Bield tenants ensure safety of Fife coast

John and Anne Kinsman
John and Anne Kinsman

A husband and wife at a Bield retirement housing development in Fife have been ensuring the safety of the coast and those at sea between Anstruther and Elie Ness by volunteering with their local Coastwatch.

Former Coastguard John Kinsman and his wife Ann, who live at Bield’s Abercrombie Court, have been volunteering at the Coastwatch look out in St Monans in Fife since it opened in 2013.

The Fife based Coastwatch is one of five non-government volunteer coastal monitoring and safety organisation services that runs throughout the country.

The service, which relies on the work of unpaid volunteers, looks to keep an eye out on shipping movements within the Firth of Forth, as well as monitor the safety of sea life and on beaches and coastal paths, alerting the necessary services in case of an emergency.

With John as the station manager and Ann as deputy head of unit, together they work with another three volunteers to monitor the coast and notify authorities of any emergencies.

Working three days a week at the local look out, John and Ann are fully trained in First Aid, meaning they can provide assistance on land to any of those who may need it and can notify the local coastguard for any emergencies at sea.

John said of his volunteering: “I have several years of experience with the coastguard at Elie and so when there was an opportunity to volunteer as Station Manager at St Monans Coastwatch, I was very keen to step in.

“The service itself is incredibly beneficial as we monitor all shipping movements and can be on hand to alert authorities if a boat or even sea life appears to be in distress.

“Not only do we keep an eye on what’s happening in the water, but we are also able to monitor and provide First Aid assistance to any of those who may get into trouble on the likes of the coastal paths. One of our volunteers patrols various coastal paths on Sundays, as it’s often a busy day for walkers.

“The service also allows us to provide information to anyone who may be looking to know of the weather forecast or the sea state.

“The work we do is very significant as we work alongside other volunteer coastguard units and so is a big responsibility. It is a fantastic service and is one that I thoroughly enjoy volunteering with.”

The Coastwatch often helps with local events in the community, such as at this year’s VE day celebrations, by offering themselves as an extra pair of eyes and ears to ensure safety at all times.

Bield said John and Ann’s volunteer work for the Coastwatch runs alongside its own ‘Free to Be’ philosophy, which lets older people make their own choices about how they live their lives while being there to support them when they need it.


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