The Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, Major General Martin White, has congratulated the Needles National Coastwatch Institution on their successful re-assessment of their Declared Facility Status (DFS).
Needles NCI, in retaining their DFS, remain an integral part of the UK Search and Rescue which includes HM Coastguard, the RNLI and Independent Lifeboats up and down the Solent. This year alone the Needles NCI, which relies on public donation, have helped with more than 20 serious incidents.
Situated 400ft up in the lookout tower above The Needles, volunteer watchkeepers scan the waters paying particular attention to vulnerable people and craft such as kayaks, jet skis, leisure or commercial fishing boats and all sizes of sail and motor vessels.
VHF Channel 65 is dedicated to National Coastwatch. Mariners in the vicinity of the Needles are encouraged to free up the emergency Channel 16 and use Channel 65 for radio checks, and weather reports using ‘Needles NCI’.
Speaking of the Channel 65 service, a grateful user has said:
”I can easily radio them to ask if my companions are safe and if they have concerns they will radio us … they give weather and tidal conditions and a radio check is never a problem. They are a dedicated bunch of volunteer guardian angels on the cliffs.”
Needles NCI are particularly grateful for the support that they have received this year from Sainsbury’s West Cowes, The Vox Pop Choir, Freshwater Bay Golf Club, and Needles Pleasure Cruises.