Now North Denes Coastwatch Station is able to offer sailors a safe harbour, thanks to the donation of a Skyview weather station. Originally a "fall back" watch position, Coastguard volunteers using the Coastwatch Station are now able to provide reliable and accurate information on weather conditions, further supporting of search and rescue operations.
About the Sea Safety Group
The Sea Safety Group is an international non-governmental organisation based in the UK, which is responsible for assisting the H. M. Coastguard in Search and Rescue operations through consistent surveillance on coastal waters and monitoring of distress calls on VHF radio.
Surveillance is carried out by volunteers, who each give up a few hours of their time every week. The volunteers receive "on the watch" training in the basics of visual and radio watch keeping, reporting, simple ship recognition and the understanding of navigational terms and charts, to help them understand and interpret the wide variety of signals and happenings on the sea.
About North Denes Coastwatch
North Denes is one of the two Coastwatch Stations used by the Coastguard in Great Yarmouth. A wooden two storey tower building, the Station is positioned on a cantilevered concrete platform overhanging the sand dunes to the north of Great Yarmouth town. Originally it was thought to be the secondary Station used by the Coastguard when the main tower at the end of the South Pier in Gorleston was considered to be unsafe in stormy weather. Eventually, however, the Station went out of use and was used for a time by Great Yarmouth Borough Council as a store for beach safety equipment.
When the Sea Safety Group charity was set up in the 1990s, a watch group was set up, and the charity sought the permission of the Borough Council to restore the North Denes Coastwatch Station to its former glory and a watch tower. Having granted permission, the tower was back in use for coast watches in 1996.
Now, a team of approximately 24 watch-keepers man the station every day of the year. In the summer watches begin at 8am and continue through to 8pm. During the winter months the watch closes earlier dependant upon the light conditions.
The Coastwatch group use an electronic weather station to monitor weather conditions and provide accurate data to inform volunteers and the Coastguard of conditions at that location. This is vital in forecasting and predicting hazardous weather conditions which could be dangerous for anyone at sea.
After the existing weather station failed, a new system was required urgently. The new system was required to be more reliable, and consistently deliver accurate data on all the parameters which require monitoring, including wind speed and direction and barometric pressure.
Skyview Systems Ltd donated North Denes Coastwatch Station with a professional wireless Davis Vantage Pro2 weather station. This top of the range weather station measures wind speed & direction, rain levels, temperature & humidity and solar radiation. Data collected is streamed live into the North Denes' watch tower so that anyone viewing sees the most up-to-date information.
Skyview also provided North Denes with their unique web-based service, Skylink-Pro. This enables staff to view data from any PC which has internet access, whether they're on- or off-site. One of the most important requirements set out by North Denes watch-keepers was un-interrupted weather information. Skylink-Pro allows the collation of this much needed data in an easy to see screen allowing those on site to get on with the important task in hand.
Jan Goddard, North Denes Coast Watch Fundraiser, says: "What we really needed was an extremely reliable and accurate system, as we need to be able to collect weather data throughout every watch, every day of the year. The new system has proven to be excellent in delivering on all fronts. We are also most impressed with the speed of installation and the guidance that Skyview's engineer, Steve gave in its use."