Coast watch volunteers pass assessment with flying colours
THE Froward Point Coastwatch station remains a fully fledged member of the search and rescue services in South Devon after successfully passing a rescue readiness test.
The volunteer-manned station at the mouth of the River Dart has retained its declared facility status following the assessment last month.
Froward Point National Coastwatch Institution's volunteer force of almost 70 watchkeepers take turn to man the lookout, which is a refurbished and re-equipped battery observation post from the old Brownstone Battery, a World War II facility designed to defend Dartmouth and the Devon coast to Start Point.
On the day, NCI's internal assessor, Ann Channing, observed and tested all aspects of station operations, looking at the teamwork and competence of the volunteers while guiding Dart Lifeboat by radio onto seven different simulated casualties. Mrs Channing was impressed with the quiet teamwork, and the knowledge of the area demonstrated by the two watches.
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Mervyn Balson, Froward Point Station manager, said: "We have a great team. I'd have expected nothing less than the calm and efficient work the two watches put in today. Our volunteer watchkeepers work well under pressure, and give a great service to the boating and walking public alike. I'm proud of them."
As well as the RNLI and the Coastguard, the volunteers at Froward Point NCI also work with the other emergency services to assist with incidents and other requests for help on the coast path. The membership, volunteers to the last man and woman, has a wide local knowledge.