Alresford Rotary members enjoyed an informative presentation by Mr Terry Lott of the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) on Monday 8th July. Terry is based at the Watch Station at Lee-on-the-Solent and his fund-raising activities are directed towards that station. NCI is an entirely voluntary organisation, established in 1994, that assists in the preservation of life at sea by providing the ‘eyes and ears’ along the UK coastline that was once provided by HM Coastguard. There are currently 54 stations that are operational and these are manned by over 2,400 highly trained volunteers. Whilst modern 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 activities like diving, windsurfing and canoeing are made safer with visual surveillance. In the event of a volunteer spotting an incident or a potential incident it is reported to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (a UK Government entity) who will decide which rescue service would be most appropriate to deal with the situation. Once this has been established, the relevant NCI station will assist in guiding assistance to where it is required. 539 such incidents were logged in 2018 and watchkeepers recorded 265,000 hours of surveillance in this period.