Watchkeepers train eyes along coast for 21 years

Bob White, right, Mundesley Coastwatch station manager, keeping an eye on the sea and beaches with c

Bob White, right, Mundesley Coastwatch station manager, keeping an eye on the sea and beaches with colleagues, Phil Simpson, left, coastwatcher, and Roger Behling, deputy station manager. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A team of watchkeepers is marking 21 years of serving as 'eyes along the coast.'

Bob White, right, Mundesley Coastwatch station manager, keeping an eye on the sea and beaches. Pictu

Bob White, right, Mundesley Coastwatch station manager, keeping an eye on the sea and beaches. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Mundesley Coastwatch members are constantly on alert for the first sign of danger at sea.

The lookout station which was established in 1995, is one of a network of more than 50 across the nation.

The sophisticated equipment in operation today is a far cry from the compass and notepad the station started with in 1995. Station manager Bob White leads a dedicated team of around 60 volunteers.

'There is an automatic identification system for all the ships out there,' explained Mr White. 'We are really watching out for any small craft, checking they are not in trouble. The big vessels can look after themselves. Our job is to spot, plot and report to the Coastguard.'

Bob White, right, Mundesley Coastwatch station manager, and his deputy, Roger Behling, keeping an ey

Bob White, right, Mundesley Coastwatch station manager, and his deputy, Roger Behling, keeping an eye on the sea and beaches. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016


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He added: 'Running the station is the part I enjoy, the buck stops here and no two days are ever the same.'

The watchtower, which occupies a former coastguard station, surveys more than 180 square miles of sea. A second lookout is due to open on Vale Road in the village next year to cover a bay that is not visible from the existing watchtower.

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Deputy station manager Roger Behling has volunteered for the National Coastwatch Institution for the last three years.

He said: 'We have a had a couple of near misses out there, on one occasion a container ship was heading straight towards a dive, but managed to change course at the last moment.'

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