What to expect

Your first visit to your chosen lookout station will probably involve an informal conversation with the Station Manager or one of his management team. You’ll find out about when the station is open, what we ask of our watchkeepers and how the station fits into our national network of lookouts around England and Wales.

They’ll explain how and whe training is provided, when you’ll be expected to buy your uniform and how often you’ll need to attend both the training sessions and general station meetings. These meetings may include a short group training session, but also give you the chance to meet your fellow watchkeepers and the station management committee in a non-working environment.

You may be asked about your previous life experience, as any skills you can bring to the Charity from previous employment may be useful in running and maintaining not only your local station, but also in the management of the Charity as a whole.

You’ll almost certainly then be invited to attend a ‘taster watch’ – spending a watch with one or two experienced watchkeepers, when you’ll get an impression of the scope of the role, such as:
> Maintaining a visual and radio watch and, when identified, record and report emergencies to the Coastguard;
> Assisting with search & rescue by advising rescue authorities of a casualty’s exact position and the conditions on the scene;
> Informing mariners, walkers and others of the current local weather and sea conditions;
> Acting as an emergency contact point for walkers, climbers or microlight pilots;
> Co-operating with agencies involved in the protection of fisheries, wildlife and historic wrecks.

Training is always at your own pace, with support from a dedicated trainer/mentor and regular checks to ensure you’re comfortable with the content, delivery and pace of the training.

During training, and even after qualifying as a Certified Watchkeeper you’ll always be helped and guided not only by your station management team and colleagues, but by a network of experienced national officers whose purpose is to ensure you can always access guidance and support if needed.

Each NCI Station is expected to fund the provision and maintenance of its lookout equipment and building, and each watchkeeper will be asked to assist with fundraising. This could be spending some time outside a supermarket as part of a fundraising team, or helping at an open day to inform and educate the public about National Coastwatch and raise much needed funds.