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Full Training Guided By Your Assigned Training Officer

All Watchkeepers take a competence test, but only when they feel ready.  Watches always have 2 or 3 Watchkeepers, so Trainees can see many Watchkeepers at work.


Can I apply to be a Needles NCI Watchkeeper?


Anyone over the age of 18 who:

Can climb our 3.5m entry ladder,

has sharp eyesight (with or without glasses/ lenses) ,

can concentrate for all 4 hours of your watch,

has a speaking voice which can be understood by others on the radio,

works happily as a team member.

Remember we provide all the skills training.

You will need to cover your cost of travel to the lookout Station and your uniform.

What time commitment is involved?

Our Watchkeepers provide cover 365 days a year:

December and January: 0900-1230 and 1230-1600

The rest of the year has at least two watches: 0900-1300 and 1300-1700

With weekends June to August three watches: 0800-1200; 1200-1600 and 1600-2000

Watchkeepers are expected to complete at least 2 watches a month.

We book using an easy online system.

What does the work involve?

A watch has two or three Watchkeepers, one of which must be qualified.

The video link at the top of this page describes Watchkeeping very well.

There is no pressure to qualify.  You take the competence test when you feel ready, and this is usually a minimum of 3 months.

Emergency incidents occur rarely.  They usually begin with a radio alert or when a Watchkeeper sees something from the Station.  If we think we have a potential incident we contact Solent Coastguard.

What training do I get?

Trainees are assigned a Training Officer who oversees learning.  You receive a manual with current procedures and information to help you pass your competence test.  All Watchkeepers can help you, and we encourage you to work with different Watchkeepers.

You will be trained to spot problems, plot the incident on a chart, report to the Coastguard and support everyone in rescue situations. You will be trained to RYA Level in radio use.  You will learn how to record the weather, log the boats and other craft passing our station, and understand how the tides affect different parts of The Needles and the bay.

Most training is undertaken at the lookout tower.  However some offsite training might be needed and this is scheduled for evenings and/or weekends to suit the attendee group.

All Watchkeepers must continue updating their training.  We run simulations and exercises to keep ourselves sharp and ready for action.

Begin The Process Now – Click Here

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