10th April 2019, The National Coastwatch Institution station at St Ives is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

For two decades volunteer watchkeepers have monitored boat movements, the activities of water sports enthusiasts, beach-goers and cliff-walkers from 7.30am to 6pm every day of the year. Watchkeepers monitor marine activity around St Ives bay to provide an early warning system to summon help to anyone getting into difficulties.

NCI members will be celebrating with a buffet at the West Cornwall Golf Club in August and, in the meantime, their fund-raising will continue. Station Manager Helen Simpson said: "We are always delighted to receive donations and would love to hear from anyone who could help with organising fund-raising events for us." As a voluntary organisation, St Ives NCI has to raise its own funds through donations, public collections and its successful book store adjoining the watch station on The Island.

The organisation thanked donators, including St Ives Town Council, which recently donated £1,000 towards the provision of new electronic marine wipers, an essential piece of equipment. Other pieces of equipment necessary to carry out coastline duties include high-powered binoculars, radar, radio and even webcam.

NCI St Ives 20th anniversary coincides with the National Coastwatch Institution marking 25 years since its formation, after the closure of a number of coastguard stations around the UK. In the 25 years since the first station opened in 1994, the charity has established 52 watch stations around the UK coast with many more planned. The 25th National anniversary will be marked by a visit to Cornwall, later in the year, from their patron, The Princess Royal.

NCI St Ives are always looking for new watchkeepers who would like to join them for a few hours a week. No experience is needed as full training is provided and further details and contact information can be found online at  

The photograph (courtesy of the St Ives Packet) shows Trevor Hoskins (centre) and Geoff Langford (right), the two founder-members of NCI St Ives who are still serving as volunteer watchkeepers 20 years later, pictured with station manager Helen Simpson.

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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.


General enquiries
0300 111 1202

Media enquiries
0845 460 1202

[email protected]

17 Dean Street, Liskeard,
Cornwall, PL14 4AB