by Sam Hawcroft
Live cameras have been installed at Withernsea’s lifeboat station to allow people around the world to view boat launches and monitor daily sea conditions.
The idea was originally that of former Withernsea RNLI operations manager Steve Medcalf, who was passionate about the town and sea safety, and wanted to publicise both to a wider audience.
The cameras were one of two things Steve had wanted to achieve this year, the other being the Blue Light Weekend.
After Steve’s untimely death last December, his brother Andy has taken up the mantle with both projects.
He said: “Steve recognised that the cameras could be quite useful for people, too, so he contacted a fisherman’s group to see who would be interested in views of Withernsea on a daily basis. It was quickly obvious that there were hundreds, if not thousands of fishermen across the county who often visit Withernsea to fish but often are not quite sure when to come because of the sea conditions.
“So Steve put two and two together and thought he could cover both of these by having the cameras installed.”
The fishermen’s group raised the necessary funds to buy the cameras, while Andy raised enough money through his annual football prediction league competitions to create a separate website for the Withernsea lifeboat where the live feeds could be hosted.
In recent weeks, Andy has been buying and testing the equipment, and this week it was installed and launched at the station, with the help of local electrical firm PJD.
Andy is keen to point out that they are not security cameras – the aim is to show off the town’s expansive beach as well as promoting the work of the RNLI.
He added: “Steve was quite keen that the public understood what the lifeboat station did and that, when there was a callout, people could log on to the website and could see the boat being launched – because if you’re looking for donations and support from the public, they’ve got to see what they’re supporting.
“The reasons for putting the cameras up were threefold – one was to to give Withernsea a bit of extra coverage – and the views are obviously beautiful as you can see from both cameras.
“Secondly, the fishermen have a real, tangible use for them, and thirdly, the lifeboat station could publicise its training and everything taking place on site, so it was a win-win all round. We’ve positioned them so they face out to sea and include a little bit of the promenade, but that’s about it. They’re not meant as security at all.”
To view the feeds from both cameras, visit withernsealifeboat.org.uk.