National Coastwatch all set for a very busy season


Station officers at the new NCI station at Bembridge, IoW.

National Coastwatch is gearing up for a very busy season this year, with increases in manpower, new and upgraded stations, training schedules and recruiting.

On the north Norfolk coast the station at Brancaster, opened just days ago, has already been involved in life saving incidents requiring Lifeboat and Coastguard intervention. This station is housed in a former mobile Lifeguard unit, converted to an NCI station by the volunteers and located in the grounds of the Royal North Norfolk Golf Club.

On the Isle of Wight, the Coastguard Rescue Team building, now shared with NCI has had its top floor converted by NCI volunteers who are now keeping watch on the eastern channel.

Further along the mainland coast, NCI Lee-on-the Solent has had a complete refurb and been reopened by Claire Hughes, Director of HM Coastguard. The station building has been extended as has it’s surveillance capability and after a year of volunteers working in extreme circumstances is now fully restored.

At Stone Point, located on the shoreline of Lepe Park, the new station is now in its final stages of completion and will be opened shortly. Meanwhile watch is maintained from the mobile unit located alongside. Once up and running, the temporary mobile unit will be sent for refit and redeployed to another location.

Up on the Thames estuary, the recently relocated station at Canvey Island is now well established in its new home in the Canvey Island Yacht Club and has already been engaged in search and rescue operations. The old NCI station at the Port of London unit at Holehaven has now been mothballed.

Up the east coast in Filey Bay, preparations are nearing completion for the deployment of the new mobile station. Currently undergoing the final cosmetic element of its refit, the NCI Filey trailer, funded by the Seafarers Charity, will be situated in prime position on the seafront.  

Meanwhile at national level, preparations are well underway for the deployment of the re-modelled NCI Exhibition Trailer to Southampton ready for the ‘Seawork’ exhibition in June. Displaying at this show for the first time, NCI will occupy space sponsored by Mercator Media. For three days senior NCI officers will man the stand and hope to engage with exhibitors and visitors alike, to spread awareness of NCI activities.

The next big event on the NCI calendar is the AGM which takes place at the end of April at the Union Jack Club in London. It will be attended by representatives of all stations and at this event, the Alan Richards Award for Outstanding Service will be presented to the station in memory of NCI’s past Chairman, Alan Richards. It recognises a sustained excellence in performance, dedication, exemplary service and successful management above and beyond that which is expected of every station. At this time, no one knows which station will receive the award – see the next newsletter for the results.

And please remember, do call us on VHF channel 65. We’ll be listening…

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