Husband and wife leap into action to protect Fife coast

Ann and John Kinsman
Ann and John Kinsman

A husband and wife at a Bield retirement housing development in Fife have donned their life jackets to help ensure the safety of the local community, including wildlife, by volunteering with their local Coastwatch.

John Kinsman and his wife, Ann - who married at the development four years ago after a leap day proposal from Ann - have volunteered at the Coastwatch St Monans Station since it first opened in 2013. John is station manager and Ann is deputy station manager.

The couple, who live at Abercrombie Court, have been generously donating their time along with four others on a weekly basis at Coastwatch St Monans’ picturesque Old Windmill HQ.

John said: “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 all first-aiders, ready to give assistance to those who may get into trouble on the coastal paths in the area.”

The service, which relies on the work of unpaid volunteers to keep an eye out on shipping activities in the Firth of Forth, is eager to grow their team of six and is currently looking out for more willing volunteers.

Ann and John KinsmanAll volunteers are uniformed, trained in CPR and are equipped with radios. They work to help out the community and coastguard to ensure there is always someone on watch.

On duty every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday they are available at any time to assist with search and rescue searches.

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

“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.

“It’s great to be working with Ann on this as it’s a great way to spend time together and help out the community at the same time.”

Part of the wider Coastwatch Scotland, there are stations at Irvine, Bo’Ness, Broughty Ferry and Berwick-Upon-Tweed, all working to make Scotland’s coast safer.

John and Ann’s volunteer work for the Coastwatch is in harmony with Bield’s ‘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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