New safety watches are set to begin in early 2024 when a new National Coastwatch service starts on Burnham-On-Sea seafront.
As we first reported here, National Coastwatch, a national charity, is set to create a local station run by volunteer watchkeepers, fundraisers and helpers.
The plans have been given extra prominence following the tragic death of Peter Jeffery, 68, who went missing in the sea on October 29th. He had entered the water next to Burnham jetty to try and save a woman and a dog. While the woman and dog were saved, Peter was sadly washed away. A body was later found on Stert Island on November 12th.
Talking to Burnham-On-Sea.com this week, Lizzie Groves from National Coastwatch Burnham-On-Sea (pictured) says over a dozen volunteers have come forward to help run the new watch service.
Lizzie says: “We hope to start initially from the beach office at the top of Burnham jetty early in 2024, possibly January, to provide extra safety watches at weekends during daylight hours initially.”
“Discussions are also underway with Somerset Council to site a new, separate building on Burnham seafront for year-round watches of the coast here.”
“This stretch of water has been identified as a ‘hot spot’ for safety with fast flowing tidal waters, mud, the jetty and a busy beach. The service is really needed.”
National Coastwatch provides ‘Eyes Along The Coast’ for HM Coastguard and will work in Burnham alongside Burnham Coastguards, BARB and the RNLI to help keep the coast, beaches, coastal paths and inshore waters stay safe.
Lizzie adds: “We are pleased to already have a team of ten volunteer watchkeepers in place, but would like around 60 to cover all the shifts. No prior maritime experience is needed as everyone will get full training.”
National Coastwatch Burnham-On-Sea is recruiting volunteer Watchkeepers to start training. Go to www.nci.org.uk/join for details.
The plans for a new National Coastwatch Station on Burnham-On-Sea seafront were given a major funding boost by the Hinkley Point C Community Grant Fund earlier this year.
The Hinkley Point funding secured earlier this year will completely fund a brand new portable-style station, subject to planning, on Burnham-On-Sea seafront, plus some of the special equipment that’s needed to carry out watches.