Torbay National Coastwatch Institution (Torbay NCI)
In 2007, the old tower overlooking Torbay which had provided a Coastal lookout and meteorology data for around 100 years, was deemed unsafe and too small for operation in the NCI network of Watchstations.
Accordingly, NCI decided to build a new and larger tower on the same site, with the agreement of Torquay Harbour services and Torbay Council. Planning permission was obtained and the building work put out to tender.
With permission to proceed, work started on a 36 square metre, 3 storey tower to replace the original on the same site. With this agreement settled, the Chairman of NCI, who was personally involved in every stage of the project, set about raising the funds to build and fully equip the new Tower, as well as recruiting volunteers to be fully trained as Watchkeepers offering a skilled, reliable, 365 day service.
Over a period of 12 months around £55,000 was raised, largely from local sources. This covered the cost of the Tower, leaving a reasonable sum towards the Visitors Centre built beside the Tower, which was aided by Lottery funding.
Torbay NCI was the first “purpose built ” NCI Watchstation among many in operation, with existing coastal buildings usually renovated to suit requirements.
The Opening of Torbay NCI
The 24th August 2011 saw the opening of the tower by Admiral Sir Neville Purvis KCB
Declared Facility Status
In January 2012, the station was given Declared Facility Status (DFS) – meaning that the station was not only fully operational but also fully recognised in search and rescue operations with the same status as RNLI Lifeboats and search and rescue assets.
The assessment, overseen by NCI assessors and HM Coastguard, was carried out in November 2011. four watchkeepers were closely examined in all aspects of watchkeeping, including emergency flags, signals and procedures, chartwork, observations and VHF radio work. They also took part in a mock exercise involving the lifeboat and a small craft in distress.
Annual assessments continue to take place, to ensure that standards and training are maintained to the required standard.
Remember, Torbay NCI provide weather conditions and radio checks for yachtsmen and fishermen, and details of the sea state and tides for anyone about to take part in a water sports activity.
If you need a radio check or the latest weather, call us on VHF Channel 65. We’d love to help!