Rob Dove is one of four foreshore inspectors based at the Councils' Beach Office on Worthing seafront.
Rob previously served almost five years as an Infantryman on helicopter assault with 1 Squadron, as a machine gunner (GPMG) and team medic. He was deployed on two tours of Helmand Afghanistan and two campaigns in Libya.
Now 10 months in to the role of Foreshore Inspector, his forces background has him well prepared me for the diverse and challenging nature of the job!
You can read Rob's current 2018 blog posts on this page below
When the sun is hot and high in the Worthing sky, and the sea is as flat as glass and you can see every ripple, it's natural to be drawn to it and feel the need to explore this endless space.
Entering onto this unfamiliar surface is fascinating - being able to see the sand, flint and kelp habitat beneath, with mackerel, garfish and mullet shoaling below you. It's only possible on those perfect days when a few natural factors come together.
Paddle boarding and kayaking are proving the most popular way to achieve this magical experience, in many cases along with canine companions!
Although recently, watching our coastline through my binoculars, I've noticed a common, worrying pattern occurring with a lack of 'self preservation' prevailing.
Maybe they are seen as un-fashionable, bulky or too expensive, or just unintentionally missed off the list, but a buoyancy-aid or lifejacket will save your life and your pets should the worst happen!
I'm witnessing far too many venturing out without one; it's not a reflection on your water skills; it's just essential survival kit to make sure you can return and enjoy the sport again and again. Situations can occur on paddleboards and kayaks that are out of your control and which will leave you glad you had one. These are some of those situations:
- An offshore wind can develop and push you further out, or off the craft altogether
- Collisions or wake from other vessels could unintentionally put you in the water and away from your craft
- Leg injury especially on paddle boards from falling into the water on the shallow seabed could restrict you getting back up on your board
- Your dog could enter the water and run out of energy due to the depth or cold water
- The list goes on ...
I appreciate paddle boards have a leash, but the water is cold all year round and injuries, hypothermia and fatigue can occur quickly.
Many styles for man and dog are available and cost can fluctuate, but lifesaving kit shouldn't be brought on a 'cheap is best' basis.
Our dog Penny loves hers and she's modelling it in the photo for you!
For fishing kayakers, buoyancy aids are available with this in mind and have extra pockets and room for traces, weights and knife etc. Be sure to check them out.
Once you have the kit you'll have the piece of mind too that if the worst should happen, you're both covered as best you can be before one of our safety vessels from the Beach office team can assist you.
It's not worth the risk or loss guys. Now get back out there and paddle further and fish harder :)
Photo: Our kayaks and paddle boards on the beach
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It's been all hands on deck this week as we've had some new faces in the Beach Office. Yes, our seasonal staff have commenced their initial mini basic training programme!
The new cohort have been super spoilt so far - no speed marches or time on the firing range though; just lots of foot patrols around the seafront and the launching of throwlines as we hone their skills to a level of competency we are happy with before they begin providing Worthing and the surrounding areas with a superb Council-funded Foreshore and rescue service.
Over the years techniques and standard operating procedures (SOP's) change or update and its essential we keep up to date with the changes and deliver appropriately.
Myself and my colleagues are all competent Royal Yachting Association instructors and have been delivering a multitude of lessons to them. These include:
- The expectations of a seasonal boat operator (SBO)
- VHF radio voice procedure
- All-terrain vehicle (ATV) theory and practical training
- Water safety patrols
- Byelaw knowledge and enforcement procedure
- The list goes on ...
At the Beach office all our staff pride themselves on their knowledge and professionalism and as a result we have some well-rehearsed 'core values' for all staff and new recruits to abide by. These are Etiquette, Professionalism, Robustness and Attention to Detail.
All of our seasonal staff for the 2018 summer season have worked for us in past years at some point, therefore their knowledge is already at a good level - although constant on-going training will be delivered throughout their time with us.
Their start day on the past Bank Holiday Monday somewhat threw them in at the deep end, with our local beaches being the busiest I've ever witnessed them as the wind, tide and heat levels failed to disappoint.
On days like these this is where everyone benefits from the frontline service we provide from the Beach Office.
With our ranks bolstered by our seasonal staff, our mobile and waterborne, overt reconnaissance patrols can cover more ground more often and respond quicker as a result.
Becoming a Seasonal Beach Officer at the Beach Office is an excellent opportunity for the right candidate.
