Hornsea National Coastwatch Institution keeps up the good work one year on after royal visit - based in a former council building!

Mon, 01 Jul 2019

It’s almost a year since Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal officially opened the Hornsea National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) station on 1 August, 2018.

The station occupies the former East Riding of Yorkshire Council Foreshore Building, which was originally used as a Coastguard Watch Station. Hornsea was the first station opened by Her Royal Highness in her role as patron of the organisation, the first north of the Humber and the first in Yorkshire.

It is located on the upper Hornsea promenade and has an excellent view of the coast line between Flamborough Lighthouse, Bridlington, Fraisthorpe, and Atwick on the northern side of the station; and Mapleton, Aldborough, and the Withernsea coastline on the South side.

The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) is an entirely voluntary organisation keeping a visual watch along UK shores.

Each station assists in the protection and preservation of life at sea and around the UK coastline.

Currently 54 NCI stations are operational and manned by over 2600 volunteers keeping watch around the British Isles from RossallPoint in the North West, through Wales, to the South and East of England to Hornsea, in the North East.

Whilst high technology and sophisticated systems are aids to improved safety, a computer cannot spot a distress flare, an overturned boat or a yachtsman or fisherman in trouble. Other vulnerable activities like diving, wind surfing and canoeing are made safer with visual surveillance.

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.

Station manager Mike Johnson said : “We have over 40 volunteers locally, helping to provide our vital service along the coast of the East Riding. We are always in need of support from the public and local businesses to help us with our work, and people can also become associate members of the NCI. We are always looking for volunteers to train as watchkeepers, not just for stations that are already up and running but also for the growing number of new stations that are in the process of being opened up around the UK coastline.”

East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s principal estates and development officer, Richard Holmes, added : “We were delighted to be able to assist NCI when they identified our under utilised foreshores office building as being ideally suited for their use. I am very pleased thatwe were able to work with the NCI to make this superb facility available for them.”

For more details of the organisation, and how to get involved, visit: hornsea@nci.org.uk