IT'S been a busy year for coastguards who attended almost 60 incidents in 2018.

West Bay Coastguard Rescue Team has been on-call 24 hours-a-day every day this year, attending 23 more incidents than in 2017.

The team treated and evacuated 12 injured people from beaches, coastal paths and cliff tops, which included broken bones, fractures and dislocations.

Coastguard officers carried out five cliff rescues, including a paraglider who had crashed into the side of Thorncombe Beacon, and a further six cliff rescues involving dogs that had become trapped on the cliff face. They helped with the evacuation of two dogs which fell from the cliff top onto the beach below - one went home with its family but, sadly, the the other did not.

They searched for, and helped locate, 11 lost, missing, vulnerable and despondent people along the coastline and responded to seven reports of people and vessels in possible distress.

Officers carried out welfare and safety checks on four vessels that had been towed into West Bay harbour, responded to three reports of possible pollution along the beaches and out at sea, helped two people cut off by tide, investigated two reports of possible ordnance along the beach, as well as investigating and cataloguing one dead dolphin and a porpoise.

They attended a reported landslide and set up and maintained an emergency helicopter landing site.

The number of hours officers spent dealing with incidents amounts to 1,088 hours, with an additional 703 hours spent training and conducting local area safety patrols and138 hours checking, cleaning and maintaining equipment and vehicles.

A spokesman for the coastguard rescue team said: "Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of the three people who lost their lives in our area of the coast this year.

"We want to thank all of those in the police, fire, ambulance service and other agencies we have worked with over this year.

"A very special 'thank you' goes out to our friends, family and loved ones who support us in the work that we do, which can so often be disruptive to family life. We wish everyone the very best for 2019 - but if you find yourself in difficulty, or if you are concerned for others, do not hesitate to dial 999 and ask for the coastguard."