The skills you will learn and developmental exercises you will participate in will enhance your CV and act as an ideal platform to enter into either the maritime, safety or public sector.
If you feel this could be you and you would relish the opportunity, be sure to apply in February 2019 via the Adur & Worthing Council website.
And remember, call us on 01903 238977 or flag us down if you require:
- First aid treatment
- Water safety response
- Land based shoreline response
- Environmental concerns
- Byelaw enforcement
Be it land or sea we'll have it covered.
Photo: One of our safety boats and some of our safety equipment
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- Heene Road & Splashpoint and;
- From Worthing sailing club to Alinora boat ramp all the way down to the low tide mark
- Tiring them out - the resistance from the water will make them sleep like a log once the trip is over;
- A trip to the beach is so stimulating to the canine mind, the smell and textures will be so different to that of grassland;
- On a hot day, the cooling water means dogs cool off the pads of their feet.
As with any typically English coastal town, Worthing has always had a fascination and a practical use for flags.
Our fishing vessels use them for marking their nets and pots, our passing pleasure and commercial craft, and rowing clubs occasionally use an array of colourful signal flags to communicate between themselves. And lastly our array of awards fly high and proud in our parks and seafront.
As a town with its beginning originating from the sea, it’s only right we keep the colours flying.
Since 25 March 2008, the Government decided to give UK Government departments the freedom to fly the Union Flag on their buildings whenever they choose to. Have you noticed that there's always a Union Jack flying from the Town hall near our war memorial?
It's our job as Foreshore inspectors to place and maintain the flying of the flags along the seafront. It’s always great to see them up; it really is a sign of the start of summer for us!
We aim to create a fresh and diverse theme every year for our 1930s art deco Pier. 2017 saw signal flags spelling out 'Worthing' and for 2018 we'll be be flying county flags from around the UK.
Every year all of the flags we fly have been generously donated to the town by Worthing residents and businesses. Your generosity doesn't go unnoticed - a big thank you to you all.
All of those who donate to our flag appeal will be mentioned in the Worthing Journal's roll of honour.
This year we in Worthing are flying other county flags with pride. I would personally like to see a flag of Wessex, with the Wyvern on the red background flown on the flagpole at Splashpoint. Our town of Worthing was once a small English Saxon fishing village in the kingdom of Sussex, later to be annexed into the mighty Wessex, so I feel it’s only fitting to fly a flag that is hugely engrained in our local history in what I see as one of our prime locations.
If you would like to donate towards the £124.24 needed or purchase the Wessex flag outright so we can fly it high and proud in the sunshine, please contact the below
Paul Holden: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beach Office: Beach.email@example.com / 01903 238977
Photo: The Wessex Flag Rob Dove, Foreshore Inspector, would love to see outside Worthing's Splashpoint
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I'm the first to appreciate a Spring clear-out ... especially if its around 3.5 tonnes! That was the weight of unwanted netting, pots, timber and general fishing waste we took off the hands of our Worthing fishermen on Saturday.
You may have noticed how the fishing zones look a little more regimented in recent days!
Here at the Beach office us Foreshore inspectors agreed a fresh outlook for accommodating our fishermen was needed. We were concerned of the amount of unwanted fishing gear accumulating at the' boat zones' and the environmental and human hazard issues this may cause, along with the serviceability of boats on the beach.
I am the first to see the need in helping our local fishermen - they play an important role in preserving Worthing's maritime heritage with their traditional 'gill net' fishing and fiberglass boats based on older wooden clinker designs of years gone by.
Photo: One of the fishing boats on Worthing Beach
Some local historical names in Worthing's fishing heritage still fish here off of our town such as the Brownriggs, Phillips, Bashfords, Bookers and Marchants to name a few.
I was tasked to head up fisheries for the foreseeable, this being a huge interest of mine I was more than happy to. We have built further good relations with our fishermen and Worthing fishermen's society, who accommodate our beach based fishermen, by attending their AGM in March.
One major area of feedback from this meeting was the need to dispose of items, to see the 'wood for the trees' so to speak. The date was then set and we actioned what was a hugely successful day once all the heavy lifting was over!
Since the clean-up I have started conducting a survey of all locker sites and craft condition from east to west, informing our fishermen of work required along the way and ensuring it's complete.
