Students support Coastwatch team

Nautical Campus students with volunteers from National Coastwatch at Fleetwood's new coastwatch tower. Pictured from left: John La Gette, NCI; David Allsop, Abigail Pritchard, James Frey, Jordan Jones, James Evans, Tom Jowett. Chris Thompson, all Fleetwood Nautical College; Dave English, NCI.
Nautical Campus students with volunteers from National Coastwatch at Fleetwood's new coastwatch tower. Pictured from left: John La Gette, NCI; David Allsop, Abigail Pritchard, James Frey, Jordan Jones, James Evans, Tom Jowett. Chris Thompson, all Fleetwood Nautical College; Dave English, NCI.

FLEETWOOD’S new Coastwatch tower has been a given a cash boost.

Students from the Nautical Campus chose the Fleetwood National Coastwatch team as their chosen charity for the year and managed to raise them £531.

The students, who are studying foundation degrees, endured a variety of tasks to raise the money.

Some were painful, others tested stamina and included body waxing, canoeing the River Wyre and treading water for six hours!

Steve Scholes, Training Manager for Coastwatch, said: ‘’We undertake our training at the Nautical College, with lecturers giving up their time and expertise to ensure we provide a professional service.

“Now the students are helping us! We are just so grateful to them.”

Rossall Point tower was built as part of Wyre Council’s Seachange project and replaced the old 1940s Coastguard tower.

When it is eventually opened, the tower will have educational facilities and an open viewing platform at the top, with a web cam projecting the same view, for those unable to climb the stairs.

Steve Martin, station manager for NCI Rossall Point said: “We will hopefully be back on watch towards the end of February and this marvellous effort by the students, will help provide a Navtex system in the new tower. Their efforts are really appreciated.”

National Coastwatch is staffed entirely by volunteers and funded by donations.

The organisation keeps a visual watch along the shore and assists in the protection and preservation of life at sea and around the UK coastline.

There are currently 49 NCI stations operational, from Rossall Point through Wales and around the British Coastline.

The stations are manned by 2,000 volunteers.

While 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.

For more information about the Fleetwood teams log on to www.ncirossallpointfleetwood.co.uk