Wednesday 23rd July.
Watchkeepers looking out for your safety this Wednesday are George and Mike F in the morning and Hilary and Gordon in the afternoon.
NCI Sea Awareness Training Ends in Real Rescue
Wednesday 16th July. Volunteer Exmouth NCI watchkeepers on one of the regular Sea Awareness Training sessions which remind watchkeepers of hazard and safety issues on the coast and at sea were just a couple of miles from home when they found themselves the closest vessel to a stricken fishing boat at the mouth of the Exmouth Approaches Swashway as Brixham Coastguard broadcast a 'PAN PAN' this afternoon.
The off-duty watchkeepers, Doc Martin and Keith Cornish, more than ably assisted by Keith's wife Margot and rookie watchkeeper Jan Stobo, first used the 'towing alongside' technique, but the strong ebb current and very heavy boat proved too tricky so they had to revert to 'towing astern'. It's the second time in a month that Doc has suffered the ignominy of inching past colleagues in the NCI Tower, towing a stricken vessel in strong ebb conditions.
Exmouth marina harbourmaster and lifeboat coxswain Steve Hockings-Thompson kindly gave permission over VHF to tow the boat into the marina, upon completion of which Brixham Coastguard were informed and the incident closed. If you would like to donate to Exmouth NCI, please click here.
Founded in 1998, Exmouth Coastwatch is one of the network of Look-Out Stations around the UK which comprise the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI); we are situated in the tower, right on the seafront above the Harbour View Cafe on Marine Parade in Exmouth, East Devon, next to the beach's Red Flag zone.
From this vantage point, we keep watch over the bay, the beach and the estuary 7 days a week in summer and every weekend in winter.The dangerous sea approaches to Exmouth, especially in strong onshore winds and swell, coupled with the large drying areas inside the Estuary and the strong tidal and river streams within, all present unique hazards to small boats, jet-skis, kitesurfers, windsurfers, paddleboarders, bathers, yachts, dinghies and canoes.
As part of the overall UK Search & Rescue capability, we undergo annual inspection by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) to ensure that our stringent standards are maintained.
Watchkeeper Detects Barrel Jellyfish on Exmouth Beach
Friday 4th July.
Off-Duty Exmouth Coastwatch Watchkeeper Keith Cornish detected more than metal this morning when he stumbled across this barrel jellyfish on the beach at Exmouth. Don't worry - as we reported yesterday, they are harmless to humans. (Click on thumbnails for larger image.)
Thursday 3rd July (14:50).
Barrel jellyfish (left)
over 2ft wide spotted half a mile off Langstone Rock this morning, while just 4 miles away at Budleigh Salterton beach a Compass jellyfish (below)
was spotted, both by Exmouth NCI Members.
The barrel jellyfish is harmless to humans, whereas the stinging cells and venom of the Compass jellyfish are strong and can produce painful, long lasting weals in humans.
£10M Coastal Defence Investment Announced
Tuesday 24th June.
The winter storms displaced 100,000 tonnes of sand and damaged sea defences on Dawlish Warren, right opposite our NCI Tower. But now a £10M project to create a new embankment on the warren, strengthen the seawall and protect buildings in Exmouth has been announced. More info and video courtesy Torquay Herald Express.
Coastwatch Member Spots Shark !
Monday 23rd June.
DON'T PANIC ! This 16ft basking shark spotted by Exmouth Coastwatch member Gordon Betteridge on board friends Mike and Sarah's vessel Devocean, 9 miles south of Exmouth at the Boma wreck on Saturday. Click thumbnails for larger image.
Declared Facility Status P A S S ++
Sunday 22nd June 2014. NCI Exmouth today went through a tough testing process to ensure that we are up to scratch - and we came through with flying colours.
It means that our Tower lookout station can continue to keep its status as a fully fledged part of the integrated search and rescue services and we keep our 'declared facility' status.
Today's watches were assessed on the processes and practices of the station. Asked for his reaction to the continued clean bill of health for the Station, Mike Fowler, Station Manager, said "we have a great team; I'd have expected nothing less than the calm, efficient and knowledgable work which today's watchkeepers, Graham Nye, Keith Cornish, Patrick McCahearty and Steve Wills put in today. Credit must also go to our Training Manager, Colin Bytheway, the Trainers and our 45-plus members."
As well as the RNLI and the Coastguard, our volunteers also work with the other emergency services to assist with incidents on and around our coastline and beaches.
NCI's South West Area Assessor, Colin Pomeroy, observed and tested all aspects of station operations, including looking at the teamwork and competence of the volunteers while guiding Exmouth Inshore Lifeboat by radio onto different simulated casualties in Lyme Bay. Colin's eventual assessment was that we had not only passed but 'well passed'. So - thanks to all involved, and especially to Colin, Graham, Keith, Patrick and Steve. Well done !
