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’.