NCI - Hengistbury Head
Who we are
National Coastwatch Hengistbury Head is one of over 55 Coastwatch Stations that form the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) national charity. Our Lookout at Hengistbury Head opened on 10th August 2018 in a building previously used by HM Coastguard that had been unmanned for over 20 years. We have 90 volunteers and operate 364 days a year in daylight hours keeping watch over Poole and Christchruch bays and the dangerous waters around Hengistbury Head and the entrance to Christchurch Harbour.
We are all volunteers and rely entirely upon local fundraising to keep our essential service to the community going. Please help us with your donation.
National Coastwatch is a voluntary organisation keeping a visual watch along UK shores and a national registered charity, locally funded. Each station assists HM Coastguard in the protection and preservation of life at sea and around the UK coastline.
NCI was established in 1994 after many HM Coastguard lookout stations were closed, lighthouses became unmanned and lightships removed. There are now over 50 NCI stations in England and Wales manned by over 2500 Watchkeepers providing “eyes along the coast”. The NCI has assisted in over 500 incidents in 2018, initiating 300 of them of which 218 involved lifeboat rescue.
Whilst high technology and sophisticated systems are aids to improved safety, a computer cannot spot a distress flare, an overturned boat or a yachtsman or fisherman in trouble.
Other vulnerable activities like diving, wind surfing, canoeing, swimming and cliff walking are made safer with visual surveillance. NCI Watchkeepers provide the eyes and ears along the coast, monitoring radio channels and providing a listening watch in poor visibility.