and the Council will be attending to refill the sand.

Swanage beach currently has an advisory notice of water quality after last nights heavy rain.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Carnival Week Under Way

The opening day to Swanage Carnival has seen heavy rain for most of the day which is a real shame after all the effort that goes in.

Fortunately it was still dry for the opening event, although by running in the sea, the participants probably didn't notice.

Starting from the Mowlem,  competitors had to run round the outside (sea side) of every groyne upto and including Groyne 18 at Sheps Hollow, before scrambling under a cargo net and running back again. It was arranged for the lowest tides of the week and so took place at 08.30am today.

This meant an earlier patrol than usual as the team headed up to Ballard Estate to get a view over the full course and to be on hand for any incidents that may have occurred.  Fortunately all went well and everyone got back to the finish ok, albeit with wet feet!

Friday, 28 July 2017

Busy Station

A busy scene last night at our monthly kit night, or Operational Readiness Check as it's now called.
With carnival week coming up we took the opportunity to clean the vehicles and trailer.
We even had a visit from the local police to discuss safety arrangements for some of the events.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Major Search after clothing found on beach

Coastguards , Police , Poole Lifeboat and Rescue 175 were tasked to Studland last night after clothing was found left on the beach.

A member of the public called the Police after some items were found on the tide line.
Concerned for the owner of the items search units deployed searching from Old Harry Rocks to the Poole Harbour entrance including Studland Bay.

After four hours of searching , units were stood down with nothing found.

Dorset Police are continuing with their enquiries

Wednesday, 19 July 2017


Whilst we may all be volunteers there is an awful lot of work that goes on behind the scenes.

We spend time meeting partner agencies and colleagues to ensure when it matters our training and processes work.

Events in the town like carnival require careful planning and whilst it's down to the organisers we are quietly in the background to support or step in during an emergency.

It not just responding to the pager.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Five means Five

Saturday's patrol was tasked to speak to swimmer and jet ski rider after a heated discussion had taken place between the two of them.

We have five knot bouys in the bay every Summer, and the rules are simple.....any craft inside (ie the beach side) of that line of bouys is limited to 5 knots.
That's not to say that speedboats and jet skis cannot come inside the line - they can, but at 5 knots maximum.

On Saturday the swimmer was quite shaken when he realised just how close a speeding jet ski had been.  The jet skier was spoken to by the team and details passed to the MCA.

There is also a buoyed off swimming area on the main beach from which all motorised craft are prohibited

If you are boating into Swanage,don't forget to Arrive at Five Knots - no more !

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Take Care with Inflatables

Blow up boats and toys are great fun in the swimming pool, but we do not recommend their use at the seaside. This is because they can easily be blown out to sea.

Liz Hanson, Senior Maritime Operations Officer for UK Coastguard says,
“We’ve recently tasked numerous assets to investigate several reports of persons in distress on inflatables - of particular interest - a large inflatable Swan off Bembridge and a large inflatable Unicorn off Swanage. Thankfully both were recovered with no persons in distress. If your inflatable does blow out to sea, please let us know by calling 02392 552100.”

The Coastguard would like to encourage everyone to enjoy our British coastline safely. Go to a lifeguarded beach if possible, stay within the flagged area and listen to the lifeguards’ advice. If people do find themselves being swept out to sea, our advice is to stay with the boat or toy and shout for help, waving arms if possible. Do not attempt to swim for shore if out of depth. Ideally make sure that someone ashore is keeping an eye on you and ideally keep the inflatable on a length of line.  If you see anyone in trouble, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Rainbow the Unicorn was heading due East past the Pier on Thursday night when she was recaptured.

The family whose unicorn blew out at Swanage commented how calm the evening was with no trace of wind and no noticeable tide, but the incident happened so quickly that although they tried to swim after it, it was very soon out of range.

Fortunately for them, the unicorn's escape bid was watched by the Coastguard Team who were training at Peveril Point and by the volunteers at the Swanage NCI.  Local fisherman Doug from Swanage Sea Fishing kindly put to sea and rescued the mythical creature before further alarm calls were raised.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Unicorn rescued in Swanage Bay

The team were on exercise at Peveril Point tonight when something caught their attention.

The watch keepers at NCI also confirmed the sighting of yes - a unicorn !

Solent Coastguard were informed as it was seen heading out to sea and may have caused further emergency calls

So well done Doug from San Gina who set off in hot pursuit.

The unicorn was soon caught and brought ashore.

Enquiries are on going to how it was let loose.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Coffee and Cake

The team was tasked to two more incidents at Durslton yesterday, bringing the incident count to 5 in 4 days in what's turning out to be a busy spell for the volunteers.

We're a fairly straightforward bunch who do not ask for much, but when the owner of the Seventhwave Restaurant at Durslton Castle brought us out cakes and a tray of coffee, who were we to refuse?
Service with a smile!

Its support like this that keeps us going through tougher times and is very much appreciated.  Thankyou!

The new trailer proves its worth!

Monday, 3 July 2017

Sunday's Incident

A few more phones from yesterday's incident at the Western Mile Marker.

These two photos of Rescue 175 were kindly sent by Eddy Young of Young's Adventure Solutions who has kindly given permission for us to put on the blog.

The Swanage and St Albans Coastguard teams working together on scene.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Fallen Climber at the Western Mile Marker

The team have been out this afternoon attending to a climber near the Western Mile Marker who had fallen and landed awkwardly on rocks 4 metres below.

Along with our colleagues from St Albans, the team were just beginning to set up the rope rescue equipment when CG Helicopter 175 arrived and lowered its paramedic winchman to the casualty who had sustained an injury to his ankle.

The Wiltshire  Air Ambulance also attended along with a local ambulance crew but both were stood down when Rescue 175 winched up the injured man and flew him directly to Poole.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Team assist ambulance

The team were called to assist South Western Ambulance at the stone quay yesterday.

The ambulance crew requested assistance will a male who had fallen on a local boat.
The team assisted with lifting the casualty off the boat and with providing safety cover to the ambulance crew.

Friday, 30 June 2017

The Show Must Go On

At 9.00pm this evening, Portland SAR Helicopter base will close its doors one final time and decades of SAR operations from Portland will come to an end.

You will read in the local press all about the rescues that the flight has performed in its time, you will read about the professionalism of the crews and you will read that SAR operations will be hampered by this move.

Rescue 106 from Portland lowers its paramedic winchman near Anvil Point, Oct 2016
We would echo the praise that has been heaped on the crews over the years, and it has been a pleasure to work with them all. However, its worth setting the record straight how incidents will be managed in Swanage from now on.

Firstly, we will still have helicopter cover.  The nearest helicopter will come from Lee on Solent where there has been a base for many years and with whom we have worked many times. In fact, Lee on Solent has recently upgraded from an AW139 which it has used for around 10 years to a larger, faster AW189 which is on call 24/7.  Portland only ever operated during the day, and not at night. At busy times back up will be provided by HM Coastguard helicopters from Cardiff or Newquay.

Rescue 104 from Lee on Solent working with the team near Langton Matravers, Sep 2016

Secondly, as a Coastguard Rescue Team we are aware that we may be called to carry out more cliff rescues than before - that's fine - that's what we train for!  In the last 6 months alone we have rescued 5 people and a dog from over cliffs, so we know the ropes if you'll excuse the pun.  Earlier this month, four of our cliff technicians spent a day training on more tricky scenarios than we'd usually train for, just to push our skill levels that bit higher.  We're a volunteer team, but we are on call 24/7.

 Coastguard recovery of an unconscious climber hanging in his harness - training exercise, June 2016

Finally, Swanage RNLI took delivery of  brand new boat last year - a Shannon class which can operate at twice the speed and over twice the range of the Mersey class it replaced, giving an excellent on the water rescue capability. There's also an inshore 'D-class' boat at Swanage so we are well catered for there.

Shannon Class 13-13 'George Thomas Lacy' arrived in Swanage in April 2016

All of this is backed up by the watchful eyes of the National Coastwatch Institute volunteers who monitor the bay and passing vessels from dawn to dusk.
Members of our Coastguard Team at the NCI's Coastwatch Lookout getting 'eyes on'.

Working together - CG Helicopter, Coastguard Rescue Service, RNLI and Police at Studland, August 2016