Hop aboard with safety this Easter


NCI Chapel Point Credit Grae Laws

Easter is finally here and if you’re planning to hop on board, now’s the time to find out about National Coastwatch (NCI) – a unique, free service from the registered charity that gives you and your crew an extra safety back-up.

Every day around the coast, NCI volunteers keep a visual and VHF radio watch from 60 stations at key locations. There’s a myriad of reasons for doing this vital work but the overriding one is the desire to help keep people safe and save lives around the coast and we have the maritime community firmly in our sights.

The highly trained volunteer watchkeepers (all 2,700 of them) come from all walks of life and many are sailors themselves. As well as watching the shore, they monitor yachts and all sea-going traffic – from leisure activities such as paddleboarders to commercial vessels. We’re an important cog in the maritime search and rescue community, with our stations holding Declared Facility Status and reporting directly to HM Coastguard.

Close collaborations

Close collaboration also means that HM Coastguard often asks NCI stations for assistance in spotting, monitoring and providing a bearing on a vessel in difficulties. This helps to get rescuers to your exact location as rapidly as possible – essential in an emergency.

There’s always an increase in coastal activity as spring comes around. Inevitably the crews of many yachts and motor boats can find themselves in difficulties and dangers at the start of the season. Sometimes it’s because the vessels and safety equipment have not been thoroughly checked or serviced after a winter lay-up, or the high Bank Holiday spirits mean some may take extra risks but quite often dangerous situations can be just plain bad luck.

Appeal for safety

Whatever happens, we’re there to watch out for all coastal dangers. This year, we’re appealing to everyone about to set sail to make sure the essential checks have been done to minimise the risks.  
Call your nearest station on VHF CH65 for radio checks, tidal information, weather checks and live updates on local conditions. Let them know if you’re planning to pass their area so they can keep a lookout for your safe passage – as our stations did for yachtsman Ken Fowler when he sailed around the UK’s islands in his small dinghy, Yodare.

Making safety a priority is also high on the agendas of yacht clubs and organisations in coastal communities and our teams are busy year-round giving talks and presentations on exactly what goes into helping to save lives around the coast. There’s always room for more!

Will you help us to help you?

National Coastwatch is a registered charity run entirely by volunteers and is completely self-funded, relying on generous public support and corporate sponsorship to continue the work. Funds are always needed for essential equipment, station maintenance, for utilities and to expand the network.

Keeping you and the maritime community safe is what we do – please help us to help you.

Text NCI to 70450 to donate £5


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