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Kayaker caught by tide welcomes new lifesaving Camera

St.Ives Camera Instal Header

A kayaker who battled for more than an hour to reach the safety of the shore in treacherous waters off Hayle has welcomed the new piece of lifesaving kit provided and installed by the Cornish IT company NCI Technologies at St Ives National Coastwatch Station.

Diane Warren, an experienced Kayaker discovered last year that the conditions in the estuary can change very quickly when she was hit by a “huge wall of water” as she headed back to shore. 

Diane reported, “I was in the water for probably an hour trying to get out of the flow.  Two people who came to help me also ended up in the water so I made the call to the coastguard and the inshore lifeboat came and got us.”

Diane, a member of Hayle Kayak Club welcomed the new advanced Pan-Tilt-Zoom lifesaving camera kit which enhances coast-watch provision by providing an extra set of eyes for watch keepers to monitor the difficult currents around the approach to Hayle Harbour.  The camera provides both sweeping overviews and superb zoomed-in detail at great distances plus, auto-tracking and built-in video analytics.  It’s also designed for demanding outdoor conditions with a robust aluminium housing and arctic temperature control, and is ideal for surveillance anywhere where fast, precise and round-the-clock operations are required.  Diane says: “We were invisible because of the surf but this camera would have picked us up within the first couple of minutes.”

St.Ives Camera Graphic

Station Manager, Helen Simpson at the National Coastwatch Institution stated: "The local kayak club, the fishermen, the harbour master, everybody encouraged us to go ahead with this project. This is not a substitute for a watchkeeper, it is an enhancement to our services.  Lifeguard cover is only provided on the beaches between Easter and September so, at this time of year, we are the only eyes along the coast, but now we can zoom in on a surfer, kayaker or paddleboarder and actually see what is happening."

The National Coastwatch Institution at St Ives chose NCI Technologies as their local technology provider because they needed a company with the knowledge and experience necessary to implement this unique project.  In addition to the camera a DELL OPTIPLEX PC with i5 processor and 500GB Hard Drive was provided for image storage and processing.

The new camera technology was up and running for the busy Christmas and New Year holiday period and John Wilson, the RNLI community safety officer for St Ives Bay, believes that it will help cut the risk of accidents and potential loss of life in the area.  He said: "The RNLI initiative is to reduce the life lost by drowning each year by 50 per cent by 2024 and the number of serious incidents which go with it.  "The camera installation project was initiated by St Ives NCI and supported by the Riviere Sands Holiday Park on Hayle Towans and a number of other local organisations have also given financial support.  Hayle Town Council provided a grant and there were further donations from Asda, St Ives Masons, Diving and EOD Ltd and Skyarte.

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Pictured (centre) is John Wilson of the RNLI, Hayle Kayak Club's Diane Warren, NCI St Ives Deputy Station Manager John Farrell and Station Manager Helen Simpson (photograph courtesy of Cornwall Live).

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