16th September, 2020
A volunteer Watchkeeper from the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) at Rossall Point, Fleetwood, was involved in an incident today, Wednesday (16th September) involving HM Coastguard and Fleetwood RNLI.
A small inflatable rib, with two adults onboard, was seen in difficulty and drifting out on the tide. Brian Johnson, a volunteer with NCI for the past five years and on watch at the time, was soon in contact with HM Coastguard at Holyhead, informing them of the possible incident.
Fleetwood RNLI launched both lifeboats and were directed to the casualties by Brian. Fleetwood RNLI in-shore lifeboat collected both casualties and transferred them to the all-weather lifeboat, before towing the small inflatable back to the shore, where they were met by the Coastguard.
Neither casualties required medical assistance.
Tony Cowell, Coxswain for Fleetwood RNLI said ‘Our friends at Coastwatch were of great assistance today. Not only did they spot the small boat in difficulties, but helped direct us to the scene, quickly. The situation could have ended very differently without their help.’
Channel swim donation for Coastwatchers
When National Coastwatch Fleetwood volunteer Watchkeepers at Rossall Tower were asked to keep a safety check on a local swimmer, whilst training off the beach at Fleetwood, they had little idea the training was for an attempt to swim the English Channel
Emma Truscott, a member of Fleetwood Swimming Club, decided to attempt the 22-mile-long distance swim over three years ago. Training started in earnest and because of Coronavirus restrictions, it was almost cancelled. But in the last minute, she got the green light to attempt the swim.
In a fantastic show of gratitude to the Watchkeepers who looked after her during her training, she decided to raise funds for National Coastwatch Fleetwood, based at Rossall Tower.
Emma’s swim lasted around 10 hours and unfortunately, several miles from France, she had to concede defeat, because of the detrimental effects of salt in her mouth.
Nevertheless, she presented a cheque for £260.91 to Brian Johnson, a volunteer Watchkeeper with National Coastwatch Fleetwood.
Brian Johnson, from NCI Fleetwood said ‘I was watching Emma training one day and realised she was being followed by our local seal ! I decided not to inform her though, in case it scared her. Emma’s a brave lass for even attempting the swim and we are really appreciative of her fundraising on our behalf.’
A volunteer Watchkeeper from the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) at Rossall Point, Fleetwood, was involved in an incident last Sunday (2nd August) involving HM Coastguard and Fleetwood RNLI.
A kayak, with an adult and child aboard, was seen in difficulty and drifting out on the tide. Roger Oakley, a volunteer with NCI for the past three years and on watch at the time, was soon in contact with HM Coastguard at Holyhead and was asked to keep the Coastguard updated, whilst help was mobilised.
At one stage, the casualties on the kayak, appeared to cling onto a buoy as the kayak drifted past on the tide.
Fleetwood Coastguard and Fleetwood RNLI were soon on the scene and the Fleetwood RNLI in-shore lifeboat collected both casualties and towed the kayak back to the shore, where they were met by the Coastguard.
Neither casualties required medical assistance.
The volunteer Watchkeepers from the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) at Rossall Point, Fleetwood, received the news they’ve been waiting for this week. They will recommence their watchkeeping duties at Rossall Point Observation Tower from Saturday 11th July.
Coastwatch operations were stopped on the 18th March, as the coronavirus crisis was beginning to get a grip across the nation. Since then, the tower has remained closed. The Coastwatch volunteers were able to keep in touch with one another, for news updates and to check on each other’s health, through social media. This resilience has ensured they remain at full strength.
Since the end of June, the National Coastwatch Trustees have been putting together a Covid-19 protocol, to enable their 56 watchkeeping stations to reopen. Besides the obvious emphasis on hygiene, they have also put in place a ‘buddy’ system, to allow solo watches, ensuring Watchkeepers are safe throughout the three-hour shift.
Station Manager, Martyn Cripps said ‘This is excellent news. Our priority is always the Watchkeepers safety, but this is great news for both locals and visitors to Fleetwood beaches.
There have been several incidents on Fleetwood beach over the past few months, including both lifeboats from RNLI Fleetwood being called out to nine people, cut off by the incoming tide.
Tony Cowell, Coxswain at RNLI Fleetwood said ‘We welcome our friends from Coastwatch back at the observation tower. They are an asset to the town and help keep an eye on our beaches and the smaller leisure boats that sail out from Fleetwood and Knott End’.
Our NCI Fleetwood station resumed limited lookout operations in July of this year.
National policy for the NCI mandates that we conduct single-manned watches to respect the government restrictions currently in place. In order to comply with this policy we have implemented a reduced watch period of 3 hours for the watchkeepers. Accordingly our current manning is from 1100 to 1700 each day split into 2 x 3hour watch periods.
Since returning to duty we have been involved in 5 incidents all of which had the potential to become very serious for the individuals concerned.
For the boating community, please remember we are available on Marine Channel 65 for radio checks and actual weather reports from our station weather equipment.