About Porthcawl NCI


The Station overlooks the Bristol Channel and from the lookout we have views of the Somerset and North Devon coastline – from Minehead in the East to Ilfracombe in the West. All commercial traffic bound for the upper Bristol Channel Ports of Bristol, Sharpness, Cardiff, Newport and Barry pass the lookout but at a distance of 6 to 10 miles. Traffic for Swansea to our West, is some 10 miles distant. On the North side of the Channel there are several beaches in view from the lookout – from Ogmore in the East right through to the notable Town Beach featured in the television programme ‘Coast’ in the West. The lookout itself has also featured regularly on local, national and even international weather and news programmes as far afield as Australia, as a backdrop showing some spectacular storm scenes. With completion of the refurbishment at the old Victorian Pilot Lookout during the Summer of 2015, plus the redevelopment of the Harbour area by Bridgend County and Borough Council (BCBC) and the full support of Porthcawl Town Council, this part of the South Wales coast is well served by Lifesaving and Surf Rescue groups. With the Porthcawl RNLI Lifeboat Station situated just behind us and celebrating their 50th Anniversary in 2015, all coastal users and visitors to the beaches can feel more confident in terms of safety. Porthcawl NCI station it is hoped, will eventually provide daytime coastal surveillance seven days a week during Winter and Summer, with our team of fully trained and dedicated volunteers playing their part in the U.K.’s search and rescue (SAR) organisation. Our thanks and acknowledgements must go to the management and crew of RNLI Porthcawl in allowing us the use of their own facility for our meetings and training sessions.

The Bristol Channel has the second highest tidal range in the world  - second only to the Bay of Fundy in Canada – where at Burncoat Head the range reaches nearly 16 metres (around 52 feet) – The tidal range in the Bristol Channel is in excess of 15 metres (around 49 feet). These figures can be much higher depending on weather conditions - especially temperature, air pressure and wind direction. The volume of water moving up and down the Bristol Channel during the tidal flows is huge and speeds in excess of 5 knots can be expected at times.


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.


General enquiries
0300 111 1202

Media enquiries
0845 460 1202

[email protected]

17 Dean Street, Liskeard,
Cornwall, PL14 4AB