30th January 2018. The volunteer watch-keepers at NCI Portland Bill hosted a behind the scenes tour of their station’s facilities for a local church group.
A group of seven people from Weymouth Family Church requested a visit to the NCI station at Portland Bill as part of the church’s friendship week, which has seen various activities carried out, including social events in the evenings. The group was welcomed with tea, coffee and biscuits in the training room, before being given a talk by one of the watch-keepers and fellow family church member Frederick Daborn. The group was then split into two, with half spending time in the watch-room, and the other half watching a video, courtesy of Roger Sutherland, another watch-keeper working at the Bill.
In the watch-room the group were welcomed by watch-leader Mike Davis and his team, who explained the functions of the watch-room and its strategic position overlooking the Portland Race and Shambles sand bank. The group were invited to use the binoculars and take a closer look at the equipment in use within the watch station with the visitor showing a keen interest in what went on at the watch station. The two groups changed over so all had the opportunity to see both the video and the station.
The visit provided an insight into the work of the NCI at Portland Bill, as they look out for the safety of all who use the sea, either for work or leisure, and for those who walk, ride or climb around the Island. NCI Portland Bill is run entirely on public donations, including local fund raising. And the lookout is manned in four-hour shifts, usually by three watch-keepers, from 7am until 7pm, 364 days each year, remaining on standby throughout the hours of closure.
Photo (courtesy of the Dorset Echo) show members of the Weymouth Family Church at the watch station