West Channel - Why Risk It ?
Saturday 21st June. Click on the picture to see what happens if you risk the West Channel. Since the storms in February/March this year the configuration of the seabed and sandbars has changed and where you might previously have thought you knew how to safely navigate the West Channel you might like to think again, especially if you're not local. Why risk it ? Exmouth Coastwatch photographed this pair who ran out of water last evening. And remember - conditions in the Estuary aren't always as safe as they may appear.
HMS Ranger Spotted by Coastwatch
Friday 20th June. Difficult to miss, really ! Archer class patrol and training vessel HMS Ranger crept into Exmouth on last night's high tide, spotted by Coastwatch arriving at dusk. More info. Click thumbnails for larger image.
. . . . . followed by HMS Dasher . . . . . . . .
Friday 20th June, 11:20. Another Archer class patrol and training vessel, HMS Dasher, currently part of the Faslane Patrol Boat Squadron at HMNB Clyde, arrives at Exmouth on this morning's high tide, spotted by Coastwatch at 11:10am. Sources told us that both HMS Ranger and HMS Dasher will be proceeding later today through the canal to Exeter, with VIPs, in readiness for Armed Forces Day tomorrow. Click thumbnails for larger image.
Janice Passes Her Assessment
Thursday 19th June. Janice Stobo became the latest Exmouth NCI recruit to pass her Assessment this morning and is now a fully qualified Watchkeeper. Well done Janice ! Pictured here with Training Officer Colin Bytheway. Click on thumbnails for larger images.
Dolphins Return for Sea Awareness Training
14:20 Wednesday 18th June. Towards the end of Sea Awareness Training this morning we were lucky to share the waters between Pole Sands and Langstone Rock with approx 9 dolphins playing beach volleyball with giant jellyfish. New Picture Gallery coming soon. Meanwhile just click on the two thumbs.
Jenna Lee Blocks Marina
Monday 16:15. Exmouth Marina blocked this afternoon . . . . . . . . .
6th June - D-Day Landings - Web Page
How the NCI Exmouth website Home Page commemorated the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings. [Click for larger image.]
Royal Marines Speed March
Monday 2nd June.
700 Royal Marines, including 6 who had travelled around Europe, starting in North Norway on Feb 5th, speed marched along the seafront and through the town centre as part of the corp's 350th birthday celebrations. Click picture for video (be patient, it's a big file). Otherwise play video via YouTube (iPad Users). [Keith Cornish]
80 Yards Off WHERE ??!!
Monday 2nd June. "PAN PAN. PAN PAN. PAN PAN. Broken down vessel with engine failure 80 yards off Ladram Bay. LAT . . . LONG . . . blah blah".
Off-duty NCI Watchkeeper Doc Martin and his wife were bimbling along the coast in their RIB from fishing at Otter Cove, back to Exmouth, yesterday afternoon, when this PAN PAN came over the VHF. Doc thinks . . . "Ladram Bay . . . miles away . . . (ignore Lat/Long) . . . bimble on . . .". Just after this announcement, up ahead was a speedboat, anchored, with a chap on board frantically waving. Coming up alongside a young family from Ottery off out for an afternoon's fun on the sea . . . "help, my engine won't start" . . . "that's a coincidence, there's another one at Ladram" . . . "no, that's us" . . . "can't be, this is Sandy Bay, Ladram's 8 miles away" . . . "oh, is it ?!" . . . "better tell the Coastguard!".
Fortunately the weather was kind, and the sea was kind, and the young family were safely towed back to their mooring off Exmouth Marina, much to the amusement of fellow watchkeepers in the Tower as the RIB passed by very slowly, doing her best against the strong flow of an Exmouth ebb tide. But if a fog had descended, as it does occasionally, and vessels are searching for you 8 miles away . . . ok, Lat/Long would eventually find you, but precious time would have been lost.
Moral of the story ? If you're out at sea, know where you are at all times, and carry a chart; knowing Lat/Long is good, but small vessels hear a local landmark mentioned and switch off to the Lat/Long. All's well that ends well. [Click here for larger chart]
Mickey Mouse Visits NCI Tower
Wednesday 28th May. Just to demonstrate that being a member of Exmouth NCI is also fun, this was the view from the new camera this morning - someone flying a Mickey Mouse kite on the beach managed to get it impaled on the camera. Watchkeepers Ruth and Barry were quick to climb up and free the kite and return it to its young owner, Pauline, on holiday in Exmouth from London. If you'd like to join in the fun and become a watchkeeper, read this.
Margaret Jean Launches for Last Time
Sunday 25th May. This week saw the remaining volunteer lifeboatmen pass their Assessment, so at 09:20 on Sunday Margaret Jean launched for the very last time from Exmouth, escorted by the new 13-03 Shannon Class, to go to Poole as Standby for the RNLI's Mersey Class lifeboats. [Larger photo]