6th May 2022. At the beginning of May, the volunteer watchkeepers at NCI Gosport heard a Mayday call broadcast on VHF Channel16 by a sailing yacht that was on fire and had suffered engine failure. At this point It was close to Ballast Pile with four persons reported on board.

The call was acknowledged by HM Coastguard Solent. The NCI Gosport watchkeepers then called the Queen's Harbour Master in Portsmouth to inform them of the situation, but they had already been informed by the Coastguard. NCI Gosport then called Solent Coastguard to inform them that they had visual observation of the yacht and the Coastguard requested the yachts position information as they could not identify Ballast Pile on their chart. The watchkeepers provided the Latitude and Longitude and were then informed that Gosport & Fareham Inshore Rescue Service had been tasked to launch. The Coastguard also authorised NCI Gosport to use VHF Channel 0 to guide the lifeboat to the casualty if required.

In the meantime, two Police launches attended the incident and reported that the fire had been extinguished. One of the launches took the vessel in tow, the lifeboat was stood down and the Mayday cancelled by Solent Coastguard.

This is another example of the National Coastwatch Institution providing vital 'eyes-on' and local knowledge in an emergency.

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Currently 57 NCI stations are operational and manned by over 2600 volunteers keeping watch around the British Isles from Fleetwood in the North West, through Wales, to the South and East of England to Hornsea in the East Riding of Yorkshire. 

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.








The words National Coastwatch Institution and Eyes Along the Coast and the NCI logos are Registered Trademarks of NCI.

Contact Details

0300 111 1202
[email protected]


0845 460 1202
[email protected]

17 Dean Street, Liskeard,
Cornwall, PL14 4AB