FUNDRAISING for a defibrillator for Aberdour's Silver Sands beach has been kick-started by a new coastal safety group.

Coastwatch West Fife was set up earlier this year and one of its aims is to be the "eyes and ears on the ground" locally for the coastguard.

The fledgling organisation is hoping to raise funds for a public defibrillator as well as one for the group which will help them when providing first aid cover at events.

Founder Craig Somerville explained: "Our main aims are the coastal safety first but also we are training all our members in first aid.

"We are funding for a public defib at Silver Sands and also going for a group defib as well because we are going to be doing first aid cover.

"There isn't a public one (defibrillator) down there at the moment. The lifeguards bring one but that is only two to three months of the year. The nearest one is on the High Street.

"We are looking at grants and we have got a QR code and a link. People can go through our Facebook page and click the link at set a payment up."

Coastwatch West Fife, which was visited by local MSP Annebelle Ewing last week, is one of a growing number of coastal surveillance stations crewed by trained volunteers located around the coast of mainland Britain.

All stations carry out the same task, which is to assist Her Majesty's Coastguard in their task of helping people along the coastline and at sea.

They are equipped with VHF marine radio and optical aids such as maritime binoculars to help keep watch over walkers along the coast, pleasure crafts, open water swimmers, marine wildlife and commercial shipping.

In addition to visual watches, radio monitoring of the international VHF distress channel in support of search and rescue operations is also carried out.

"We are a new group and still getting everyone trained up – including me, there are 10 volunteers at the moment," said Craig. "Hopefully, by the end of the year, we will be an official part of search and rescue even though we don't rescue. We are only technically observers.

"At the moment, we are there at the weekends but once members are trained up to a certain level, they could quite happily go down and do a basic watch during the week.

"With the Coastguard, we are the eyes and ears on the ground."

Anyone interested in donating to the defibrillator fundraising or becoming a volunteer, can do so by visiting the Coastwatch West Fife Facebook page.