Plea for Coastwatch volunteers

THE head of a volunteer group that plays a vital role in ensuring the safety of beach-users and sea-farers along part of Waveney's coastline is appealing for new members.

THE head of a volunteer group that plays a vital role in ensuring the safety of beach-users and sea-farers along part of Waveney's coastline is appealing for new members.

Pakefield Coastwatch is in need of new volunteers to help man the station, which is based in Pakefield Lighthouse.

As part of the national Sea Safety Group, the trust is responsible for observing the shoreline from Lowestoft to Kessingland.

Watchkeepers, who come from the Lowestoft area and across the Waveney Valley, man the station 365 days a year, between 8am and 4pm and until 8pm during the British summer time period.

The call for recruits has gone out because the team of 32 will soon have a shortfall, due to two members leaving.

Station controller Frank Mortimer said that no experience was necessary to become a trainee, and that new watchkeepers receive “on the watch” training, including the basics in visual and radio watch keeping, reporting, ship recognition and understanding navigational charts.

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Most volunteers do one or two four-hour shifts per week, with duties varying from identifying ships to helping in rescue operations, reporting directly to the Coastguard.

Mr Mortimer said: “We would welcome any one wanting to join, male or female, and anyone wishing to have a look around the lighthouse is also very welcome.

He added: “There are no age requirements, with the majority of members in retirement age who have achieved a new lease of life by giving something back to the community.”

To find out more call Mr Mortimer on 01502 573458 or visit www.seasafetygroup.org

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