What happens on a typical watch?


The first action of the watch leader with assistance of the No 2 is to unlock and set up the station. The tidal and information board is made up to date and placed on the road outside the station. Fundraising equipment is placed outside the station, VHF radio is switched on, the log is made up noting the names of the watchkeepers and weather conditions and the stationis reported to Dover Coastguard as “On Watch”.

The next action is a visual sweep across the watch sector using binoculars; any traffic is noted in the log along with any unusual or noteworthy observation.

 This action is repeated at half hourly intervals, noted in the log with any other occurrence.

 If an emergency situation is seen to develop, this is reported immediately by phone to Dover Coastguard. A bearing is taken from the station to the incident and the distance off is estimated. The position of the incident is then plotted on a chart and given to Dover Coastguard. If a lifeboat or any other action is called the situation is monitored from the station, if the scene of action moves East the situation will be passed on to the next station in the chain.

 At the end of the watch the log is made up, the station is cleaned and tidied and reported to Dover C.G. as “Off Watch”.





Currently 56 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.


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