Porthcawl’s RNLI; improving education and saving lives with network camera technology
Porthcawl’s RNLI station aims to improve education and safety around the water with the implementation of innovative surveillance technology from Swansea-based PC1 and Axis Communications, the market leader in network video. With high tourism levels and fast-shifting tides, the installation at Porthcawl pier provides an online live-stream of conditions. This ensures visitors are prepared for the conditions they will face, minimising the necessity of lifeboat launches and significantly reducing overall costs.
By further educating the public and reducing the number of visitors during dangerous periods, the total cost of installation would be covered through the prevention of only two launches – ensuring the safety of both the crew and public. RNLI statistics for 2015* show that 44.4 per cent of lifeboat launches in 2015 were due to persons in distress - either ashore, offshore, or with manual pleasure craft such as surfboards or kayaks.
The camera points directly at one of Porthcawl’s highest risk areas – the pier. During storms and rough weather conditions, visitors are in danger of being swept out to sea by tides reaching up to 7 knots (8mph). The installation of the AXIS Q1775-E Fixed Network Camera, combined with a high-tech weather installation, ensures Porthcawl RNLI can utilise cutting edge technology, providing access to weather metrics, tide activity, conditions monitoring and more. With 10x optical zoom and autofocus capabilities, the RNLI decided the camera was the stand-out choice due to its weather resilience, providing 24/7 surveillance capabilities and excellent image quality, day and night.
Ian Stroud, retired Deputy Launch Authority at Porthcawl RNLI, states, “One of the most significant tasks a lifeboat station must undertake is observing sea conditions to make judgments on the equipment lifeboat operators will need. We wanted a view of the pier as it is such an important landmark. This is viewable by members of the public, who can alert the lifeboat station if they see someone in distress.”
Speaking on the installation, Graham Thomas, IT & Online Project Manager at PC1, states, “We installed a weather station and connected the installation to YouTube, allowing the public and lifeboat staff to view real-time images and accurate weather reports - including tide times. The station will soon receive a superfast fiber connection, allowing for a further upgrade of the system to take full advantage of the camera’s HD capabilities. We can then look at running an additional camera; one looking at the pier and another focusing on the coastal defence where waves crash up to 300 feet in the air.”
Watch the live stream from Porthcawl pier: http://www.porthcawl-lifeboat.co.uk/live-streaming/
*RNLI Operational Statistics 2015