The co-operation from our fishermen has been humbling; all are focused on improving the aesthetic look of their locker sites and becoming more productive as a result, knowing that we at the Beach Office are here to help them in many ways should they require it.
As the era of 'locally sourced' food is upon us, please find the time to make a passing trip to any of our fishermen actively selling along our coastline; keep an eye out for selling boards and flags. These guys need our support, once we can secure this for them, everyone is helping preserve a local way of life and securing our English fishing heritage here in Worthing for years to come.
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Three heavy plant machines graced our beach earlier this week. These jumbo 'Tonka' toys made easy work of eating into and lowering our beach to expose our wooden launch ramp.
Tonnes of stones/sand was taken away, tipped and graded onto other sections of our local beach and we were one step closer to providing and mobilising our water safety services for 2018.
This event really is a milestone in our calendar and brings our imminent, busy high season ever closer.
Our safety boats will be pushed out and given some mild sunlight on top of the launch ramp over the coming days and then looked over with a fine tooth comb by the Foreshore Inspectors.
We will be checking that all the essential on-board kit and rescue equipment is where it should be and ensuring vessel serviceability, before all craft are inspected further by the MCA (Maritime & Coastguard agency).
We are well underway recruiting our seasonal staff for the oncoming busy periods. As a team we will be working hard to recruit the best applicants that have applied knowing the job can throw all sorts of situations their way; we need the most confident and robust staff.
A full ongoing in-house training package has been created by us to make this year's seasonal staff the most pro-active, efficient and confident to date in dealing with bye-law enforcement, water safety and land response. We will be actively teaching them regular refreshers in boat handling skills, first aid, VHF radio procedure, people skills and navigational markers ... just to mention a few!
Drawing on our previous competencies, we have also added a mix of bonus diverse lessons to teach our seasonal staff extra skills. One such lesson being 'Ground sign' - a skill I was well drilled in during my Regiment days - that will help our staff locate objects, look for ground disturbance and help in their awareness of the natural environment.
A big push will be made to combat plastics on our coastline, under the pier especially as well as working alongside the councils cleansing teams as and when we can sacrifice the seasonal manpower.
Don't forget that the system to 'sign out' a litter-picker and bags is now available here at the Beach office. We have a sign on the Prom advertising the fact. Please come down with friends or family and help us slow the pace of plastics washing up on our local beaches!
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Our Spring offensive on the advancing plastic enemy began this week, Monday 2nd April 2018 at 15:25 was zero hour!
Over the spell of a month we've noticed a considerable build-up of plastic cordage, domestic fishing line and commercial netting accumulate under our Pier. We have been making a big push on plastics here at the Beach office since the world has been informed and considerably educated on its ever-growing presence and adverse effects.
In just 30 minutes me and my colleague Tommy (see photo below) had accumulated a wheelie bin's worth of material from just the first two sections.
We will be pro-actively attacking the structural underside of the Pier for plastics when feasible, believing it will improve the look and reduce the hazard to Worthingites and our local marine life alike.
Overall, the beaches in our 10.5 mile stretch that we manage are a very clean, safe standard. Unfortunately we have no control over the material that washes ashore and cause us to react accordingly.
The old saying of “leave it as you found it” is still ever so applicable if you are congregating on the beach or surrounding areas and I do believe it's becoming socially unacceptable to discard litter these days, long may it continue!
Anglers need to be aware too. Being a keen angler myself, I want us to be all over this issue. If you snag your trace or line under the pier please collect it - if it's close to the seabed, safe to do so and you can access it easily by standing firm - if not, please come back to cut away and dispose of it when conditions dictate.
When we employ our seasonal beach operatives, observing for and disposing of plastic waste on our coastline will be a regular activity. I will personally be bringing my heavy duty fishing weighing scales into work and will make sure every bulk brought back to base will be weighed and I will disclose the final weight of plastic removed over the summer on the 30th September, the very last day of the season.
I have a feeling it will be a fascinating but concerning result.
Our beach cleans still run regularly so be sure to get involved, keep an eye out on the Adur & Worthing Facebook page for the next one.
I will be making it possible for everyone who wants to to be able to come into the Beach office, sign out a litter picker, grab a bag and off you go! I hope this will prove popular.
Spread the word!
Photo: Build-up of plastic cordage, domestic fishing line and commercial netting hanging under our Pier
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Not so quiet on the western or eastern front this week as we prepare for Easter and the influx of visitors to our coastline.
