People are often surprised to find out that the frontline officers of the coastguard rescue service are all dedicated volunteers from the local community. Quite a few times now, after, and sometimes during, a rescue the question has been asked: ‘so, what do you do for a living then?'

It suddenly occurred to me that whilst we might be familiar faces when we are responding to emergencies, there is not a lot of information out there on who we are and what we do, so I thought I would fill in a few blanks.

The West Bay team is currently made up of 11 men and one woman. We all live in the Bridport area with the exception of one officer in Melplash and another in Martinstown.

We have on the team five business owners who work in the telemetry, media, plumbing and household maintenance sectors, two grounds workers and one regional business manager who works in the leisure industry. We have a chief mechanic, the West Bay harbour master, a retired Bridport police inspector and a retired sales manager from the lighting industry.

All in all, quite a mix of occupations, life experiences and ages, with the youngest team member being 30 and the eldest team member being... a closely-guarded secret.

What’s interesting is that if you lined us up against a wall all holding our CVs, your first thought would not be that this would be the perfect make up of a coastguard rescue team but you know what? It works. It’s how it’s meant to work and how it’s always been. As individuals, we have our own skills and technical abilities, but collectively as a team we are strong, complimenting, supporting and looking out for each other in the face of whatever the coast throws at us.