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The National Coastwatch Station in Southend is looking for more people to help out.
At one point they had 25 volunteers; currently it's just 10 and means they can only do 4 watches over weekends.
More are needed if the service is to continue, with the lookouts being the "eyes along the coast" during 4-hour watch periods every weekend and on Bank Holidays.
The charity set up in 1994 says each watchkeeper does around 3 or 4 watches per month, but potential volunteers are welcome to do as many as they want.
Station Manager Michael Taverner told Heart: "While modern technology has undoubtedly led to better safety there is still no substitute for human look-outs who can quickly assess whether boats, windsurfers or people are in trouble and help is needed."
"Every year we have alerted the emergency services on many occasions to many potential life-threatening incidents in the Southend area along - our work is vital."
Volunteers don't need a nautical background or know about boats, but must show common sense and alertness.
Training is given on subjects like chart work, radio procedures, weather observations, ship recognition and dealing with the public.