Dave Kennett, right, cuts the ribbon to officially open the new lookout station. Picture by Peter Boam.
A NEW National Coastwatch Institution lookout station, based at The Needles, has been officially opened.
It is one of 49 stations in the country and the first to be opened on the Isle of Wight.
The station is currently manned three days a week by volunteers and the eventual aim is to have it open throughout the year.
Former Yarmouth RNLI coxswain Dave Kennett cut the ribbon and said: "A lot of sailors and fishermen will be very happy this extra safeguard has been set up.
"This is a dangerous and notorious channel, I wish you every success."
Station manager, Jim Scott, added: "The sea area we overlook is extensive and, as we are 100 metres above sea level, we can see for 20 miles on a clear day.
"We cover from Hurst Castle to Anvil Point beyond Swanage and to the far south of the Island. We also carry out regular checks on Scratchell’s Bay locally and the immediate cliffs."
The Needles remote radio site remains a Maritime and Coastguard Agency facility and the NCI has been issued with a licence to operate from there.