The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) organised a fundraising cruise on Saturday aboard the historic paddlesteamer Kingswear Castle, which is operated by Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Company. 

The event, which was held to raise money for the NCI’s station, included music from local sea shanty crew All Hands on Deck, who sung throughout the cruise. 

Barry Marsden, deputy station manager at NCI Froward Point Station, said: “I am extremely grateful to the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company for their generosity in hosting a fundraising cruise on the Kingswear Castle...and the local All Hands On Deck sea shanty crew for donating their time with wonderful singing throughout the cruise. 

“As a result of the evening the event raised £1,000 of much needed funds for maintenance to keep the station at Froward Point operating.”

The National Coastwatch Institution was formed to fill the need for an organisation to provide a visual watch around the coast to look out for persons or vessels in distress. 

This need has arisen due to the reduction in numbers of Coastguard visual watch stations. 

Currently at Froward Point, Kingswear, there are around 60 volunteer watchkeepers who ensure the lookout is open for 365 days a year.

Dave Peace, Training Manager for Froward Point NCI and leader of the sea shanty crew alongside his wife Cas, said: “We were very pleased to do this event again. We did it three years ago when we first moved to Devon. 

“We sang two sets of shanties and had a lovely group of passengers enjoying the songs and joining in, which is what we like, including two youngsters who love shanties. One who took over our tambourine and (another) a lad who wanted to be a pirate… time will tell."

"(Its) all for a good cause as it costs around £12,000 per year to keep Froward Point going and its all volunteers and donations… so (a) huge thanks to all who came and supported the RNLI."

The group are also holding another NCI fundraising event at the Dartmouth Yacht Club on Trafalgar Day, Saturday October 21st at 7pm.

This will be All Hands on Deck and friends for a fun evening of Sea Shanties and other sea songs.

Tickets are £10 each. If interested, call Dave on 07989 542883 or email him at [email protected]

The Kingswear Castle, which was awarded an Engineering Heritage Award by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) in 2014, returned to the river Dart the same year. The vessel is Britain's last steam powered river paddle steamer and was built in 1924.

If anyone is interested in joining NCI Froward Point as a volunteer member they can get in contact at [email protected]