Whilst we finish the final kit checks and serviceability of our boats and vehicles before the start of the season, the job really can call for us at zero seconds notice and it's down tools to react!
A member of public came into the office to report that a young lady had passed out and fallen over onto the Prom and that there was lots of blood.
This was all the 'hand over' I and my colleague needed to determine what we may be dealing with.
My previous experience as part of the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) was once again brought to the surface. Our First Aid kits on the vehicles or at base contain the same response kit including large and small field dressings, plasters, sterile wipes and face shields and defibrillators to name just a few items in our arsenal.
The lady hurt had blacked out and landed with force on her face, a large deep wound was on her chin and deep grazing on her temple and cheek.
An Ambulance was called and after an initial assessment with her being conscious but in shock I used a large field dressing to lay her face upon and keep her in a recovery position for a couple of minutes before sitting her on a chair whilst carrying out a secondary assessment for further injuries.
We always ask lots of questions to assess the patient's conscious state such as name, medical history and any other necessary information we may find useful at the time.
Once the bleeding had clotted from the deep wound on her chin, I began cleaning up the blood on her face to look for any more injuries, constantly keeping an eye out for deterioration in her wellbeing.
An element I recently added to our 1st aid kits was to include a 'NATMIST' card, A5 in size and laminated to include:
N - Name
A - Age
T - Time of incident
M - Mechanism of injury
I - Injuries sustained
S - Signs & symptoms
T - Treatment given
These worked extremely well out in Afghanistan and enabled us on the ground to hand over instant facts about the patient to medics upon extraction of the casualty, ultimately saving precious time.
After applying a covered ice pack to the large swelling on her left cheek and getting some hydration into the patient, the ambulance arrived 15 minutes later and the hand over was completed, NATMIST card included!
This is just one of many First Aid incidents we attend to as Foreshore inspectors. All of us are qualified and have a vast combined experience to deliver effective treatment should you require it anywhere along our coastline.
Photo: One of our ATVs with some of our First Aid kit
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Spring is definitely coming and you can almost sense the sea warming up from its current 6.6 degrees when the gentle sunlight does show through!
Whilst on one of my daily safety patrols around the Pier - checking the rescue equipment, defibrillator, enforcing bye-laws and checking the structure as a whole - I couldn't help but notice our resident wildlife move with a more energetic pace.
The Rock doves (Columba Livia) visible beneath the decking were substantially more vocal, gathering organic debris to start making their new nests for their chicks. Did you know that 'squabs' is the official Rock dove chick terminology?!
Further down the structure, whilst checking the serviceability of the throw buoys located in their red housing and on past the central partition with the funky acrylic casting its warming colours (see photo below), I eventually come to my favourite part of our Pier; the landing stage. I think its the feeling of having a low profile to the water and its many practical uses that I like the most.
Back in the day, fast small boats used to use the speedboat jetty that annexed onto the east side of the landing stage, which has now long gone. Famous steamer vessels were regulars too such as the Worthing Belle and not so long ago the Waverley used to moor alongside the tropical Greenheart timber that makes up its weather tight, solid construction; much like the chaps who built the structure with their manual fabricating and hand tools.
With those glory days a distant memory and to help preserve the historic site for conservation reasons, mooring has ceased. From an angling point of view, its a terrific location off the main walkway away from the crowds, and low enough to the water to land that prize winning Plaice without fear of it falling off!
Whilst checking the landing stages cast iron floor plates for any shift or lifting that can occur during a large meterage of tide, I noticed a crowd gathering around me. This was no ordinary crowd but an inquisitive flock of Turnstones (Arenaria interpres) - see photo below.
These bold, super friendly birds with their mottled dark winter plumage were darting around my feet snapping at the odd Sandhopper or Kelp flies that were disturbed by my movement. Only once their bellies were full did they return to their static position on the metal floor, where a warm beam of sunlight shone. Another humbling example of how nature sometimes adapts and thrives on the impact of man made structures and how our Pier is a unique habitat in itself, both above and below the waterline.
Once I'm finished on a visual check of the pier looking underneath from the landing stage, I'm back up the steps to the decking and heading back down the other side carrying out my checks as I go.
Assessing the waterline, it's clear to see that the recent prevailing easterly winds do seem to have changed the dynamics of our sea bed somewhat.
