25th July 2022, A teenager screaming for his life after being swept far out to sea from the Hot Walls beach last week was spotted by the volunteer watchkeepers of the National Coastwatch Institution station at Gosport who initiated a dramatic rescue operation that saved the youngster after he got into difficulties just outside Portsmouth Harbour near the Round Tower.

NCI Gosport Station manager Colin Church takes up the story ‘Our volunteers spotted a group of teenagers who were playing with a ball on the Hot Walls beach. As soon as the boy entered the water our watchkeepers identified him as possibly vulnerable. Within a few minutes of entering the water the boy got into trouble with the strong ebb current and our eagle-eyed team made the call to put out a mayday relay on VHF Channel 16 alerting all mariners to the incident. This was promptly followed by a call to the Queens Harbour Master to notify him of the same, so any commercial traffic was also made aware.’. The incident ended when he was plucked to safety by a fishing boat before being transferred to a police boat and taken to land.

Colin added “‘Thankfully, the incident had a happy ending, but we had two other swimmers in difficulty the day before resulting in the deployment of the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service twice. It is important that we get the message out to every one of the dangers of swimming off the Hot Walls beach which is a no swimming area. During the summer we also have teenagers’ “tombstoning” off the walls into very shallow waters, and I cannot stress enough how dangerous this is.’

The photograph (courtesy of the Portsmouth News) shows the teenager being transferred to the Police boat

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Currently almost 60 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 Filey in North 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
[email protected]

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