Portland Bill is manned 07.00 – 19.00 by a team of trained and dedicated volunteers who keep a visual and listening watch every day of the year, except on Christmas Day. Our lookout is equipped with powerful binoculars, radar, an automated (ships) information system and electronic charts, plus paper charts, telephones and weather instrumentation. We maintain close contact with the local Coastguard Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) based in Weymouth, to which we are a declared resource available for assistance. Our capability in that regard is checked annually by virtue of a Declared Facility Status inspection.
All craft, commercial and leisure, large and small, are monitored from the lookout. We also keep an eye on those who enjoy climbing on the adjacent cliffs. We provide assistance as necessary to the many walkers who pass by. We generally welcome visitors to the lookout – operational circumstances permitting.
Watchkeepers come from all walks of life and have a wide range of skills and experience – some have had no previous maritime experience whatsoever. Training and assessment ensures that all watchkeepers reach the high standard expected by the NCI and the coastguard. Ongoing programmes keep watchkeepers up to date with latest operational procedures and equipment .
Surveillance work is mainly routine but NCI Volunteers are trained to act in an emergency and to report to the Coastguard and other emergency services as necessary – and often do so. We also have a varied social programme .
Can you help us?
Qualified Watchkeepers are generally expected to do 4 watches, each of 4 hours, per month. We are always looking for new volunteers, so if you wish to put your maritime knowledge to good use or would just like to learn a completely new skill and help the community at the same time, and make new friends, please get in touch. Simply phone us on 01305 860178 or visit the lookout at any time up to 19.00 (17.00 winter) or email the Station Manager, Geoff Peters, on firstname.lastname@example.org