VOLUNTEERS who keep an eye on seafarers will soon be able to do it from a new and improved watchtower.

Coastwatch Redcar, which was launched in 1996, trains people to assist the HM Coastguard and search and rescue services in the event of an emergency or unusual incident at sea.

The facility where the team is based, above the Zetland Lifeboat Museum on the Esplanade, has fallen into a state of disrepair but funds are being raised to replace it with a brand new facility.

EDF Energy Renewables, which owns and operates the Teesside offshore wind farm off the coast of Redcar, is supporting the special project with a £10,000 donation from its local community benefit fund.

Trevor Smith, chairman of Coastwatch Redcar, said: “The existing watch tower is no longer fit for purpose and needs to be replaced urgently. The funding will benefit many people including leisurecraft, fishermen, swimmers and surfers, as well as those using the beach and promenade area. It will allow our volunteers to help HM Coastguard by monitoring the movement of vessels and recording any incidents at sea and along the seafront.”

James Wilson, EDF’s operations engineer for the wind farm, said: “The volunteers work around the clock to plot coastal movements and inform HM Coastguard and ourselves if there is any unusual coastal activity in the vicinity of the wind farm.”