NCI Refit New Stations for East Coast this Summer


NCI in Norfolk

Work to prepare two new NCI mobile stations for this summer is well underway on the East Coast. In Norfolk, the RNLI have donated a lifeguard trailer to NCI for work at Brancaster, to be located in the grounds of the Royal West Norfolk Golf Club, with extensive views of Brancaster Bay and beach. Brancaster's strong currents and hidden channels make it one of Britain's most dangerous beaches and HM Coastguard, National Trust and the RNLI are delighted that National Coastwatch will operate a permanent station at this location.

Little can now be seen of the wreck of the SS Vina at the western end of Scolt Head Island but she is still a magnet for visitors who are often unfamiliar with the shifting sands and tides in the area. She continues to be a hazard to navigation for vessels in and out of Brancaster Staithe Harbour and a risk to life to those attempting to cross the sands to visit her. 

The Hunstanton RNLI Hovercraft is exceptionally busy during the summer months and visitors are strongly discouraged from attempting to visit the remains of the vessel as she is separated from the beach by a wide, deep, fast-flowing channel of tidal water. The tide turns very quickly, often cutting people off from the land and each year many people have to be rescued after crossing the main tidal channel, and many have lost their lives. The new NCI team currently under training, will maintain a daylight watch over the area and using the new Water Safety initiative, will work hard to alert visitors to the dangers. 

The second unit has almost completed its refit and will be ready within the next couple of weeks. This custom built NCI trailer, one of six now deployed around the coast was funded initially by The Seafarers Society and has been refitted helped by a grant from The Baltic Exchange. Its new home will be in Filey in East Yorkshire, located right on the seafront, with extensive views over Filey Bay. 

During the summer, visitor figures for Filey are extremely high with many thousands enjoying the outstanding beauty of the coast, but there is danger from rip tides and shifting sands and this will be a priority for the new NCI team working closely with the RNLI and HM Coastguard. As with Brancaster, they will mount a public education programme using the new Water Safety initiative.

Both stations will be fully equipped with high powered binoculars, radio and automatic ship recognition systems and additionally, power for the Filey unit will be generated by a wind turbine and solar panels. Recruiting for volunteers is well underway and two very well attended public meetings indicate a strong community desire to enhance the life saving capability at both of these locations. 

The preservation and protection of life at sea and along the coast is NCI’s priority and these two new units and their professional  Watchkeepers will significantly enhance life saving at these two very busy locations.

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