The Ventnor Coastguard team is one of three Coastguard Rescue Teams on the Isle of Wight. Additional to this, there are two Initial Response teams, being Newport and Ryde.
We are based on the south coast of the island and our 'patch' is from Rocken End, Blackgang to Sandown Pier. This area consists of different sized cliffs, beaches (that attract a lot of tourists) and Ventnor Haven, which is a small harbour. A lot of our area is inaccessible and access points are often restricted for us, which means we have to carry a lot of our equipment to where the incident is.
Ventnor Coastguard consists of 12 team members, who all come from a variety of occupations and backgrounds. Two of our team members have gained a long service medal for 20 years service.
Although we are a cliff rescue team, from 2008 we became an Enhanced Coastal Rescue Team. This means that we will be responsible for cliff, search and rescue and mud rescue work.
We are proud of our station as it is central in our patch and has a lot space. The new station has been operational since 2000 and we have dedicated a page on the site to our station and more information can be found by clicking HERE.
We currently train every Thursday evening and occasionally weekend training dates which are often done with all the island Coastguard teams.
Our Training consists of various competencies which have to be obtained to ensure professionalism.
Examples of these competencies are: cliff rescue, search techniques, communications, helicopter landing sites, multi-agency training e.g with paramedic units, local lifeboats and mud rescue.
Within our patch there is one lifeboat station being Sandown and Shanklin Inshore Lifeboat (SSLB). The station is based a few hundred yards west to Sandown Pier.
Another job of our team is to carry out patrols, which are done by all of the team as and when they want to. The aim of doing this is to keep a public presence and keep an eye on what is going on, particularly in the summer when our beaches are full of tourists. Lifebelts and emergency telephones are also checked to make sure they are working properly.
The team carry pagers that work on VHF channel 0 and can go off at any time during the day. We are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our team are not always within our patch due to work commitments so if our pagers go off, we have to leave work to attend the incident. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our employers for the support and understanding if we have to leave work without any notice.
The call can be for anything, from a person who may have fallen over one of our cliffs to helping a Cow that may have become stuck in a field. For more detailed information on what we do, see our 'Call Outs' page to see what incidents we have had.
Sometimes, if the incident is relatively minor, we will not get paged and Solent Coastguard will just call our Station Officer (Dave Butler). He knows roughly where the team are throughout the day and will contact the relevant members to go to the call.
Solent Coastguard are our Maritime Rescue Sub Centre who are in control of the incident. They are responsible for receiving the 999 call and tasking the relevant teams. When we get on scene, our first job is to let Solent know and give them information on the incident. If there is a first informant, we will talk to them and get as much information as possible to make a decision on how to proceed. If we require any other teams (Needles or Bembridge), a Coastguard Helicopter or Lifeboat, a radio call is made to Solent who will task the required team.
Our radio works on VHF channel 0 which is the main Coastguard working channel. There is also another working channel which is 67 and is used if channel 0 is busy. This is often the case during the summer months, especially on the Round the Island Yacht race day in June. Channel 16 is the distress channel for shipping to report any pan pan or mayday calls. Channel 23 in our area is used for Solent to broadcast weather warnings every four hours. Finally, channel 99 is used by the team and is only available to the Coastguard. This is used mainly for when the team is training to communicate amongst each other. Every team member has a handheld radio which work well in most of our patch and messages can be relayed to Solent quite easily. There is also a VHF radio in the vehicle.
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The views expressed in this website are those of the Ventnor Coastguard Team and may not reflect those of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency
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