17 April 2024 Volunteers in the North West of England had an extra special day on Tuesday 16th April 2024 when HRH The Princess Royal visited the National Coastwatch station at Fleetwood, Lancashire.
HRH The Princess Royal is Royal Patron of the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI), a charity run entirely by volunteers. This year it celebrates its 30th anniversary of helping to save lives around the coast.
It is the Princess Royal’s fourth visit this year to an NCI station and NCI Fleetwood is one of 60 around the coast. It is also one of the most northerly stations of the charity and the only one in Lancashire. The station overlooks the extensive sandbanks of Morecambe Bay, with views across to Heysham, Barrow in Furness and the Lake District.
The Princess Royal was received at the station by His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Mrs Amanda Parker. She presented NCI Chair Stephen Hand who then presented NCI Sector Manager, Martyn Cripps and Colin Cooper, NCI Fleetwood Station Manager.
Colin Cooper escorted Her Royal Highness into the station’s watch room for a briefing about the work of the highly trained volunteer watchkeepers and their part in helping to save lives around the coast. Duty watchkeepers Bob Loynes, Barbra Bertram and John Bradford were presented.
All 2,700 National Coastwatch volunteer watchkeepers help to keep people safe and save lives at sea by maintaining a daily visual and radio watch over the coast, looking out for anyone in potential danger. They report any coastal safety-related incidents to HM Coastguard so that expert help can be sent, including the Coastguard Rescue Teams and helicopters, the RNLI, independent lifeboats and all emergency services.
Her Royal Highness was briefed on the coastal risks at Fleetwood and the work of the volunteers, who have been involved in 22 casualty-related incidents in the past 12 months. With more people than ever enjoying coastal activities such as walking, kayaking, windsurfing and cold-water swimming, NCI Fleetwood and other stations provide an essential safety service.

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