To the west of the Pier the depositing of sediment has hidden the majority of flints and chalk below to give us a vast, usable area of sand around the sections of beach from the Beach office to Heene road. Hopefully it will last for the Easter weekend so get out and enjoy it whist you can!
PS to everyone concerned, I am still awaiting the mammal autopsy results and will let you know as soon as I have them. I predict this to be very soon. Thank you for showing an enormous interest and concern in the issue.
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16th March 2018: Two Dolphins, one porpoise and a beach clean: it's been a busy week down at the beach office!
This week has been an intriguing but slightly concerning week for our off shore wildlife.
In one week we have had three unfortunate beachings of two common short beaked Dolphins (Delphinus delphis) and one Harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena).
Another two Dolphins were also washed ashore dead in Brighton.
All three incidents in Worthing were reported to us by our ever watchful public and we are yet again very grateful for their swift action.
One solitary Dolphin washed ashore on Monday 5th of March on the section of beach near Western Road, Lancing.
The second beaching of one Dolphin and Porpoise occurred on Saturday 10th and Monday 12th. Both came ashore near Grand Avenue, Worthing.
Bizarrely enough all three showed no signs of injury or malnutrition and the weather has not been too rough to hinder their hunting for food amongst the many small Channel Whiting and cephalopods in our waters; it can only lead to one thing. My personal feeling is pollution of some description, either inhalation of oils or solvents in the water or ingestion of foreign objects, i.e plastic.
I have contacted both Littlehampton and Brighton Harbour Board and we are in agreement to contact each others service should more beachings arise and a pattern emerge.
All three incidents were rapidly dealt with by us here at the Beach Office and the councils' own hazardous waste team, who took the deceased mammals from us to their depot for collection by operatives from the natural history museum; they will then carry out an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
I am already making a pest of myself trying to gather the results and relevant information from the autopsy. As soon as I have all the information to hand I will update you all during another blog.
If the results come back as foreign object damage, this will only bolster our efforts here at the Beach Office to continue to highlight the issue of commercial and public litter on our coastlines and further help develop our community beach cleans.
On this note, on Sunday it was refreshing to see so many people involved on Worthing beach for the 'Beach Spring Clean'.
A big thank you to everyone who took part and for your true British grit when the rain threatened to dampen your morale! Good effort!
If you happen to see anything untoward on our coastline or would like to discuss the recent event, please call me or one of the team here at the Beach Office and we would happily help explain where we can.
Photo: People involved on Worthing beach for the 'Beach spring clean' in the rain and one of our ATVs
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Seconds feel like week's when you realise that you can't see your child. Most of the time you'll turn around and spot them playing hide-and-seek behind you but, occasionally they may venture a little further away.
Following an incident recently I want to use today's blog to highlight the format we follow and service we provide when a lost child or missing person situation arises.
Just last week a mother of two 3-4 year old children flagged me down as I was passing the Pier heading east on one of our routine reconnaissance patrols. Panic was setting in as the seconds went by and she could not find her son.
Staying calm I was able to receive a full description of the young boy and last seen location.
Working fast I was able to systematically sweep the area and luckily located the child on his scooter (kids disappear quickly on scooters don't they!) near the road of Splash Point. He was safely re-united with his much relived parents in no time.
Along with first-aid incidents, a missing person - or MISPER as we log it down as back at base - are common scenarios on our coastline in Worthing.
The missing person can vary in all age ranges but most commonly under 10 years or over 60 years old.
A large percentage of MISPER cases are called into us via the Police or Coastguard who we frequently work on behalf of.
Once the latest information on the missing person has been recorded, our mechanised or waterborne (in summer) elements - are mobilized.
Did you know that even from one of our safety boats the crew can scan the waterline and beach up to the top of the shingle with great effectiveness?
Photo: Our safety boats and ATVs out on the beach next to the Beach Office
In most cases though, a mobile ATV patrol using emergency blue lights will be sent to get a positive ID on the MISPER.
This is another worthy reason for us to have the 'blue light' element on our vehicles as we are then at this time working on behalf of the Police, Coastguard or other emergency service and may require to work at higher patrol speeds than normal.
As a safety measure, at the Beach office (photo right) we supply wrist bands for Children to wear along the seafront - even in the water! - which provide contact details of the parent/minder if they should become lost in busy periods. Be sure to come in and grab one!
