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National Coast Watch

Posted On: Mon 15 May 2017 Posted In: Local News Misc Posted By:

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The National Coastwatch Institution run look-out stations dotted all along the Welsh coastline, and their volunteer work is essential in helping to keep sea and coast users safe. Join us as we find out more.

For the thousands of people who enjoy the beautiful waters of the Welsh coast every year – whether sailing, swimming, surfing, boating or simply enjoying an amble along the coast path, there’s an organisation that they may not even have heard of, that is silently keeping a close look-out and watching for their well-being. In old coastguard look-out stations dotted along the coastline are the eyes and ears of coastal safety, constantly maintaining a close watch on events as they unfold, and ready to act in any emergency.

The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) organises volunteers to keep a visual watch over the coastline and waters of England and Wales during daylight hours, a remit that fell under the responsibility of the Coastguard until 1994 when cutbacks to funding meant that look-out stations up and down the coast were closed.

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However, just months after the closure of the Bass Point look-out on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall, two local fishermen tragically drowned just below the abandoned station. The local community were outraged and decided to re-open the station themselves, manning it with volunteers. The NCI was born, and the operation soon spread all along the coast of England and into Wales.

Essential Search and Rescue

Today, the NCI, which is part of the life-saving Search & Rescue group and works closely with the Coastguard and the RNLI, has 49 stations along the coastline of England and Wales, with six of those on the Welsh Coast. The NCI is a unique organisation because it is entirely staffed and manned by volunteers. Everybody, even those at head office or who undertake Managerial or Directorial roles, contributes their time freely for a worthy cause.

Volunteers are crucial to the work of the NCI, in fact, it couldn’t operate without them. Over the 49 stations that are operational across the country, there are almost 2,000 regular volunteers who sign up for shifts as watch-keepers at their local station.

Porthdinllaen watchkeepers 2012

Rapid Rescues

The NCI stations across the Welsh coast are all unique in terms of their positioning and outlook, but they all share a common goal – to keep a watch over the local coast. There’s often no such thing as a typical day as an NCI watch-keeper, as when dramatic events occur they happen quickly and without warning.

And all NCI stations welcome visitors and observers to their coastal stations.

So why not head down to your local NCI station today and find out more about the work of this fascinating organisation. You never know, you might be inspired to begin a whole new volunteering career.

To find out more about the work of the NCI or to donate to the charity visit www.nci.org.uk

For more details about the NCI in North Wales visit www.nci-northwales.org

The NCI are always keen to hear from anyone interested in volunteering. They offer full training so don’t be put off if you have no previous maritime experience. Contact your local station (details on the website) for more information.

NCI logo

Summary
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National Coast Watch
Description
The National Coastwatch Institution run look-out stations dotted all along the Welsh coastline, and their volunteer work is essential in helping to keep sea and coast users safe.
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