KeConnect Internet, a Timico Group company, today announced that it has joined its channel Business Partner, CSS Computers, in donating a technology package to the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) Station at South Pier, Gorleston near Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, which could potentially help save lives.
The package comprises a year’s free robust broadband connection from KeConnect and a computer from CSS Computers. The new PC will run sophisticated Automatic Identification System (AIS) software, which will enable the station to automatically track the exact locations of shipping over 300 tonnes within a twenty-mile radius, find out additional identifying information about vessels in trouble and help communicate it to the Coastguard and other NCI stations along the coast.
Robert Kemp, Executive Sales Director at KeConnect said: “We are delighted that CSS Computers chose to ask us to join them in supporting the NCI station at Gorleston as this reflects the strength of our business partnership. We hope this donation will make a real difference to the safety of people on the sea in the Great Yarmouth area.”
Bill Richmond, technical officer at Gorleston NCI station, explains why the equipment is so important: “We used to plot ships’ locations manually using a chart and radar data but now we can use the PC to run AIS software which works with a special VHF radio receiver to pick up ships’ GPS location signals and other vital data. The broadband connection means we can utilize a facility in the AIS which allows us rapid online access to extra information about a particular ship as well as an up-to-date photo. This helps enormously in correct identification and, in combination with exact location coordinates, this information can be passed quickly to the Coastguard and logged for future reference which may well help to avert a disaster at sea.”
The NCI station at Gorleston is one of a number of stations around the UK that keep a permanent visual watch on our shores. The organisation relies totally on volunteers and donations to operate. “Head office is currently trying to improve the intercommunication between all the stations around the coastline so we are delighted that we now have such a reliable broadband connection,” continues Bill Richmond. “Having email and web access not only means we can send info to other stations without tying up the phone but also that we will be able to receive bulletins from HQ. At the moment all information is being sent to my home email address, which is no good if I am on holiday or off sick.”