I had an excellent meeting today at the Coastwatch Redcar station above the Zetland Lifeboat Museum on Redcar’s seafront, to discuss visibility issues with voluntary officers, Secretary and Trustee Stan Whalley, CEO Trevor Smith and Training Officer Keith Stockdale.
Stan, Trevor and Keith are the leads of a 20+ team of volunteers. dedicated to saving lives and supporting the HM Coastguard. Coastwatch Redcar is associated with the Sea Safety Group with stations right along the East Coast at Hartlepool, Winterton, North Denes, Sheringham, Happisburgh, Pakefield, Irvine Scotland St. Monans Scotland, Coastwatch Tay, Berwick Coastwatch and Sunderland Coastwatch.
Whilst they have a commanding view of Redcar’s coastline from their vantage point, it is not without visibility issues, they tell me. Having listened to their concerns, I am hoping to help them resolve the issues they have both to the East and West, as well as along the sea wall steps behind the sea defence.
Firstly, they presented me with a problem they have viewing the slipway to the East at Granville Terrace as well as having no visual of the steps on the sea wall defence side from their viewpoint with existing cameras. This hugely hampers their ability to advise the coastguard and can lead to lost time between incident, reporting and actioning.
This is an issue that they have a potential solution for which I am now putting to Bouygues to seek permission. Bouygues are the company who hold the contract with the council, to maintain the lampposts in Redcar and Cleveland.
Keith also described the issue they have observing around to the West, particularly as this area is used regularly by wind and kite surfers. Up to now they have to request support from the CCTV office at Kirkleatham police station, particularly when they have concerns that need to be observed. While the CCTV are very supportive it isn’t ideal to have to contact this operation which is out of their control. This again can lead to delays which could literally mean the difference between life and death.
They also explained their concerns that when the Regent Cinema is rebuilt it will inhibit this ability further and will prevent viewing potential incidents along this stretch altogether.
A clear solution would be to fix a Coastwatch camera to the new cinema roof which would provide views all the way to the South Gare and beyond. The Coastwatch team demonstrated how a camera at this point would hugely enhance their ability to support the West end of our coastline. I shall advance this request and update.
Thank you so very much to Trevor, Stan and Keith who between them have around 40 years of service and to all the volunteers, past and present for the time, dedication and service they provide to Coastwatch and to Redcar.
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