If you do find yourself in a similar situation on our beaches or Prom where you have lost a child or vulnerable member of your family or friends, be sure to contact us first at the Beach office; or flag down one of our patrols where we will be able to react straight away.
Remember, it's our job to keep you safe.
Worthing Beach office - 01903 238977
Make sure to save this number in your mobile!
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Some of you, like me may be laughing a little at the elaborate TV reporting of 5 days seasonal weather. I will agree that in recent times our local winter climate tends to comprise of mild south westerly fronts and a sprinkling of frosts, but I do feel the media are underestimating our British ‘Dunkirk spirit’!
There have been some winter spells in Worthing's past that are definately worth remembering...
January 21st 1947
In the aftermath of WW2 an anti-cyclone that sat over Scandinavia brought strong easterly winds and heavy snow to the town. That February, the overnight temperature in Worthing only climbed above 0 degrees twice! The event lasted until mid-March.
The local weather was exceptionally cold from December to March without any signs of relenting. Such was the severity that the sea off Goring froze enough for chancers to dare walk on it - Were you one of them?
At the Beach office we have access to the latest weather predictions and sea temperatures. We display our findings for the day along with a further five day forecast and high tide times in the window of our office - be sure to take a look when walking past.
This recent cold weather is due to a North pole phenomenon called ‘sudden stratospheric warming’. The Polar vortex is ultimately disrupted, resulting in bitterly cold air rushing along from Siberia.
Rest assured though, our mobile units are still out on daily reconnaissance patrols, heading east & west on the shingle. The combination of Spring tides, strong easterly winds and a retreating tide twice a day are changing our coastline significantly; where there once was sand is now exposed to chalk and flint beds and vice-versa.
This is a time when unexpected items can expose themselves in the sediment, like the suspected UXO we had on Worthing beach earlier this month. To that end, me and my colleagues are well disciplined not to become complacent in our thoroughness, regardless of the weather conditions.
My top tips for sub-zero beaches:
- Wear a hat - 45% of your body heat is lost through the head.
- Don't forget your gloves.
- A windproof, GORTEX coat to eliminate wind chill.
- A snood or scarf for your neck and chin, don’t wear this over your mouth though, as the condensation dampens and chills your lower face!
- Dogs too, a torso coat is advised and ensure a thorough drying with a towel greats them once back in the car or home.
- Hydration of some sort for you and your dog, it feels alien to drink water when your cold but believe me your body won’t be able to keep you warm without it, its essential.
- A hot drink waiting in the car for the journey home!
Wrap up and head on down to either the Prom, Pier or low-tide mark this week and enjoy the silent beauty of our coastline. I'll be out there whenever I can to enjoy every flake!
Photo: Worthing Pier captured in bitterly cold conditons
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Like clockwork with military precision shortly after 4:30pm, when Worthing's Art Deco Pier turns on its warming colours, one of Worthing's many fauna tells us the day is drawing to a close.
Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are the performers, our Pier being their home to roost until dawn.
Whilst stunning to look at, this tactical, evasive manoeuvre is employed by them to combat the threat of aerial attack! Predators such as Peregrine falcons - which we do occasionally see darting low along our shingle coastline - find it hard to target one bird in the middle of a hypnotising flock of hundreds or thousands.
It's quite a scene to witness when the flock is being targeted by Sparrow Hawks or one lone Peregrine falcon. To me, the Starlings instantly take on the resemblance of a squadron of World War II B52 bomber aircraft being mauled by German fighters!
Unfortunately the Starling population in the UK has fallen by more than 80 per cent in recent years, meaning they are now on the critical list of UK birds most at risk.
The decline is believed to be due to the loss of permanent pasture, increased use of farm chemicals and a shortage of food and nesting sites in many parts of the UK.
Fortunately for us, here in Worthing we are able to offer them a diverse habitat in which to find their food at least. From our fantastic town centre parks with their native and diverse planting schemes, to our large grassed areas in our open spaces there are great foraging opportunities for wildlife - and the proof is in the steady Starling population we now have residing in our area.
Once the swaying and darting has sufficed, in unison a quick bold dash is made to the chosen spot among the iron works, below the decking. One fascinating fact is their intelligence, they gather to keep warm at night and to also exchange information, such as good feeding areas.
It's definitely worth making time to watch this mini spectacle as the light starts to fade. In my opinion it's the best dancing around this time of year and beats Dancing on ice and the likes any day!
