150 years of watching over the Portland Race

Following the NCI Portland Bill AGM on Thursday 16th November 2017 station manager Geoff Peters announced the good news. This year he was able to present service awards to 11 watchkeepers that have between them been watched over the Portland Race and its environs for a total of 150 years, although not 24hours a day 7 days a week

The 7 watchkeepers receiving their service awards with Station Manager Geoff Peters

The 7 service awards recipients at the AGM were:

20 years        Mac Scard, Barry Gasson

15 years         Carole Norrie

10 years         Mike Davis, David Morris, Tom Binding, Michael Gregory

In addition the 4 award recipients  who were unable to attend the presentation were:

20 years         Mike Burgoyne

15 years          Les Sullivan

10 years          John Lewis, Roger Sutherland

Thank you all for your service and we look forward to future presentations.


Lest We Forget
By: Pam Peters

A group of around 20 Watchkeepers from NCI Coastwatch, Portland Bill attended the Service of Remembrance at The Cenotaph, The Heights, Portland where Station Manager, Geoff Peters, laid a wreath on behalf of the Team.

Station Manager Geoff Peters laying the NCI Portland station.

The service was conducted by Rev Tim Gomm, Team Rector of Portland, President of the Royal British Legion on Portland, Rev James Menzies, Team Vicar of Portland & Mr David Farmer, Lay Pastor of Portland Methodist Church. The congregation’s hymns were led by The Weymouth Concert Brass.

With excellent weather the turnout this year was exceptional.

Each year the number attending the service at Portland increases and once again the weather was good, cold and very windy but luckily no rain.

Photographs Courtesy of Roger Sutherland


“GOODBYE AND THANK YOU” Ceremony for the Staff and Crews Of Portland Search and Rescue Helicopter

By: Len Heath and Frederick Daborn

Friday 30th June 2017 was the last day of operation of the Portland SAR helicopter and in recognition of all the crews had done the Mayor of Portland and Portland Town Council organised a thank you ceremony which was held at the Search and Rescue Helicopter Base, Osprey Quay Portland.

The SAR team and dignitaries in front of helicopter “Whiskey Bravo” (106) before the presentation.

The ceremony was introduced by the Portland Town Crier and the formal welcome was given by the Town Mayor of Portland, Councillor David Thurston, Following a short address by Richard Drax MP certificates were presented to the staff of the station in recognition of their hard work and devotion to duty over the years of operation by the High Sheriff of Dorset Mr John Young MC JP DL. In addition to the framed certificates each of the staff member received a bottle of Champaign  kindly donated by the Manager of Tesco’s Store Portland.

Following the presentation ceremony the guests adjourned to the Marina Wall for the unveiling of a commemorative stone engraved with the names of all flight crews who had flown from Portland Base during its SAR days. The Stone was donated and carved by the staff of the Portland quarries and was unveiled by the Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset Mr Angus Campbell.

After the unveiling the guests proceeded to “The Boat That Rocks” for refreshments, the guests included Sir Alan Massey KCB CBE Chief Executive of the MCA, local mayors and partners and representatives from local SAR support organisations.


NCI Portland Bill Gives Support to the Coastguard and Identifies Yacht in Distress

On Sunday 14th Mach 2017 the NCI Portland Bill watchkeepers recorded a yacht passing Portland Bill, they later noticed it with engine failure 1 nautical mile and on a bearing of 300 degrees from the lookout, eventually drifting with anchor down to a bearing of 345 degrees from the lookout before the lifeboat arrived.

Weymouth AWL 17-32 approaching Portland Bill on route to the yacht.

 Watch leader Tony Marshall said “We were aware that there was a possible problem with this yacht some time before she radioed a “Pan Pan” distress call to SCG and we were keeping her under close observation”.

SCG telephoned us to ask if we had a visual and for vessel details, we gave full details and offered assistance to the RNLI in conning the lifeboat to the casualty if required. We heard nothing further from SCG

Yacht under tow from AWL 17-32

 Photographs by Tony Marshall


A visit to Portland Bill Lookout by The High Sheriff of Dorset, Sir Philip Williams.

By Geoff Peters 31/01/17

Sir Philip Williams receives instruction on the use of the radar from Deputy Station Manager Michael Gregory.

We were very honoured and privileged to entertain Sir Philip at the Lookout on Tuesday 31st January. Not only was he very impressed with our work and dedication and really fascinated with our equipment, Sir Philip could not believe we were totally self funded, which means we have to do all our own fundraising.

Sir Philip was greeted by Station Manager, Geoff Peters, the visit began with a visit to the Watchroom where duty Watchkeepers, Michael Gregory & Paul Clarke together with Roger Harrington, explained and demonstrated the technicalities of the high tech equipment. Sir Philip was then entertained in The Training Centre by other Watchkeepers Len Heath, Stan Zapiec, Trefor Morgan & Roger Sutherland who also showed a short DVD, documenting some of the highlights of Portland Bill’s 20 year history, an anniversary which will be celebrated later this year. The event was completed with tea and chocolate mini rolls provided by Pam Peters and Ellen Zapiec.

Sir Philip in The Training Centre with Station Manager Geoff Peters and surrounded by Watchkeepers Roger Sutherland. Roger Harrington, Stan Zapiec, Len Heath & Trefor Morgan

Thankfully the fog lifted sufficiently as Sir Philip arrived to enable some vision of the Lighthouse, which had previously been completely shrouded in fog. Sir Philip has promised a return visit when hopefully the weather will show the area around the Lookout in all its true glory.






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