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All systems go for new Caister sea watchers

PUBLISHED: 11:38 03 June 2011

Caister Lifeboat station

Caister Lifeboat station

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2010

SEA-SCANNING eyes will be cast along Caister’s coastline for any signs of offshore trouble as of tomorrow, 
thanks to the efforts of volunteers.

A team of life-savers will be scanning the horizon for swimmers or sailors in trouble in a specially kitted out room above the village’s Heritage Centre at Caister Lifeboat’s HQ in Tan Lane.

Those at the newly opened National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) station will be armed with CCTV and radar and on patrol over summer weekends and bank holidays.

Their success story also follows on from a successful appeal in the pages of the Mercury in March.

Retired police officer Rob Barker will be station manager. He said: ”I’m excited and relieved that it’s now finally taking off.

“It’s important because you have the fisherman launching from right in front of the observation room, 
you have the wind farm there which can be a magnet for amateur sailors who don’t realise its dangers, and two or three holiday camps, with people not realising some of the dangers too.

“This means you will have eyes and ears covering the whole beach for those sorts of things.”

Donations and fundraising have contributed to the £2000 spent on kitting out the observation room.

The team has undergone weeks of training in everything from using radar to estimating distances.

If they spot trouble, they will relay details to the coastguards.

The setting up of the Caister group also follows on from the success of a long-established station in Gorleston.

Rob was surprised at the response to his appeal, which brought in six new recruits, and two more for the Gorleston station.

“I was well chuffed, and to be honest wasn’t expecting it because we had had a poor turnout for our open day in February.”

To donate or get involved, contact Rob on 01493 749971 or go to www.nci.org.uk and apply there.


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