23rd August 2021. During the afternoon watch, a gentleman knocked on the door of NCI Gwennap Head door asking for help after his wife had fallen and badly injured her leg on the coastal footpath, very close to the station.

After grabbing his portable VHF radio, the duty watchkeeper  immediately assessed the situation and alerted both the ambulance service and HM Coastguard who dispatched the Cornwall Air Ambulance and the Land End Coastguard Search & Rescue Team to assist due to the isolated location. The watchkeeper remained with the casualty, monitoring her condition, whilst also providing support and reassurance, until the emergency services arrived. The casualty was made as comfortable as possible and, after discussions, was evacuated to their own vehicle, down in the cove, for onward transportation to hospital.

A special mention goes to Karin, a newly qualified watchkeeper, who lives very close by and saw the incident unfold. A spokesperson for NCI Gwennap Head said, “understanding that our duty watchkeeper was fully occupied in caring for the casualty, she immediately ‘stepped up’, came to the station, and took over watch routines until our watchkeeper was able to return and pick up where he’d left off. Quick thinking, and very impressive for someone who’d only been qualified for 7 days!”

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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