National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) Celebrates 25 Years of Saving Lives

National Coastwatch Institution

In the presence of The Princess Royal, Patron, National Coastwatch Institution celebrated its 25th Anniversary at the prestigious venue of Trinity House, London.

In addition to her Royal Highness, the guest list included over 100 luminaries representing many varied organisations.

Addressing the guests, the Princess explained how NCI came into being due to a tragedy at sea twenty-five years ago in which two fishermen lost their lives near to a closed down Coastguard lookout station. Had the station not been abandoned, it is possible the fishermen may have been saved. This prompted locals to re-open the lookout and staff it on a voluntary basis, establishing Bass Point as the first NCI station in December 1994.

Over the past 25 years, NCI has bloomed and now operates 56 stations around the British Isles which are staffed by over 2,600 volunteer watchkeepers providing eyes and ears along the coast – looking out for boaters in trouble using powerful optics, electronic aids and monitoring radio channels. NCI watchkeepers are fully trained to a very high standard ensuring that they have the skills and experience to deal with every type of emergency.

Working alongside HM Coastguard and the RNLI, the NCI forms an integral part of the UK Search and Rescue family. In 2019 alone, NCI took part in over 660 search and rescue incidents, maintaining daylight surveillance for 265,000 hours and logging 596,000 vessels.

NCI members

Ian Whalley, Deputy Chair and National Fundraising Lead commented: “the NCI estate is growing steadily, and it has an evidence-based policy to locate stations in areas of prime need. It is only with the help and assistance of the maritime family and great British public that this service can be maintained and expanded and for this and the continued support of sponsors such as, we are truly grateful.”

Simon White, CTO and Co-founder of who sponsored the event, added: “We love working with and supporting NCI to help raise awareness of the fantastic work they do. I’m very proud to say that my own parents are volunteer NCI watchkeepers at Prawle Point in Devon and they thoroughly enjoy their duties there and meeting the other watchkeepers, with their varied and often fascinating backgrounds.”’s CEO and Co-founder, Richard W. Roberts added: “The number one goal for us is to raise the profile of the NCI and the valuable work the organisation does and the lives it saves. Supporting such a charity has been an honour and the feedback we get from our ongoing assistance is so very much appreciated.”

NCI members with Richard Roberts

Richard continued: “Spending such a wonderful evening with guests such as Wing Commander Andy Green OBE – the World Land Speed Record holder, sailing legends Dee Caffari MBE and Mike Golding OBE, and Dame Katherine Grainger DBE made this a very special night. Above all, meeting again the Princess Royal was a real treat as she always seems able to uplift and inspire any situation. Well done NCI!”

Find out more about NCI:

The entire operation is funded by donations and supported by volunteers. If you would like to donate, please click the button below, or to find out about becoming a volunteer, go to

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