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National Coastwatch Institution

National Coastwatch Institution

National Coastwatch Institute (NCI) are now more connected than ever, with site by site upgrades, cloud telephony, and enhanced security.



For over 25 years, National Coastwatch has been working alongside Her Majesty’s Coastguard and the RNLI to help save lives at sea. With over 2600 volunteers organising and manning 57 posts across our beautiful UK coastlines, they participated in more than 700 search and rescue incidents in 2021. They monitor radio stations as well as taking watches, providing visibility in the poorest of conditions. As a non-profit organisation, being able to help people is a must, so having easy to use systems is essential.


The NCI watch towers are located along the coast in remote locations where internet connectivity is intermittent and unreliable. Being so far from any BT exchange brought about issues with poor phone reception and slow broadband internet connectivity and being reliant on outdated, consumer-based devices and technology affected the way they connected with others.

With only two inbound phone numbers and slow BT broadband, they felt that their communications with other UK coastwatch organisations were being affected, being unable to respond in an emergency  and needed to upgrade the way they connected and communicated with others.

Solution and benefits

We worked with NCI to determine a solution that was easy for the volunteers at the watch towers to use and a way to manage their calls easily. We evaluated the connectivity options at each station along the coast and evaluated which solution best suited the area based on their wired internet capacity and 4G / 5G mobile connection as failover. With disaster recovery plans in place, NCI can be assured that in the event of an outage, there are failovers to ensure they stay connected and never miss an important  call or be out of touch.

Replacing their legacy phone systems for cloud telephony made handling calls simple and efficient, giving the organisation more time to do what they do best. With DECT phones installed, they are able to walk around and can be easily contacted from areas outside of their station. With new reinforced business-grade firewall security, the Institute is ensured that all their information is reliably secured.

With a straightforward guided installation plan to follow and pre-configured devices, the NCI volunteer team were able to install and rollout devices themselves, making it quick and easy to get up and running. Their hands-on setup gives them a greater understanding of the solution and and how it works. The solution implemented across each site gives them the best groundwork for future growth and a simple scalable solution that suits them.


“Modernising our ability to communicate and share information swiftly and reliably is key to strengthening our ability to support our search and rescue partners in particular Maritime and Coastguard Agency and RNLI, so it’s important that we choose the right technology partner to join us on our 5-year plan. Windsor Telecom proved from the outset that they understood both our needs and culture, seeking a partnership that would contribute to our vision and help modernise NCI. We’re very excited to get started and can’t wait to see what the digital future brings.”

– Stephen Hand, General Secretary and IT Trustee, NCI



The future

Moving forward with a 5-year plan, NCI are in the best position for future growth, and the modernisation of their communications will help them to collaborate easily internally, with other coastwatch organisations, and with those in desperate need of help. Working with organisations like NCI is a very proud partnership for Windsor Telecom, and we will continue to work with non-profit organisations to help make their incredibly important job easy and enjoyable.


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