Yes I'll agree our flock size isn't quite on par with the likes of Brighton's famous displays around Palace Pier but I still feel it's quite special and humbling to see a declining specie choosing to make Worthing Pier its home for the night.
Photo: A murmuration of starlings - an amazing sight
Photo: Lights on Worthing Pier coming on at dusk
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A certain event that hit our coastline this week took me back to 2012, that being the last time I had anything to do with ordinance, suspect or confirmed ...
The call came in from Solent Coastguard at mid-day on Monday the 12th of February.
A resident of Grand Avenue had phoned in to express their concern over a suspect metal object protruding from the end of the shingle shelf, near the Canadian war memorial.
I was tasked to attend, carry out a reconnaissance report and get eyes on the developing situation.
It was 50-50, I couldn't quite confirm whether the historic item was unexploded ordinance (UXO) or not. It looked very Naval, depth charge in size and shape with a robust build and lifting eye; not the characteristics of a standard oil drum.
Historically, Worthing's coastline was heavily defended during WW2 opposing what sometimes seemed an imminent German invasion. Depth charges were fired in huge quantities by the Allies in the Atlantic and English Channel, hunting the elusive but deadly U-boat Wolfpacks.
Therefore, lots of historic ordinance has been discovered over the years all along the south coast, from the aftermath of both world wars. A chilling reminder of darker days not so long ago.
Generally speaking though, any historic ordinance that is found in a coastline environment is normally redundant due to years of exposure to moisture; but should always be treated as if were fresh out the factory! Remember, even a hand grenade can still kill an unprotected man from 20 meters away!
A 100 metre cordon was enforced by myself and the Coastguard to allow bomb disposal to confirm the suspect item, police and the fire brigade were now also on the scene.
After some time digging, scrapping and scratching of berets, on returning the following day, the item was deemed to be a historic, robustly built liquid container and was removed and disposed of appropriately by Adur & Worthing Councils.
As a collective, the Beach office staff have lots of combined experience in dealing with UXOs from our previous careers, therefore we are always confident and capable in keeping you safe anywhere on YOUR coastline, even if history should come knocking!
Photos: Identifying the object and digging it up ...
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Ask me or any of the Foreshore service team what would be one of the worst situations that could arise on our coastline and 'oil spill' would come out on top.
A recent event has made me feel the need to inform you with a little look into our procedure and ultimately re-assure you of our capability should the worst ever happen ...
On Monday 22nd of January 2018, one lonesome 20ltr plastic fuel container washed up on the section of beach near Waterwise Gardens in Goring.
A dog walker telephoned in to us direct to report the finding. We are always extremely grateful when the public communicate with us. This further shows us how much the residents of Worthing are conscientious and caring about their coastline and it can sometimes make our reaction time to dealing with the incident a lot quicker.
My fellow Foreshore inspector Mat asked the caller to describe the situation to gauge volume of oil or any other useful, early information. He attended the scene and as it was safe to do so, brought the container back to the beach office. If the situation was larger in volume and outside the capabilities of us at a local level, then communication would have been made to base via our private VHF channel and Solent coastguard would have been informed along with the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA).
The area would then be cordoned off by us and further reconnaissance efforts and specialized contractors on standby would then be mobilized.
Once Mat returned to base, our own Adur & Worthing hazardous waste disposal team was directed to attend and collect. The substance inside seemed to have the consistency of a heavy grade motor fuel, not quite bunker fuel which a large tanker uses to power its engines, but not far off.
From the moment the fuel container was reported, our reconnaissance patrols have been on high alert for any other containers or loose oil beaching.
Thankfully this seemed to be a careless one off, but well worth the caution.
For public reassurance, three of our four Foreshore inspectors at the beach office are trained by the Maritime coastguard agency in reacting and dealing with a shore based oil spill of any substance or quantity. I was fortunate enough to be on the course a few weeks ago in Ipswich, so the team is always on standby with a contingency plan should the worst happen!
If you are one of many whom are getting actively involved with local beach cleans in our area, as mentioned by Paul Willis in an earlier post, then keep an eye out for anything similar.
Always relay any findings or sightings to your section leader immediately, should you discover a potential hazardous spill and the correct contingency plan will be activated.
Help us help your coastline, enjoy!
OVER ... OUT ...
Like most of you last night, with conditions perfect, I took the time to pop into the garden to gaze at the powerful sight of the super moon.
