Mablethorpe Coastguard Rescue Team

Mablethorpe Coastguard Rescue Team

It is that time of the month again, the perfect time to be introduced to another of our heroic Coastguard Rescue Teams as part of our ongoing Meet Your Coastguard series.
Group of Mablethorpe team members standing in their wet weather gear and blue helmets

This time, we are introducing you to the Mablethorpe Coastguard Rescue Team.

They are based in Lincolnshire and the team cover an area of coastline approximately 20 miles long, from South of Saltfleetby Haven to North of the North Sea Observatory.

The team is made up of 13 people, ranging in age from early 30s to 70s - a really varied group.

This edition sees the combined responses from the team.

Who makes up the team?

Kev Corner [Station officer], Ramon Ward [Deputy station officer], Phil Hargreaves, Ben Smith, Michael (Simmo) Simpson, Kevin Blurton, Mike Brown, Steve Campling, Charlie Lister, Claire Arnold - who recently told her story of joining the service, Howard Turner, Paul Hills and Kane Guerin.

What is the most unusual incident you have attended?

We were sent to a report that a dog had run into the sea and was in trouble. Although we do not usually attend these incidents (we do not rescue animals), the owner was contemplating going in after the animal, so we decided that would lead to a bigger risk. 

We set up a spotting team and had a lifeboat come to help but, after about 45 minutes, there was still no sign of the dog while our search party had gained quite a few new members. As well as the Coastguard officers, there were now four or five horses and riders patrolling the beach, as well as surf boarders and a group on the observatory deck.

It wasn't looking good though, after an hour there had been no positive sighting but, as dog lovers, we didn't want to stop so decided to carry on a bit - I think the owners had given up even. There was a really sad atmosphere starting to build.

Until, suddenly, we got news that a dog had been spotted on the shoreline. Hope was sparked again as Ben and Paul rushed to the scene, with the help of our lifeboat colleagues, found the beloved pet and tried to catch him to return him home.

Cue: Nothing short of a Carry On film.

The animal ran rings around us, I only wish we could have filmed it and then added the music. A very sad story suddenly became one of our funniest.

Eventually, the dog was caught and we notified the owners to come and confirm it was their pet, as they arrived a party was forming on the observatory deck, confirmation was made and hugs and kisses were handed out freely to the team. 

On the deck, applause and an abundance of wine was being distributed, for the team a simple little outing turned into a very public service - including a touch of humour - which had an even better ending.

What is the most unusual place you’ve been when your pager has gone off?

Most of us have been in the shower or shopping, some even out for a meal, but Kev beats them all hands down.

He was at work as a refuse collector and turned up to a shout in his refuse wagon, yellow lights flashing with the rest of the bin men in the back, that's dedication!

What is the most challenging part of your role?

It has to be dealing with highly vulnerable individuals and the heartbreak of self-harm. We are so often a part of the same community, we live locally, and some of these people are known to us; that makes it even harder, we know their families. We are here to help and when we can't, that hurts.

Please know that there are people to help if you're feeling down, don't suffer in silence.

Visit the Samaritans website for resources to help.

Which local beach is your favourite and why?

We all have our own personal preference, but as a whole Huttoft Terrace takes some beating, you can drive right up to the beach itself, and there's always some kind of water sports happening, but we do also get a fair few incidents in this area.

I would recommend one of the RNLI lifeguarded beaches at Mablethorpe or Sutton-on-Sea.

Three images of the Mablethorpe team together, featured outdoors in their overalls and blue uniform in the garage

Why did you join HM Coastguard?

We all seem to be agreed that it is to give something back to our community, to volunteer for anything is a generous act, but to be able to help someone whilst doing it is very satisfying and rewarding.

What do you enjoy most about being a member of the team?

To most of us, it just comes down to having an extended family and friendships, learning new skills is always easier when you have your team around you, and the mickey-taking and banter puts everyone at ease.

What new skills have you learned as a CRO?

In the early days of joining, the first skill we are all taught is tea making. Followed only then by vehicle polishing and cleaning, under the supervision of Phil.

Professionally, perhaps the best skill the team has is working as a team, we all have the same competencies and training in water rescue but we work to our strengths and weaknesses. Simmo is absolutely our 'water baby' though.

When you’re not working or volunteering as a CRO, what do you enjoy doing?

We between us have a range of varied tastes and hobbies, beer tasting is quite high up, but anything from shooting, fishing(kev and Ray), a few (Phil and Ben) enjoy cruising, others football and sports, arts, but for the most it is family time.

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