Since their formation in 1994, the UK’s National Coast Watch Institution (NCI) have been doing invaluable work around the UK coastline. With 50 stations, manned by over 2000 volunteers, the NCI are the marine watch keepers, alerting and coordinate MCA and RNLI rescue operations whilst also monitoring the general coastal environment and weather conditions.
A number of the NCI stations have Digital Yacht AIS units installed, including Mablethorpe (shown above) and the most recent installation was recently completed at Barry Island in South Wales (image below). Using one of our latest AISNet units, they were able to receive AIS targets all the way across the Bristol Channel and up the Avon.
It is not always possible to get an internet connection in some of these very remote NCI stations, but in the Barry station, AISNet was able to send live reception data to an AIS webserver hosted by PocketMariner where it could be viewed online or on a mobile device using their Boat Beacon or our NavLink apps. The image below shows the typical reception the NCI station would see and you can click here to see a live view of the Barry Island station.
The NCI is entirely staffed by volunteers, with funding managed by a Board of Trustees based on a constitution agreed by the Charity Commission. It may not be as dramatic and high profile as the RNLI, but the work they do is of equal importance and relies heavily on local support and donations. If you ever chance upon an NCI station, just knock on the door and the officers on watch will give you a warm welcome and be delighted to show you what they do.