News (Nov 2020 - Dec 2019)

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Portuguese Man o' War

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Venomous but beautiful Portuguese man o' war have once again been washing up on beaches across Devon and Cornwall, including Teignmouth, and have caused quite a stir.

Not too dissimilar to a jellyfish, the Portugese man-of-war, also known as blue bottle or floating terror, has long tentacles that can cause a painful sting and be fatal in extremely rare cases.

Despite being referred to as a jellyfish, the Portuguese man-o’-war is in fact a different species, as a true jellyfish is a single organism, and the Portuguese man-o’-war is actually a colony of separate polyps (organisms) that live together in the form of this species. However, the separate organisms that make up this species are incapable of independent life and need to be together in the form of the Portuguese man-o’-war to survive.

Although rare, humans have died as a result of being stung by a Portuguese man-o’-war, especially in people who are elderly or have underlying health conditions. Our advice to swimmers is to be cautious. The stinging cells of the Portuguese man-o’-war remain active and capable of stinging for a long time after the creature has died, up to several days if the tentacles have remained damp or been repeatedly covered with water by the incoming tide. Therefore, our advice, if you see one on the beach, is - DON'T TOUCH - and keep your pets away.

Our thanks go to Freya Brooks who sent us the above picture of one she spotted on Teignmouth's main beach earlier this week.

More Info

Donate A Car

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Donate your old car to NCI with

CarTakeBack operates the charitable donation scheme Charity Car and NCI is an official Charity Car partner. It enables you to donate the value of your old car to NCI and it’s simple, safe and legal. Cars are either recycled or auctioned to get the maximum value for the charity.

All you have to do is to go to, select Choose a Charity, then Rescue, then NCI and follow the links. It’s simple, safe and legal.

No need to wait. Bin the banger and buy binoculars!

Boat Access Lane

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We are delighted to see that signs have now been put up by Teignbridge Council advising riders of jet skis and boat owners that the only access to the beach is via the access lane.

Over the last few weeks our watchkeepers have been reporting incidents, to Teignbridge, of riders ignoring or being unaware of the restriction and it seems it's paid off!

There is also a sign reminding swimmers not to swim in the boat access lane which should help to ensure that everyone can enjoy the sea safely.

International Maritime Flags

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Nautical flags are an international code system used for two ships to signal to each other or for a ship to signal to shore. Using a group of different colored flags, shaped flags and markings each one has a different meaning. The flags can be used alone or in combination with another flag.

Nautical flags are made up of 26 square flags (which represent the letters of the alphabet) along with 10 numbered pendants; one answering pendant and three substitutes or repeaters. For easy recognition nautical flags are either red and white, yellow and blue, blue and white, black and white along with plain red, white and blue.

Nautical flags and the knowledge of their meanings are valuable at sea in case of danger or breakdowns in other communications systems such as radio. One-flag signals are urgent or common signals.

One of the most common flags seen is the A or Alpha flag which means there is a diver down. Other indications that there is a diver include the traditional red and white dive flag or surface location markers as shown below.

For more details of maritime flags click here.


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From Friday 12th June, Teignmouth NCI watchkeepers will be back on duty helping to keep beach visitors and boat users safe.

Initially, we will be on watch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with reduced hours of 09:00 - 16:30. We aim to extend these hours asap.

With safety in mind, our watchkeepers will be doing shorter, solo watches supported by a remote, phone 'buddy'. Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the lookout will not be open to visitors.

Thank you for all the supportive messages and donations we have received whilst we have been closed, they are truly appreciated.

RNLI Advice

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NO LIFEGUARDS - RNLI lifeguards are not yet patrolling local beaches this summer.

If you’re heading to the beach, stay safe: check the weather and tides, supervise children at all times and don't use inflatables.

In an emergency, call 999 for the Coastguard.

For the latest information and beach safety advice visit: The RNLI website.


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Coronavirus - following the government restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus all NCI stations have closed.

The Teignmouth station closed on the 16th March 2020.

Our website Teignmouth NCI is operating during the closure, including the cameras and weather station. You can contact us via the webmaster email link.

Please email @ Webmaster if you have any questions.

Station Managers Meeting

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A very special Station Managers meeting took place recently at the Victory Services Club in London, when our Royal patron, HRH The Princess Royal kindly accepted an invitation to join us and meet the volunteer Station Managers of the National Coastwatch Institution.

Her Royal Highness was greeted by Lesley Suddes (Chairman) and Air-Commodore Nigel Beet (CEO Victory Services Club) before moving downstairs to meet the assembled Station Managers.

The Station representatives had been grouped together into geographical areas and The Princess Royal visited each group where she was given a short introduction to their region. Her Royal Highness expressed her pleasure at meeting so many of the station representatives from around the country and said that she found the group presentations interesting and informative. She then said that in her view, meetings like this were a very valuable way of sharing information, discussing best practice and equipment – including which kettles make the best tea when on watch. Her Royal Highness concluded by thanking everyone present for all their hard work which is what makes the charity the success it is today.

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