Many people are unaware that the tower above the Harbour View Cafe on
Exmouth seafront is the Exmouth National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) lookout
The NCI is a voluntary organisation that keeps a visual watch along UK shores.
Each station assists in the protection and preservation of life at sea and around
the UK coastline.
Established in 1998, Exmouth is the third busiest of the UK’s 54 stations. It works
with the UK Search and Rescue Services, interacting with HM Coastguard (HMCG)
and the RNLI, and liaising with UK Border Force and the Police, as necessary.
From its lookout 30 feet above the Exmouth beach, its 70 volunteer watchkeepers
are the eyes, ears and voices for Exmouth’s water users. They monitor activity from
the Exe Estuary to Orcombe Point and across Lyme Bay to Berry Head.
Exmouth’s complex tidal patterns require careful monitoring to ensure the
safety of leisure and commercial mariners, kitesurfers, windsurfers, kayakers and
All boating activity is identified and logged in and out of the Exe Estuary. In the
event of an incident, such information would assist the HMCG in presenting an
As well as listening out for Mayday calls, Exmouth NCI assists mariners by
providing them with the facility to check that their radio is working before they
commence a journey. It operates on VHF Channel 65, with the call sign ‘Exmouth
NCI’. It also provides reports of in-shore weather conditions.
Through its website, Exmouth NCI gives public access to a webcam and live data
from its weather station, including details of barometric pressure, wind strength
and direction, sea swell and tide times.
Exmouth NCI is on watch seven days a week throughout BST, 09.00–18.00. For
the peak period of 15 June to 30 September, watch hours are 08.30–19.00. In an
emergency, officers are on call outside of these hours.
For further information, visit: exmouthcoastwatch.co.uk