Caister Coast Watch volunteer talks to hospital radio listeners

Robert Barker

Robert Barker - Credit: Archant

THE most recent interview for broadcast on Hospital Radio Yare by out and about roving reporter Gerry Jarvis was the manager of the Caister observation post, under the auspices of the National Coast Watch Institution.

The institution was set up in Cornwall following the government’s closedown of its coastguard in 1994.

Caister manager Robert Barker explained how the organisation has gone on to set up listening watch stations that monitor all the coastline of England and Wales, with 55 stations and well over 2,000 volunteers. The Caister station is based at the lifeboat Heritage Centre with a good view of beach, dunes and sea.

He explained every station had its different uses and remits, for example the Gorleston station only looks out to sea. On the subject of sea vigilance Robert said his post does overlook a busy shipping lane known as the “Caister Road” and big ships still collide in spite of sophisticated technology, as two did off the coast of Holland recently.

Robert revealed beside the binoculars and telescope, Coast Watch stations have Automatic Identification System (AIS), an automatic tracking system used on ships, or radar, and each member has a personal radio. Members are by and large of an age where they don’t physically take part in rescues, but act primarily as the ears and eyes of the coastline sounding the alarm to those who can help, such as the lifeboat and ambulance services.

Robert explained National Coast Watch is currently on watch throughout the winter in daylight hours on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. However, they would like more volunteers to provide a 365 day a year service.

If anyone is interested in volunteering, please ring Robert Barker on 01493 749911.

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Picture: Brian Frederick