Diving is one of the safest recreational activities, if the rules are followed properly. However, sometimes unexpected situations can occur, in which the emergency services are required. We were lucky enough to see the HM coastguard base in Portland on the 25th June, just a few days before it shut down.
We were warmly welcomed into the base, and shown around the communal areas where the staff can wait for emergency calls during their shift. After, we were taken into the back where the helicopters are kept, which were a lot larger than we thought. One of the pilots, Jerry Tribe kindly allowed us to sit in the cockpit and explained the extensive safety checks and the basics of how to fly a helicopter. He also explained the more details about the helicopter itself, including the physics behind it, fuel consumption and he pointed out where all of the external cameras were. Fraser Rowbotham sat with us in the main cab and showed us where all the medical equipment was, and the procedures followed when rescuing someone, including how they use the winch system. He showed us the equipment used to rescue someone at sea, and how he would attach them to it to safely elevate them into the helicopter.
To finish off this memorable day we took some photos, which you can see below, and we even managed to see the helicopter take off as they were off to do some practice using the winch offshore.
Lastly we’d like to thank Fraser, Jerry and to the rest of the staff at the HM coastguard for such a great day!