8th January 2020. It’s always good to have something different to look forward to in the New Year, so the Station Manager of NCI Porthdinllaen was delighted when he was contacted by the UK Search and Rescue helicopter base at Caernarfon, asking him to provide assistance during training exercises.

During November, three senior members from NCI Porthdinllaen’s watchkeeping team were invited to a meeting at Caernarfon to discuss the feasibility of the station assisting during helicopter training exercises off Porthdinllaen. As a result, twelve Watchkeepers attended a briefing that outlined what would be required of them. Of course, they also took the opportunity to admire, and pose in front of, the very impressive helicopter!

The new challenge this cooperation poses has led NCI Porthdinllaen to bring forward their ‘Watchkeeper’s chart reading refamiliarization day’ and to arrange further briefings to confirm that everyone is fully aware of how they are expected to assist during the exercises.

It is expected that activities will commence in January and intensify during February when trainee personnel from Caernarfon will be involved. The exercises will be pre-arranged and will require the presence of two Watchkeepers in the station. This has, once again, led the Station Manager to comment. “We always need more Watchkeepers, so if you’re interested in joining our team, please contact me for a chat”.

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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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