30TH August 2021.  At about 12:35hrs on Friday 20th August, the duty watchkeeper at NCI Porthdinllaen heard a Mayday radio call from a yacht reporting they were ‘taking on Water”. Although the yacht was unable to give an accurate position (other than being “North of Trevor”) it was able to confirm that there were 3 persons on board. The crew were clearly very concerned about their deteriorating situation. HMCG Holyhead transmitted a Mayday Relay call and shortly afterwards tasked the Porthdinllaen All Weather Life Boat and the Coastguard helicopter to assist. NCI Porthdinllaen were also asked to help locate the yacht.

The Duty Watchkeeper carried out a visual scan with their binoculars and located the yacht 8 miles North East of the station. This information was then passed to HM Coastguard by mobile phone, who asked the Watchkeeper to maintain visual contact and report any changes in the situation. The NCI Porthdinllaen station is over 90ft above sea level making it possible for the Watchkeeper to pass accurate information to the Coastguard despite the yacht being a considerable distance away. With this information from the NCI, the Coastguard was then able to direct the lifeboat to the casualty. The Watchkeeper’s task was made easier by the recently acquired new binoculars, which had been bought with money raised by Christine Harris, one of our Watchkeepers, during charitable events held at Nefyn Golf Club.

The RNLI lifeboat pumped the water out of the yacht which  was then towed to Holyhead. This incident is a fine example of the NCI’s role as ‘Eyes and Ears along the Coast’. The photograph shows the advantageous position of NCI Porthdinllaen, well above sea level. (Photo taken by Paul Barker)

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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.

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0300 111 1202
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0845 460 1202
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Cornwall, PL14 4AB