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On watch in the tower
National Coast Watch Skegness
By Keith Arthey
We are the eyes along the coast, around the coast of Great Britain. Winthorpe, Skegness is the home of Lincolnshire Unit of the National Charity.
Ingoldmells Coastwatch was established in 2004/5 and we have a muster roll of over 30 volunteers, who man the NCI Watchtower daily throughout the year in all weathers. Our aims are the promotion of Beach Safety and the safety of Holiday makers who use the beach area around Ingoldmells Point, and all those who use the sea.
Dennis Mono on watch
However this summer due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to withdraw our service at Ingoldmells Point. This means that the holiday makers will have to be extra vigilant in that local area.
National Coastwatch have relocated their service to The Old Coastguard Tower at Winthorpe Avenue, Winthorpe and have been renamed National Coastwatch Skegness, their area of surveillance being enhanced to cover the beach and foreshore stretching from Skegness to Jacksons Corner approximately a 10 mile area.
Our efforts are enhanced by technology but our most important piece of equipment is the Human MK 1 Eyeball and of course, a continuing training programme. Since our formation in 2004 we have watched in excess of 9,500 man hours and have been instrumental in the prevention of fatalities at Ingoldmells Point, along with our colleagues from the RNLI Skegness crews and the continued support of Her Majesty's Coastguard Crews locally, whose expertise and assistance are our first port of call in most emergencies.
Our group are proactive in the Beach Safety, promoting the dangers of 'The Toys of Death'! - The ubiquitous inflatables that, on our Lincolnshire shores, earned it the title of the most dangerous beach throughout the United Kingdom for 'Wind Influenced Inflatable Incidents', this title having been reassessed this year to one of the safest beach areas the incident rate having dropped some 40 fold! The team having been accredited in assisting in the saving of at least 20 lives whilst at Ingoldmells and of course we shall look to maintain the same level of awareness at Winthorpe.
National Coastwatch Skegness is fortunate to have their own web site where up to date information can be found relating to beach and water safety and being a registered charity donations can also be made, on line, through the site - the group having to be self financing.
The team are always looking for new volunteers. The ideal candidate is someone recently retired who has some time to spare, male or female, training will be given and is done on a mentoring system and self appraisal, details are available on our web site. However we welcome any volunteers from 16 up to 85.
Checking reports on the equipment
NCI Skegness is happy to provide mariners with the local weather forecast on demand by telephone. The technology also feeds data received by the AIS receiver into the AIS live web site automatically. We are always on the look out for company sponsorship of equipment and acknowledge the valuable co-operation of the local BBC local Radio station, BBC Radio Lincolnshire, without whose aid the team would not have been successful in getting a multi national company to withdraw the sale of powered inflatable jet ski toys in 2007. We wish that more Lincolnshire retailers would follow that lead in banning their sale just to enhance the safety not only on Skegness beaches but ALL Lincolnshire beaches.
National Coastwatch Institution have 35 watch towers throughout England and Wales and more National Information as to locations of the 34 other stations can be found on the national website.
The history of the National Coastwatch dates from 1994 when the then HM Coastguard withdrew the visual watch around the coast in the centralisation of services into their Marine Rescue Coordination Centres, and the subsequent deaths of two sea- farers off The Lizard Point in Cornwall, and thus NCI was born by consultations after that event.
last updated: 27/10/2008 at 10:49