About Happisburgh Coast Watch
Where we are.
We are based in a 30' portacabin on top of the cliffs a mile to the north-west of the village of Happisburgh on the North Norfolk coast. The site was the location of a wartime coastal defence battery, and early radar station .
What we do.
We are a team of volunteers, funded entirely through collections and donations.
We maintain a manned watch from 8am - 4pm 7 days a week, keeping a eye out for people or vessels in difficulty or other events that need to be passed on to relevant authorities. We hold Declared Facilities status with Yarmouth Coastguard. In addition to keeping a visual lookout, we monitor marine radio channel 16.
What we can see and hear.
The coastline we cover extends from Sea Palling to the South East, to Mundsley to the North West. From our elevation (10m) the horizon is approximately 8 miles and visibility permitting we can see all shipping passing between us and Haisborough Sands, a long sand bank running parallel to the coast. Beyond Haisborogh Sands lies the Hewitt Gas field, and on clear days at least 3 rigs are visible even though the closest is 15 miles away. The gas comes asore at the Bacton Gas Terminal to our North, where it is processed and distributed around the UK, and now to the co ntinent over the new Interconnector pipeline.
The majority of shipping that passes is commercial, heading to northern ports or the continent, and going south to Yarmouth and beyond; Rhine barges and other coasters carry a variety of cargos, bulk goods, oil, LPG gas, containers, and new cars. Rig support vessels and other shipping associated with the Oil and Gas industries, survey vessels and maritime patrol craft.
Modern commercial shipping has extensive safety measures in place, including the use of radio and satellite communications to broadcast position, safety, distress information direct to the Coastguard and Rescue organisations. We keep a closer watch on 'pleasure craft'; yachts, cabin cruisers, and the growing number of people who enjoy the facilites North Norfolk has to offer for water sparts - Jetskiing, windsurfing, canoeing, swimming etc.