Map reading, it’s easier than you’d think!

As well being trained to interpret  admiralty chart(s) for their local area ALL NCI watch keepers are also trained to read an Ordnance Survey 25k map.  This enables an NCI station to provide a 6 figure grid references to the emergency services as and when the need arises.

It’s easier than you might think as Steve Backshall explains…

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Online Marine Radio guide….

Do you need to find out more about Marine Radio but are not sure where to start? Marine radio manufacturer Icom have produced a free online radio guide that covers VHF, HF, DSC, ATIS, Licensing plus a useful FAQ section :
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“What determines whether a vessel is referred to as a boat or ship?” (public domain image) (public domain image)

This is one of those trivia questions that seems to have a dozen answers when typed into Google.

The factors that distinguish boats from ships has evolved over time. The term “ship” formerly referred to a sailing vessel having three or more masts. In modern times, however, a ship is usually a vessel of more than 500 tons of displacement. Displacement tonnage is a way to measure a ship’s capacity.

Then there is school of thought that says a Ship can carry a boat but not the other way around.

The Historic Ships Committee have designated a vessel below 40 tons and 40 ft in length as a boat. However, submarines and fishing vessels are always known as boats whatever their size.

We’d to love your hear your thoughts on this subject ……


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BBC Radio Solent Visits the tower!

Did you catch Judy Goodlet of BBC Radio Solent interviewing Calshot Watchkeeper Jane Banting this morning?

Click the link below to listen again


(c) BBC 2015

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Keep in touch with the Blog

Having put the world to right on the Thursday afternoon shift and there being no potential or actual incidents to worry about, the conversion turned to the NCI Calshot blog and the fact that my two colleagues viewed it irregularly, raised the question were they aware of the e-mail subscription option on the blog.

The answer was no, so for everyone out there that keeps saying I must remember to look at the blog; I would suggest enrolling yourself at ” Email Subscription” on the NCI Calshot Blog.

It is easy to do, you will find it on the Blog’s home page, travel down the right hand side bar ; until you come to the words “Email Subscription” plus a short description of the service and the number of existing followers. then a “enter your email address” box, do as requested, then check address, before clicking Sign me up.

nci blog screen grab 1

That’s it sit back and wait for the next blog which you should now receive as a email reminder informing you of the latest post. Quick and easy, plus you see all the blogs as they are posted.(if you find this is not for you there is an unsubscribe feature on the emails that are sent.
Hope this is helpful
Terry Palmer

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Calshot activity today!


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Solent Small group meeting at RSYC

The six monthly meeting of representatives from Calshot, Lee on the Solent, Gosport and the Needles stations took place today 8th October at the Trafalgar Room at The Royal Southampton Yacht Club. Discussions covered all aspects of our activities including relationship with HMCG, Radio training and recent joint exercises, fund raising and Queens Award for Voluntary Service joint application.



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A Volunteer for the Live exercise

A busy Saturday at the Tower

Following on from Ian Davis’s e-mail about needing people for last Saturday’s Live Exercise, I thought it was about time my two years training was put to the test.

By the time Jane, Tony and myself arrived the fog had cleared and some initial chatter on CH65 from NMV Granville was heard still around the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour and dealing with Gosport NCI. The decision was taken to split the shift with Jane looking after the Radio and I would do the chart work, leaving Tony to cover the general watch in particular up Southampton water.

With the Granville still over by Gosport, it seemed sensible to start plotting their positions and request for bearings to a new position, it did show up that the T-square is not quiet long enough for that part of the chart, but a useful warm start, including one position being high and dry around Lee on Solent and the use of old racing buoys names that added some confusion.

I was expecting to see a craft that was big enough to be seen at a distance, so wrong, it took all eyes to finally identify Granville around East Brambles/Hill Head after requesting a position, course and speed. Again the live practice shows up what was said in training, things are difficult to see and identify even if you know what you are looking for.

Around 1430 Calshot NCI took over and received several requests for a bearing from a position to a new position, this all seemed to work well, with good response times for the bearings and distance from Calshot; that was my view, Bryan Young who was overseeing the exercise from the Tower may have a different take.

The exercise made the shift go past quickly and sharpen up both Plotting at speed and use of the Radio for all concerned. I would suggest anyone who has not been around for one these exercises should jump at volunteering next time (if I do not get there first)

Terry Palmer

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An incident at Christchurch September 2015…..

Helena Carr, one of our watchkeepers was recently involved in an incident at Mudeford, near Christchurch….her words to Ian Davis, our Radio Comms Officer

‘I have to say Ian my NCI training and very basic knowledge of speaking with the Coastguard came in handy……………..we were down at Mudeford recently for a walk around, on the way back from Avon Beach to Mudeford car park I noticed something/someone out in the water who appeared to be struggling with a jet ski…………..splashing water, some smoke and a waving arm did for me – ended up waving back with a thumbs up to indicate someone had seen them while dialing 999 for the Coastguard. The RNLI Mudeford Lifeboat was launched, we stayed on the beach and rocks waving at the person and eventually indicating to the lifeboat the approx location (he had drifted quite a way at this stage). Well, he was picked up and returned to Mudeford and we went to see him…his jet ski motor has burned out, he was shaken and quite tired but Ok. But during my 2 calls to the Coastguard I could give the approx location and distance, very basic description (he was wearing at least an orange buoyancy aid), the sea state, what the tide was doing, wind direction and buoy marks etc. I told 2 or 3 other people on the beach to keep their eyes on the person so that we didn’t lose him. See it does work Ian!!’

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Visitors to the Tower today….a floatplane from Prestwick! on it’s way to the Schneider Trophy race in Alderney!

A photo opportunity, and some!

image image image


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