9th April 2017. The NCI station at Froward Point is clear to operate for another year after their successful annual reassessment.
The reassessment of their Declared Facility Status involved both morning and afternoon watches and retaining their DFS ensures that Froward Point NCI remains an integral part of the UK Search and Rescue Service which includes HM Coastguard and the RNLI. The reassessment was carried out by Rod Skinner, an experienced watchkeeper from NCI’s Stepper Point station at Padstow.
Malcolm Dando from NCI Froward Point, said: “Thanks to the ready cooperation of Dart RNLI and Dart Harbour and Navigation Authority, part of the assessment of the morning watch included a rescue of a simulated ‘man overboard’ casualty dropped by DHNA beyond the Homestone Buoy with the watchkeepers using the dedicated NCI VHF Channel 65 to guide the lifeboat to the casualty’s position. Exercises such as this foster good relations between Froward Point NCI, Dart RNLI, DHNA and HM Coastguard Solent and provides the NCI Watchkeepers with useful experience of incidents.”
Located in the former Second World War gun battery lookout, 200 feet above the entrance to the Dart, watchkeepers scan the waters of Start Bay during daylight hours paying attention to vulnerable people and craft such as kayaks, jet skis, leisure and commercial fishing boats and sail and motor vessels of all sizes. Mariners near Start Bay and the Dart are encouraged to free up the emergency radio channels and to contact Froward Point NCI using VHF Channel 65 for radio checks and local weather reports.
The photograph (courtesy of the South Hams Gazette) shows watchkeepers John Firmin using the VHF radio channel 65 and Ian Nuttall monitoring the 'man overboard' while assessor Rod Skinner observes.