23rd Sept: NCI Stone Point opens!
The first watch at an NCI station in Lepe Country Park was on the 25th May 2019. The station was an NCI transportable unit and the aim was to establish whether a more permanent NCI station should be established there. Incidents during that first summer of operation provided plenty of evidence that there was a need for a station. However the Covid-19 virus really struck around March 2020 and NCI stations were closed from 19th March to 6th June 2020.
Much of life went on hold, including the ability to holiday abroad. As a result beaches like Lepe were busy during summer 2020. The first covid vaccinations started in January 2021 (I had my first on 28th January) and, with another busy summer on UK beaches anticipated, we started manning NCI Stone Point on a 7 day basis from May 2021.
The case for a new, “permanent” station was made to the NCI Trustees during 2021, and it was finally ordered that Autumn. The new station was delivered on 5th April 2022 and watches started in the new station on 9th July. However a large grant had been made for installation of a radar system and the Trustees were keen that it be installed prior to the official opening of the station. The choice of radar system was finalised at the 2022 Boat Show that September but delivery was delayed by a worldwide shortage of computer chips, and the system did not get installed until July 2023.
As a result NCI Stone Point did not get officially “opened” until 23rd September 2023. It was a bad choice of day for me since it coincided with the SRCMBC show in Milton-on-Sea so I drove there first, set up the video system, came back to Stone Point for the ceremony, then went back to the SRCMBC show!