Coastguards seek new recruits

A coastguard officer goes over a cliff edge. Picture by John Tuttiett.
A coastguard officer goes over a cliff edge. Picture by John Tuttiett.

They are the fourth emergency service; the heroes of the sea.

And now the Coastguard in south east Northumberland is on the look out for people to join in them as they work to keep people enjoying the county’s coastline safe.

Along the coast there are dedicated teams of volunteers on call 24 hours a day ready to respond to their pagers in the event of coastal emergencies, controlled by a network of full time Coastguard rescue centres who have at their disposal specialist rescue teams, lifeboats and helicopters.

Coastguard teams in Blyth and Newbiggin are looking to recruit new members who are willing to make a long term commitment to becoming a Coastguard Rescue Officer.

Two special events have been planned at Blyth and Newbiggin this coming weekend, Saturday, August 1, at Blyth, and Sunday August 2, at Newbiggin, when current team members will be on hand to explain the roll of a CRO.

The Blyth team will be at South Beach, near the Links Car Park on Saturday and the Newbiggin Team at Church Point, near the Maritime Centre on Sunday, both events running from 11am until 3pm.

Greg Albrighton, area commander, said: “We expect a high level of commitment from all our Coast Rescue Officers (CRO), both in terms of regular attendance at training sessions and response to incidents.

“Coastguard rescue teams are on-call on a 24-hours basis, which means making sacrifices in their personal lives.

“We also encourage employers to allow CROs to leave the workplace to attend incidents, when necessary.”

It is important that CROs have some daytime availability.

“They should live and work within reasonable travelling distance of the rescue station, with own transport being essential.”

The Coastguard teams can be called on to carry out a variety of tasks including cliff rescues of both people and animals, water rescues, searches for missing persons, people cut off and stranded by the tide, small craft in difficulties and explosive ordnance, (discarded or washed up marine flares and old wartime munitions) when they will set up a cordon awaiting a disposal team from the military, or manning a helicopter landing site at a hospital.

The teams also play a key role in preventing loss of life at sea by carrying out safety talks to community groups and organisations and by carrying out regular coastal patrols.

Anyone who is interested in joining the Coastguard should go to one of the events or email Area5@mcga.gov.uk for further details.