It’s perhaps a little known fact that nationally our coastal rescue service is manned by 3,500 volunteers.

They are trained and managed by about 80 of the 450 full-time officers who, themselves, are overseen from the Marine National Operations Centre at Fareham.

Interestingly, the centre is commanded by former Portland Coastguard Mark Rodaway.

Three of his senior colleagues, who bring intimate knowledge of our coastline, also served in Dorset.

The county itself has nine rescue teams of 12 local volunteers who train from scratch in specialities like cliff, water and mud rescue.

Their work is perilous, often undertaken in high seas or under adverse weather conditions.

This summer, Coastal Rescue Officer Ian Bugler, from St Alban’s Head rescue team, was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal after he was lowered into a blow-hole at the Tilly Whim caves in an ill-fated but heroic attempt to rescue a young woman in 2013.

He generously accepted the award on behalf of all his colleagues, all of whom were devastated at the failure of the mission.

Mr Rodaway said that any rescue is a joint effort, although the less high profile roles are frequently overlooked: “The Ops Room team is often forgotten. They make a viable plan, co-ordinate the response and become emotionally drawn in, yet they have no power over what is actually happening on the ground. It can be devastating.”

Our coastline lies in the busiest search and rescue area, generating some 1,200 incidents last year.

That’s not surprising, perhaps, when you consider how many people visit Dorset to sail, climb, walk and dive.

And they, like us, must feel reassured that, if something does go wrong, the selfless and courageous men and women of the Coastguard will come to the rescue.