Sunday, 29 November 2015

Presentation to National Coast Watch

A couple of weeks ago we gave a presentation to the volunteers of The National Coastwatch Institution of Peveril Point.

We have a very close working relationship with NCI as they a vital declared facility to HM Coastguard.

It gave us great pleasure to present 4 new watch keepers with their certificates of competence.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Washed up

Whilst our colleagues in the Scilly Isles have been dealing with part of an American Space Rocket here in Swanage we couldn't quite beat that although last week when we were called to the washed up speed boat we found this too.

Ok so it's not a space rocket ..... Just the remains of a laser sailing dinghy.

Sadly at the time we couldn't recover either the speed boat or the sailing dinghy as the parts are too large. We will let the land owners know or if the owners can be traced they may be responsible for the clean up.

Many things get washed up and some are more hazardous that other items. If your not sure what the item is dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Weather Warning

Met Office Warnings Issued For:Dorset

  1. Yellow warning of wind

    0900 on Sat 28 November
    1800 on Sun 29 November
    A blustery weekend is expected across England and Wales with winds strengthening from the west on Saturday morning. Gusts around coastlines exposed to the westerly or southwesterly winds could reach 60 mph at times. Inland gusts will be less frequent but could still reach 50 to 55 mph. Further strengthening from the west is expected on Sunday where gusts around western coasts could locally reach 70 mph. Elsewhere gusts of 60 mph are possible, particularly in western areas. 

    Please be aware of the potential for some disruption due to the strong winds.

Coastguard Rescue Officers - This is What We Do

Every day this week, we've shown you some photos from our cliff training session last Sunday. This video shows a little more about what we do and how we do it. 

 Could you??

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Happy Faces

Whilst we take our roles as volunteer Coastguard Officers seriously, its also good to enjoy ourselves as we go about our work.  These photos were taken at our cliff rescue training session last weekend.

The weather on the Friday and Saturday had turned bitterly cold with a biting wind and there was an overnight frost on the Saturday.  But, by the time Sunday arrived, the wind had dropped right off and we were treated to a glorious late November morning.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015


Some good news from our training on Sunday; Allan, our SCOO (Senior Coastal Operations Officer), having let Kerry run the session, decided that she had demonstrated all the competencies to be approved as an OIC, or Officer in Charge.

That's great news for the team, as Kerry is something of an expert on rope rescue systems, being both a climber and a trainer of ropes course instructors, amongst other outdoorsy adventurey type things.

Well done Kerry!

Kerry and the SCOO discussing OIC-type stuff on Sunday

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Edge Safety Officer

The Edge Safety Officer has a pivotal role in all our rope exercises - whether training or for real.

When we arrive at a rescue, a holdfast will be set up (consisting of two or more stakes driven into the ground as an anchor point for a safety rope) to allow an Edge Safety Officer to get to the edge of the cliff safely.  The ESO will try to make visual or verbal contact with the casualty and will assess the situation and report back to the Officer in Charge (OIC) and Rope Technician who will then decide how the rescue is to be achieved.

The ESOs (we deploy two) are the key link between the technician and casualty at the bottom of the cliff and the team of Rope Operators at the top of the cliff.  Their role includes:

  • identifying, monitoring and reassuring the casualty
  • reporting back key information to the cliff top team
  • installing the 'quadpod' to ease the route of the ropes over the cliff edge
  • final safety checks on the Rope Technician before deployment (there will have already been initial checks on the cliff top)
  • assistance to the technician getting over the edge and identification of any loose rocks, ledges or other difficulties that he may encounter on the way down.
  • relaying information between the operators and the technician and controlling the operation by voice, radio, hand signals or whistle signals
  • assistance to the technician in returning a casualty to the cliff top (eg helping with the stretcher as it comes over the top.
  • ensuring the technician and casualty are securely back in the safety zone before the recovery is considered completed and the lines are locked off.

The Edge Safety Officer should be an approved Rope Technician so that he (or she!) has the skills to advise / assist the technician and can take over if the need should ever arise.

ESOs check and assist the rope technician as he goes over the cliff edge

The view the Rope Operators get. In this case the signals - a winding motion upwards - are to take in the lines 

The view the Rope Technician gets.  The white canvas is edge protection for the safety rope (blue in this case) to prevent it getting damaged on the cliff edge.  The main line(red) goes through the quadpod system.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Getting it Right

Yesterday's rope rescue training session was important because we haven't had  a 'cliff job' for a few weeks now.  Whilst that's good in one way (no-one wants to hear of people in distress or danger!), it does however mean that we need to keep training, and working hard, to keep our skill levels up.

The SCOO and OIC discuss an 'accompanied descent' with the cliff technician

The Cliff Technician - our very own Station Officer - checks his kit, and adds an alpine butterfly knot into the system to create a safety attachment point for the colleague he'll be taking over the cliff with him

At the cliff top, the team of Rope Rescue Operators double-check the line control system is rigged correctly before the technician is deployed.

Everything we do has to be done safely, and whether training or for real, there will be a number of checks and double checks before an operation can commence and whilst it is in progress.  The kit is also checked as we put it away, so we know it is safe for the next time.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Team Training

This morning the team headed out to do some cliff training.

During the week we will show you the photos from the exercise.

1st job was to bring the equipment to the "dump". The vehicle and trailer couldn't get to the scene ( it could if we wanted too but the ground was very wet)

Allan our SCOO was on hand to watch events and continually assess and develop the team.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Slip watch

The patrols this week checked the state of the cliffs from Shore Road to Ballard.

This bit of cliff under the Grand has slipped forward tipping a wall and railings forward .