HM Coastguard and the RNLI warn people to consider coastal dangers ahead of half-term break

As schools in England and Wales prepare for the half-term break, HM Coastguard and the RNLI are reminding everyone to stay safe if they are heading to the coast as the autumn sets in. Autumn is a perfect time to explore the coastal areas around the UK, the summer crowds have gone and the weather is ideal for a walk. However, the sunshine can quickly vanish making the temperature much colder and the lifeguards who were present in peak season are no longer on most beaches. It is vital at this time of year to be prepared before you head to the coast.   Make sure you check the weather and tides before heading out, wear appropriate footwear and clothing for your activity, know the sea conditions and stick to coastal paths. Also, carry a mobile phone so that you have a way of making contact in an emergency and make sure you tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.   Cliffs can be more unstable than they look, and cliff falls or landslides can happen without warning. Ta

If you're unsure of the sea conditions, trust your instincts and stay out

'If in doubt, stay out' is the message from one young surfer who had to be rescued when a day’s surfing went wrong on the  N orth Cornish coast.   Ella Baston  had been  successfully  trying her hand at  surfing  while on holiday with friends.   But on her third outing ,  it went wrong…   R ecal ling  the events of May 28 , Ella  hope s   her   story  may prevent others from being seriously injured or losing their lives.   When Ella and her friends arrived at  Porthcothan  Beach they looked out for the area of water marked as safe and made sure they were within sight of the lifeguard.  A decision  she would later be  very  grateful for. Ella said: “I struggled with my board to get over the whitewash and out to the waves. I was walking with my board and hadn’t  realised  we had drifted away from  between the  flag s marking the safe swimming area  and towards the rocks until I heard one of my other friends shouting out to me.   “All of a sudden my boyfriend was thrown by a wave

Dramatic rescue as kayaker in difficulty is winched to safety from rocks

A kayaker was dramatically winched to safety in challenging white-water conditions by the HM Coastguard helicopter from Inverness on Wednesday (12 October). Aberdeen Coastguard received a report – at approximately 6pm that evening – saying that the man was in difficulty and had suffered an injury, possibly a broken leg, near to Invermoriston, a small village in the Scottish Highlands. The search and rescue (SAR) helicopter from Inverness was quickly sent to the scene to attend to the man, who had been kayaking in fast-flowing rapids. Inverness Coastguard Rescue Team and the RNLI lifeboat from Loch Ness were also called to support, and to provide additional assistance. On arrival, the helicopter managed to locate the man – who had moved to a rocky and more stable area beside the stream of water flow – with the aid of onboard cameras, before lowering the aircraft’s winchman SAR paramedic down with a stretcher to meet the kayaker.  The man was winched into the aircraft and taken to Raigmo

International Control Room Week: What does it take to work in HM Coastguard's operations room?

Have you ever been in a HM Coastguard control room? Have you ever seen what happens in the room where lives hang in the balance, where one decision can fundamentally change the outcome of a search and where some of the hardest decisions are made? This International Control Room Week, we want to give everyone a chance to learn a little bit about what it takes to work in one of our operations rooms and provide some insight into the difficult but vital work they do. And to express our gratitude for that. The control room at the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre                                                                                               Picture by MCA Nicola Davies, Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Commander at Milford Haven, said the work of control room staff is 'incredibly stressful but also incredibly rewarding' while Maritime Operations Officer Laura Kay highlighted the need to rely on the support and camaraderie of her fellow operations room colleagues. &q

Fisherman issues stark warning after overboard brush with death

A commercial fisherman has issued a simple but life-saving message to his fellow crewmen after he fell overboard: ‘A lifejacket and PLB [a locator beacon] saved my life, wear them’. It had started out as an ordinary working day for Paul, who got up, got dressed ready for a day out at sea and headed down to Plymouth Harbour to meet captain Gordon. They both got on-board the Sidney Rose, and then set off for a normal day casting their nets. There was nothing to suggest it was about to become one of the scariest – and fortunate – days of Paul's life. Oceanic Drifters director Ben Squire and fisherman Paul Reed are happy to share what they learned about the importance of the safety equipment following Paul's overboard ordeal But the smallest of slips turned Paul’s ordinary day into an overboard ordeal that he only came through because of the smartest decision he has ever made, to grab his lifejacket –equipped with a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) – before going out on deck. If he ha

"Don't try and cope on your own": Coastguard Alex urges people to talk following own struggles with tragic outcome

In August 2020, off-duty coastguard Alex Hill was at Barmouth Beach when the worst happened in front of him. A father trying to help his children who were in difficulty in the sea got into trouble himself – and was lost beneath the waves. As one of those who usually receives the call in the maritime rescue coordination centre, Alex didn’t hesitate and called 999 for help. Once he knew the coastguard volunteers and the local lifeboat were in place, he went into the water with two beach wardens, to rescue the two children and their father. Despite their efforts and those of the emergency responders, the father sadly died. Alex remembers it well. He also remembers having to relive the rescue time and again for the police and the subsequent Coroner’s inquest. Being called to the Coroner’s court brought it all back again for him. Alex Hill has revealed his own anxious moments as he urges others to talk about their concerns “Being called as a witness to talk about my involvement made me very

World Animal Day 2021: Helping our furry and aquatic friends

Who wouldn’t want to help two seals as cute as Kane and Southgate when they became stranded on a beach on the South East  coast? Or try to help the four dolphins who lost their way in the far reaches of Scotland? It’s World Animal Day and we wanted to re mind you of just a few of the times our Coastguard Rescue Teams have gone above and beyond to help our furry and aquatic friends this year.   Some of HM Coastguard's aquatic pals (left to right): Girly the tortoise, Kane the seal pup, two beached dolphins (photo by BDMLR) and both Kane and Southgate together   It’s not our purpose – which is to prevent the loss of human life on the coast and at sea – but we always try to help if we can. We also understand that if we don’t step in, someone else might, and we don’t want to see anyone, including the animal, getting hurt trying.     So, where possible, we have responded to calls across the UK about injured animals, working with the RSPCA, BDMLR and many others to ensure every living be