Old Pilot’s Tower joins fight to save coastal lives
A COASTAL look-out tower that has been brought back into use is now officially among the search and rescue teams protecting the coast.
The Old Pilot’s Lookout Tower on Porthcawl seafront is being granted Declared Facility Status (DFS).
This means it will be part of the search and rescue organisations registered at the Coast Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Milford Haven.
The 150-year-old Grade II-listed tower played an important role in both world wars, but fell out of use.
It was regenerated thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and contributions from Bridgend council, Cadw, the historic environment service of the Welsh Government, and the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI). It was officially reopened in 2016.
A team of NCI volunteers now man the tower and keep a watchful eye over visitors, fisherman, swimmers and sailors.
Station manager Phil Styles said the enthusiasm of volunteers is the reason for their success.
“When we managed to bring the Lookout Tower back into use we made an appeal for volunteers to help us, expecting maybe one or two”, he said. “We now have a crew of 43 delivering a crucial role providing a lookout along the coastline every day throughout the year. We are also officially part of the National Coastwatch Institution – a charity made up of volunteers with 50 stations around the coastline of England and Wales.
“We are also actively building up working relationships with local coastguard teams as well as having great support from our next door neighbours RNLI Porthcawl, who have been carrying out joint training exercises with us. Next year we are looking at how we can link with the RNLI lifeguard teams at Trecco Bay, Coney beach, Rest Bay and Ogmore to see how we can continue to make the Porthcawl coastline a safer place for all.”
Bridgend AM Carwyn Jones said: “It is great news that the Porthcawl watch station has been awarded Declared Facility Status.
“The many volunteers who give up their time to help spot potential dangers do a tremendous job and are certainly a welcome presence for people who visit and use our coastline for business and pleasure.”
Porthcawl’s Old Pilot’s Lookout Tower is now among the search and rescue organisations protecting the South Wales coast