The light cast was piercing and it seemed possible to notice every small detail even with just the mark 1 eyeball. Being 30% brighter and 14% bigger than usual it must have been stunning if seen through a telescope.
The Blood moon was as predicted causing some big tides to swell up on our coastline to a height of 6.5 meters. But with high pressure and the wind eventually heading North-westerly these created no issues with breaching.
The last time this special event cast its mood on us here in Worthing was in 1866, just imagine Worthing as a small fishing village back then, cobbled terraced streets and lanterns.
The extra working light would have come in handy for Worthing's fishermen of old, especially so for those involved in Worthing's slowing but rife smuggling trade.
Talking of a bright Smuggler's moon, a modern day boost from mother nature occurs in the aftermath of a storm - like last week's Storm Georgina - as the window of opportunity is created for some great fishing.
Once the choppy waters cease and normality returns, the sea is full of colour by sediment disturbance;
That cloudy, murky and brown water may not look the best but it definitely fishes the best, just ask any fisherman!
Our current sea temperature here in Worthing is 8.2 degrees, which is perfect for Cod (Gadus morhua) and Channel Whiting (Merlangius merlangus), the prize species to catch in these conditions. The best fishing time is low light hours, and the best bait? Try lug worm, squid or mackerel slitherst.
As a keen sea angler myself it's nice to see our Pier producing good sized fish and as a Foreshore inspector I get to ensure the environment in which we fish is managed, respected and sustainable. Here at the beach office, we want all age groups and gender to enjoy the sport and ultimately have fun. We only ask you to bear in mind a few considerations:
Only fish between allocated green and orange coloured dots on the decking
- Respect the location
- Ensure mutual respect for all users of the pier
- No overhead casting unless fishing on the landing stage
- Dispose of all rubbish created appropriately
- Respect and follow the size guidelines for keeping any catch
From a conservation level and one I hope you will agree with, any undersized fish landed and kept will be followed by a swift fixed penalty notice (fine) should we notice or be informed of such practise. Minimum 'take home' sizes for the both are: Cod 35cm and Channel Whiting 27cm
Please report any breaches in the above to the beach office: 01903 238977
Fisherman's Tale: Why not print out pictures of your Pier catches, name and date the back of them, and drop them into the beach office and I may well look into creating a picture board somewhere to show off your angling prowess!
OVER ... OUT ...
Photo: Fishing off Worthing Pier
THIS IS WORTHING BEACH OFFICE ... STANDBY FOR MESSAGE ... OVER ...
Hello everyone! I'm Rob Dove, one of four foreshore inspectors based at the Councils' Beach Office in Worthing seafront (see photo right).
I have been passed the blogging torch by senior foreshore inspector Graham Cherrett to update you on news and events taking place on your coastline.
I'll start by giving you a brief background to introduce myself properly ...
I have worked for Adur & Worthing Councils for four years, previously as an Arborist with Parks & Foreshore and now working solely for the Foreshore department.
Previously, I served for almost five years as an Infantryman on helicopter assault with 1 Squadron, primarily as a machine gunner (GPMG) and team medic within my section.
I have been deployed on two tours of Helmand Afghanistan and two campaigns in Libya; providing force protection for the UK medical emergency response team (MERT), fire support for the Special forces reconnaissance regiment (SRR) and joint mechanised and foot patrols with the United states marine corps (USMC).
Now 10 months in to my role as Foreshore Inspector I can say that my forces background has really prepared me for the diverse and challenging nature of this job!
Preparation is key
Work is well underway at the Beach office as we prepare for this season's challenges and inevitable emergencies.
Training programs have been updated, rescue kit is accounted for and tested, and the ATV's (quad bikes!) are serviced. That's just to mention a few tasks!
We have been especially busy creating our new training board for teaching here at the Beach office. All four of us inspectors are RYA (Royal Yachting Association) instructors and have a range of maritime courses available to the public such as Powerboat levels 1 & 2 and PWC (Jet ski).
Please feel free to contact us for more information about the courses.
If you require advice or need emergency assistance, please don't hesitate to call us on 01903 238977 or pop into the Beach office.
I look forward to updating you again next week with with a situation report (SITREP) and all the latest news from our shoreline soon.
OVER ... OUT ...
Photo: Some of our equipment at the Beach Office - our ATVs and Ribs
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