Voluntary Group Hopes To Start Lookout From Former Coastguard Tower

The former Coastguards Tower at Telegraph

The sea around Scilly could soon be safer for swimmers, surfers and sailors.

The National Coastwatch Institution is hoping to start a lookout in the former Coast Guard tower at Telegraph.

The group say they are the “eyes of the Maritime Coastguard Agency” and raise the alarm when they see people in difficulty. They work closely with Falmouth Coastguard, train to their standards and say their West Cornwall volunteers have helped saved lives this year after rescues off Penzance and Sennen.

The NCI Chairman wants to add Scilly to their 40 UK sites but a Scillonian will make it happen – Penzance branch Chairman is Nick Nicholas, who left his home in Mincarlo in the 1950s when his dad, Matt, was injured during lifeboat service.

Nick reckons a group could be up and running this year.

Watchers work in shifts, usually between 8am and 5pm in the winter and until 8pm in summer and 28 volunteers would be needed to staff operations in Scilly. They’d need to raise funds locally to pay for equipment, internet and electricity and volunteers would be trained in chart reading and VHF radio skills.

The Coastguard ended patrols from the top of the tower at the start of the new millennium. The building has just been leased by the Duchy of Cornwall to Peter Laverock and his lease terms require that he offers access to the group. Peter says he feels it is a great project.

Nick says they’ll be drumming up interest if their trustees back expansion to Scilly.

NCI is a voluntary organisation that started life in 1994 when two fishermen lost their lives off Bass Point on the Lizard, below a recently closed Coastguard lookout. Following the accident, local people decided to open and restore a visual watch from the tower.

NCI now has 44 operational stations around the coastline of England and Wales.

 



One Response to Voluntary Group Hopes To Start Lookout From Former Coastguard Tower

  1. Michael Fisher June 30, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    This is good news. When I’m not in Scilly I’m a watchkeeper with the NCI at Stepper Point, near Padstow. We have 45 volunteers, men and women, and staff our station every day of the year. I joined 9 years ago, and have enjoyed both watchkeeping and the training that goes with it. I never thought I would master VHF radio procedures, radar and D/F operating, but I have and much more besides. Go for it, Scillonians!