Coastal safety was boosted this summer in England and Wales with hundreds of volunteers from National Coastwatch delivering our ‘Stay Safe Along The Coast’ campaign.

With the arrival of Autumn and cooler weather to come, we are reflecting on a very busy year. NCI Volunteer Watchkeepers are on duty during daylight hours every day at 60 stations in England and Wales in 2023 and have already been involved in over 800 incidents this year so far.

Officers from 30 National Coastwatch stations were out and about over the busy summer months offering coastal safety information to the public as part of the charity’s new proactive approach to safety. National Coastwatch is a member of the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) which is a voluntary network, working together in order to reduce water-related deaths and associated harm. National Coastwatch is supporting the #RespectTheWater campaign along with other water safety partners in the NWSF including ROSPA, RLSS, RNLI and HM Coastguard.

The charity’s volunteer watchkeepers have always been a source of reliable information on local conditions and hazards but this year, we’ve made more trained volunteers available to step out of the stations and offer face to face, friendly and practical support on keeping safe at the coast.

NCI volunteers joined forces with safety partners in many local communities, for example at Mablethorpe where we shared resources and supported Lincoln Police with safety initiatives including children’s wristbands, in order to reduce incidents at the beach. One of the common problems on busy beaches is missing children and it is a terrifying experience for any parent. NCI volunteers handed out hundreds of wristbands at the coast for children to carry their guardian’s contact details and be quickly reunited. We’ve also offered paddleboarders and personal watercraft waterproof phone pouches as well as stickers for owner’s contact details (which means a lost board won’t trigger a major search and rescue operation).

Lesley Suddes, National Coastwatch Lead for Coastal Safety Education said: “This summer saw our wonderful volunteers getting out and about following a period of training earlier this year to proactively offer their local knowledge and safety support to thousands of coastal visitors. We are part of the incredible search and rescue network in the UK and the help and encouragement we’ve received from HM Coastguard, RNLI, regional police forces and all our local authorities has been fantastic – to them we say a big thank you. We are all working to keep people safe at the coast.

Our volunteers enjoyed meeting hundreds of members of the public this summer to help them enjoy their time by the water as part of our Stay Safe Along the Coast campaign.

Finally, huge thanks must go to all our amazing volunteers for their time, work and great enthusiasm – both out meeting the public and keeping watch in the lookouts”