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HM Dover Coastguard Station from the West, Langdon Battery, Swingate, Kent, UK

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John Latter on March 18, 2011

The Dover Coast Guard Station overlooks the Straits of Dover and English Channel (out-of-shot to the right) from a vantage point on top of the White Cliffs of Dover.

In the foreground on the right-hand side of the photo is the Microwave Radio Mast whose dishes receive additional radar data from radar sites at Fairlight (near Hastings, East Sussex) and Margate (North Kent) (1).

Behind the microwave tower is the Futuristic-looking Operations Room/Control Room.

Above and beyond the roof of the Control Room is the Radar Scanner/Antenna. A similar antenna is used by the French Coastguard at the CROSS Gris Nez Rescue Centre (1) (2).

I do not know (yet) what the buildings on the left-hand side of the photo are for, but as the Met Office issues weather forecasts for Langdon Bay, it certainly seems possible that the distant mast may be used for gathering meteorological information - I'll have to take a close-up of it the next time I'm up there!

The Second World War ex-RAF Swingate Chain Home Radar Station is located nearby.

Standard Information

Dover Marine Office Eastern Region, Langdon Battery, Swingate, Dover, CT15 5NA.

Tel: 01304 218509 Fax: 01304 218505

Dover Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC), UK operations base for CNIS (1):

Dover Channel Navigation Information Service (CNIS) is a Coastal Vessel Traffic Information Service (VTIS) mainly concerned with traffic passing through the area (Straits of Dover and English Channel) to ensure that essential information becomes available in time for on-board navigational decision making by the mariner. The information service provides broadcasts at fixed times and intervals, when deemed necessary by the VTIS or at the request of a vessel.

CNIS broadcasts on VHF radio channel 11 every 60 minutes (every 30 minutes if visibility drops below two miles) to give warnings of navigational difficulties, weather conditions and traffic information in the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS). This includes misplaced or defective navigational aids, hampered vessels, deep draught bulk carriers and tankers, vessels under tow, surveying vessels and unorthodox crossings such as cross channel swims. A broadcast is also transmitted for any vessel that appears to be in contravention of the COLREGS (International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea), to warn other vessels that a potentially hazardous situation exists in a particular part of the TSS.

The TSS developed out of a series of experiments begun in 1967, but it was not until 1971 after a series of accidents that the authorities were galvanised into action.

Early history of the Coastguard (3):

In 1809 the Preventative Water Guard was established and can be regarded as the immediate ancestor of HM Coastguard. Its primary objective was to prevent smuggling, but it was also responsible for giving assistance to shipwrecks.

Each Water Guard station was issued with Manby`s Mortar which was invented by Captain George William Manby. The mortar fired a shot with a line attached from the shore to the wrecked ship and was used for many years.

In 1821 a committee of enquiry recommended that responsibility for the Preventative Water Guard be transferred to the Board of Customs. The Treasury agreed and in a Minute dated 15 January 1822, directed that the preventative services, which consisted of the Preventative Water Guard, cruisers, and Riding Officers should be placed under the authority of the Board of Customs and in future should be named the Coast Guard.

In 1829 the first Coast Guard instructions were published and dealt with discipline and directions for carrying out preventative duties.

(1) Extract from the The Maritime and Coastguard Agency website. The Agency "implements the government's maritime safety policy in the UK.and works to prevent the loss of life on the coast and at sea."

(2) Extract from Centres regionaux operationnels de surveillance et de sauvetage:

The Centres Régionaux Opérationnels de Surveillance et de Sauvetage (CROSS, "Regional Operational Centres for Monitoring and Rescue") are a network of stations on the litoral of France.

Their missions are: Search and Rescue, Monitoring of sea traffic, Monitoring of pollution, Monitoring of fishing operations, Broadcasting of maritime safety information, Alert management and information broadcast of maritime security

(3) Wikipedia entry for Her Majesty`s Coastguard

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

This is the Images of Dover website: click on any red or blue "John Latter" link to access the Entry Page.

John Latter on December 22, 2012

This photo also appears on the Pinterest White Cliffs of Dover board as:

Dover Coastguard Station from the West, Langdon Battery, Kent, England

Maritime Coastguard Agency MCA (Sea).

John Latter on December 22, 2012

Click to see all Dover Coastguard photos.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on January 25, 2011
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2010/08/06 12:55:39
    • Exposure: 0.003s (1/320)
    • Focal Length: 28.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/13.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash