21st June 2019. Earlier this month, watchkeepers from the National Coastwatch stations at Skegness, Mablethorpe and Chapel Point came together at Rutland Water to practise their skills at conning a rescue boat onto a target.

This training exercise provided the watchkeepers the opportunity to practise the techniques involved in guiding a lifeboat to a casualty as well as allowing them to work together as a team and get to know each other.

Barry Caldicott, one of the watchkeepers from NCI Chapel Point, was able to put this training into practice on the following Saturday when he successfully conned the Skegness Inshore Lifeboat on to an inflatable with two men in it about two nautical miles out from the beach. He later admitted that without the earlier training he would have been all fingers and thumbs.

The incident was reported in the Skegness Standard amid further calls to ban the sale of inflatables on the Lincolnshire coast.

Team photograph courtesy of watchkeeper Jerzy Kwinta

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Currently 56 NCI stations are operational and manned by over 2500 volunteers keeping watch around the British Isles from Rossall  Point 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.


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