Training and What's Required

The Watchroom

Training area

Ideally we would like everyone to do two watches per month in order to keep the station open at the official times but of course there are opportunities to do more when there is illness or other committments restrict other members from doing their watches.

Initially new members have to go through a trial period of approximately 6 watches spread over several months while doing their initial training. This can vary depending on your background. We currently have members with all sorts of background and many with no experience of the sea and charts / navigation. So depending on the ability of the individual to pick up the basics of being a watchkeeper will determine how long it will be before they are promoted to watchkeeper.   

When a new member joins they contact the Watch Co-ordinator and give dates of when they are available. The watch Co-ordinator will then assign that new member a couple of watches for that month and following months. There will normally be a qualified watchkeeper and a trainer (senior watchkeeper) there on watch at the same time in order to take you through your training period.

 Over the following 6 watches or so you will learn how to take range and bearings of various objects and plot them on a marine chart, complete the watch log, use the AIS system, identify the various leisure craft that pass the station, monitor the marine band radios, understand the local weather conditions, phonetic alphabet, opening and closing the watch station.

None of the training is there to pressure anyone and its all done at a slow easy  pace depending on your ability. During your training period it will be expected that you will purchase a uniform as required by NCI either through the station quartermaster ( at a reasonable price)  or by your own means as long as it asheres to the NCI requirements

Once your tariner feels you reached a level to be made up to watchkeeper you will be assessed and made up accordingly. On going training continues with a better knowledge of whats required to be a member of the NCI including radio training 


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