Sunday 10th May saw DVSD handler Dave Marsh and Mike Dermody [both members of SARDA Ireland North] travelling to the coast of Lancashire for an informal visit to H M Coastguard Knott End. Alongside Dave and Mike were Sasha and Quincy
The two handlers met with Officer in Charge Tony Johnson and during the course of the morning OIC John Bradbury [from Morecambe station] joined in the meeting. John’s son Adam popped in briefly to say ‘Hello’ [due to a pre- arranged meeting], mainly to introduce himself [he is Station Officer in Charge at Knott End].
They were given a guided tour of the station, looking at the numerous pieces of equipment which the Coastguard use – including ropes, lighting, communications, transport and PPE. What struck Dave was the similarity and familiarity in everything they were shown. The outstanding point was the wear and tear of their equipment.
This was primarily due to the fact that this particular coastguard station covers the second largest coastal area in the UK and as such responds to well over 160 call outs per year, resulting in high wear to everything that is employed for search and rescue purposes.
Many people think the coastguard is a charitable organisation, which is far from the truth, as it is government funded and like all government sectors, has suffered massively with the cutbacks of their budgets.
Once the base tour was completed, both handlers held an in depth discussion regarding inter operational strategies where each could assist and complement the other.
Tony outlined the history of the base, command structure, types of call outs and the different methods employed to prosecute these searches. Inter agency working was paramount, with the coastguard working with and alongside Police, Fire and Rescue, RNLI, Heysham Power Station Police, our sister team in Lancashire – Bowland Pennine, members of the public [including Hotel owners, house owners etc] and also with the captains and crews of the many passing vessels in the area.
Discussion included the many boat landing areas which were pinpointed on the various maps used. It was decided to continue forming this working relationship with Dave and Mike being given a conducted guided tour of these landing sites at a future date, which will come in handy regarding operational activities.
Thanks were proffered to Tony and John for their time and hospitality and it is hoped future meetings will take place as well as operational searches.