Mark Edwards HM Coastguard
Mark Edwards, one of our wonderful Immingham tanker drivers has been providing search and rescue services for the HM Coastguard for over 22 years. We’ve spoken to Mark to find out more about his story…
“HM Coastguard have been providing search and rescue around Britain’s shores for 200 years. Whilst originally all full time the service has changed and over time the need for fully manned stations with auxiliaries to assist with the rocket apparatus in emergency has declined with increase in powered lifeboats and more capable helicopters.
Now the only full-time coastguards are our training officers / managers and the personnel in the MRCCs (maritime rescue coordination centres) around the country, ours is at Bridlington and is named Humber, controlling all operations between the Tyne and the Thames.
Lincolnshire now has 2 full time officers with all other coastguards being volunteers.
I’ve been a serving coastguard for over 22 years now and belong to Donna Nook Coastguard Rescue Team based in North Somercotes.
I am currently the longest serving member on the team and believe 3rd longest serving member in Lincolnshire (goes to prove I really am stupid !)
I am one of the teams OICs (officer in charge) so I am qualified to take charge and command including other emergency services if they attend “our” incident. To be OIC you have to take ongoing assessments on technical rescue (water and mud) and search planning to ensure you are competent as you may be called to explain you’re decision in a coroner’s court.
All coastguards are trained in advanced first aid, communications, water rescue techniques , search methods (OICs in planning using system the police now use), working with helicopters and setting up emergency landing sites, blue light response, off road driving and skills applicable to individual guards … in our case mud rescue and awareness/care of unexploded ordnance (Donna Nook is also an air weapons range).
We are a class 1 responder so are on the 999 call list.
We are often called to back up other emergency services whether to transport firemen and kit to hard to reach places, helping the ambulance service extricate casualties from awkward places or stop the clock at a medical emergency until an ambulance can attend, taking district nurses to patients in bad weather conditions or assisting the police in searches for missing persons or recovering bodies from the mud .
We are on call all the time. While not at work we carry channel 0 vhf radio pagers but also have a tasking and alerting system that sends a message to our mobile phones as well as an email.
We get called out at all times of the day or night and nothing worse than a long week at work, go to bed early on Friday to have a good lay in and the pager go at 1am, get back into bed for 4 am and it go again 7 am!!!! ( it happens , believe me ðŸ˜¢)
We work closely with the RNLI and most of us have at some time been out with them.
Being a coastguard can be tiring, hard, stressful and the amount of family occasions I’ve missed/ had to run out of I’ve lost count but the adrenaline rush and sense of achievement when you know you’ve saved someone’s life or stopped them from taking it makes it worthwhile.
The Coastguard is like a family and wherever I go around the country (or countries) if I call at a coastguard station I’m guaranteed a brew and guide to the area (wine if in Greece) and we do the same to lads visiting.
Finally, I’m now getting a bit long in the tooth and due to the physical demands I guess I’ve only got another few years in me but they’ll have to take me out the station kicking and screaming as it’s a way of life and one I know I’d really miss.”
Mark really is incredible, taking the time to do all of this volunteering and turn up to work every day. On behalf of everyone we thank you for your service and the remarkable work you and the coastguard team do.