Members of UK Coastguard from the National Maritime Operations Centre at Fareham paid a special visit to the Isle of Wight this week.
The NMOC, as it is known, is the hub of search and rescue operations in the local area. In fact, the centre has the ability to coordinate rescue missions anywhere in the country and further afield. The men and women based in Fareham answer 999 calls and liaise with Coastguard Rescue Teams, lifeboats, helicopters and other agencies around the clock, 365 days a year.
The team from Watch 1 of Solent Coastguard put down their head sets and hopped across the water earlier this week to meet the people behind the voices they hear so often on the airwaves – a rare opportunity for search and rescue colleagues to come together on the ground and communicate without the pressures of a live incident.
On Thursday night a cliff top exercise was carried out at Flowersbrook in Ventnor with Bembridge, Ventnor and The Needles Coastguard Rescue Teams (CRTs) demonstrating their cliff rescue skills to the Watch. They also visited Cowes RNLI, Yarmouth RNLI, Freshwater Independent Lifeboat, Ryde Inshore Rescue and Sandown & Shanklin Independent Lifeboat.
The volunteers of the National Coastwatch Institution at The Needles were also paid a visit.
Yesterday (Friday) the Watch paid a visit to Bembridge RNLI where they met not only the RNLI volunteers, but caught up with volunteers from Ryde Inshore Rescue again – 1 of 3 independent lifeboat services on the Island. The visitors witnessed the launching of the Y Boat from Bembridge’s Tamar class lifeboat as well as a towing exercise between Ryde’s inshore lifeboat and the much larger Bembridge All Weather Lifeboat.
The Solent Coastguard team were transferred back across the Solent to Portsmouth Harbour yesterday dinnertime, ready for their next shift assisting those in peril on the seas and around the South’s coastline.