National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) has created a groundbreaking program that connects students from all over the globe and local volunteers from the community with the common goal of saving lives on the coast.

HRH Princess Royal NCI’s Royal Patron was at St Donat’s Bay station earlier this year.

As an international first and a world-first, the NCI has created a collaborative program at its station in the highly regarded UWC Atlantic College at St Donat’s, South Wales. It’s the only National Coastwatch station in which students collaborate with local volunteers to observe the coastline and sea and issue an alarm in the event that someone is in danger.

It is the NCI St Donat’s Bay station is just one station operated by the charity throughout Wales as well as England. Atlantic College students (aged between 16 to 19) are receiving NCI’s training for watchkeeping across a range of subjects like interpreting weather and tides, VHF radio operations, and understanding charts of the sea. It’s included in their formal International Baccalaureate qualification, which requires the completion of a service component in the community.

Seven students NCI “cadets” who hail from Canada, Kenya, Taiwan, Pakistan, China, Peru and the Netherlands are now finishing their formal training. They’re participating in watchkeeping tasks with the guidance of qualified volunteers from the local region.

St Donat’s Bay station was established in 2021. St Donat’s Bay station opened in 2021 and is scheduled to be granted HM Coastguard Official Facility Status in 2023. This means that it will be officially recognized as a part of the marine search and rescue group.

Jo Schup, St Donat’s Bay Station Manager, said:

“I am thrilled that the station has come since we began, and the team should be happy to be in this level of readiness in less than 2 years.

“NCI St. Donat’s School is a unique institution in its close cooperation with the students of UWC Atlantic. Through the cadets of UWC Atlantic we can ensure that vital skills in search and rescue are taught, practiced and improved. The students are a source of inspiration for the St Donat’s NCI crew and we are confident that when they graduate and go back to their homelands their skills that they’ve learned will be ingrained and utilized throughout the world.”

NCI Cadet Andrea Valeria Choque Coronel added:

“Being a cadet in the NCI is a fascinating experience since I am getting information about what it takes to be a watchkeeper on the coast and how to utilize the right tools, such as VHF radio and maps. I’m originally from Puno in Peru, which is home to the biggest Lake in the entire world.


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