Broadcaster boosts Coastwatch

BOAT mad broadcaster and writer Paul Heiney visited Felixstowe to see the latest equipment now being used by the resort's Coastwatch team to keep an eye on the shores and sea.

BOAT mad broadcaster and writer Paul Heiney visited Felixstowe to see the latest equipment now being used by the resort's Coastwatch team to keep an eye on the shores and sea.

Mr Heiney was visiting the team's HQ at the Martello Tower on the south seafront as part of his role as their patron.

Volunteers showed him their new 18-inch binoculars - which are so powerful they should be able to spot someone in the water as far out as the shipping lanes.

The £1,400 binoculars, and some other new equipment, were bought following fundraising activities over the past year.

Jim Williamson, of Coastwatch, said: “When we look out to sea at vessels two miles away with our old equipment we could see the names on the containers - with these new binoculars we can read the numbers on their sides!

“If someone fell overboard from a ship we would now be able to see them from the tower.

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“They will also be of great use in keeping an eye on everything else closer to shore and on the beaches as part of our work in making sure everyone is safe and to raise the alarm at any time if there is an incident.”

The group is part of a national chain of 32 observation stations around the country's coastline and has more than 30 watchkeepers who keep a look out from the top of the monument, manning it at weekends throughout the year with additional shifts during the summer months.

They can see the whole of the bay from Cobbold's Point to Landguard with a restricted view in just one place near the funfair.