The Coastwatch station that pays its rent in crabs

St Albans Head Coastwatch has explained how its bizarre tradition of paying the rent on its lookout station in the form of crabs has led to some creative solutions

The boating world is full of quirky maritime traditions, but a Coastwatch station in Dorset has one of the quirkiest.

St Albans Head Coastwatch in Swanage has struck up a deal with the local estate owner to pay its annual rent in the form of crabs.

Landowner James Gaggero suggested the payment when he took over the estate five years ago, but crabs have been hard to come by this year.

As a result, Coastwatch station manager Dirk Aldous had to get creative. He had planned to present Mr Gaggero with a toy crab and a photo of the crab nebula.

However, a local restaurant saved the day by stepping in and delivering a pair of the edible crustaceans.

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Delighted with his gifts, James praised the Coastwatch’s work in helping to protect local fishermen and urged local residents to volunteer at St Albans Head.

The National Coastwatch Institution is a voluntary organisation that operates 49 stations in England and Wales. Volunteers are trained to spot potential incidents offshore and report them to the Coastguard.