The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) is an entirely voluntary organisation keeping a visual watch along UK shores. Each station assists in the protection and preservation of life at sea and around the UK coastline.
Whilst high technology and sophisticated systems are aids to improved safety, a computer cannot spot a distress flare, an overturned boat or a yachtsman or fisherman in trouble. Other vulnerable activities like diving, wind surfing and canoeing are made safer with visual surveillance.
NCI watchkeepers provide the eyes and ears along the coast, monitoring radio channels and providing a listening watch in poor visibility. They are trained to deal with emergencies, offering a variety of skills and experience and full training by the NCI ensures that high standards are met.
Over 190,000 hours of organised coastal surveillance were completed in 2011 alone, all at no cost to the public. Funding is managed by a Board of Trustees with a constitution agreed by the Charity Commission and relies heavily on local support.
Take at look at the NCI video showing the work we do to help keep our coastline safe.