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Bude Harbour Summer Update 2021

Harbour News

The harbour and town have witnessed probably the busiest summer to date with visitor numbers greatly increased and although we have been unable to accept all but a few visiting craft, we have had a very busy summer with an increase in trailered boats paying to use the slipway facility to launch.

The Wharf car park was handed over to the Maritime Service at the beginning of the season and has  been pretty much full most days throughout the summer. Revenue from the car park will be assigned to the harbour and forms an important role in its sustainable future. For regular harbour users parking permits are available.

Our Harbour Master, Paul Vincent, has written an 11-page article in the South West Maritime History Society’s Journal giving the history of the Bude sea lock and canal. For more information see –www.swmaritime.org.uk

Sea Lock

The outer lock gates have been out of service following storm damage since April 2019. Extensive work behind the scenes by Cornwall Council’s Maritime Service secured funding, materials and contractors to undertake the task of lifting out the gates for repair.

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Once the gates were lifted in June 2020 the full scale of the works required to restore operation of the lock became clear. Unfortunately, the pintles on the outer gates were worn and required replacement, a task not undertaken for many years and with no technical drawings available no mean feat to complete. Additional budget was sought, and the project expanded with the aim of ensuring safe operation for many years to come.


In February 2021 the original pintles were removed and when the foundry re-opened following COVID 19 lockdown we took our place in the queue for patterns to be made and castings produced. These were received in June 2021 and the contractor booked for a suitable tidal window amongst their busy schedule. Spare castings were also obtained to facilitate any future repairs in a timely manner and patterns are now held in the harbour store.

On the 9th of August our contractor commenced the task of fitting the new pintle castings to the lock chamber taking advantage of the spring tides to access the bottom of the chamber. This was followed by the re-hanging of the outer lock gates, installation of balance beams and ancillaries. Divers inspected the inner gate recesses on the 17th August to check for any obstructions and clear silt build up before the lock is tested on or around 25th August once additional sand has been cleared from the lock.

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In addition to these works the inner gates have also received English Oak handrails, installed by Working Sail of Truro. We hope to replace the handrails on the outer gates in the next financial year.

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Other maintenance

Other repair and maintenance activities at the harbour have included the clearing of debris from moorings, regular repairs to the Breakwater, repairs to the inner lock gate ramps, pointing to lock chamber, new crab winch chains and replacement signage throughout the harbour. The tidal moorings were dressed with sand at the beginning of the season but we continue to experience scouring in this area.

Re-surfacing work to the tramway embankment has been postponed until October and we are awaiting estimates for damage repairs to the wharf car park and paving.

Forthcoming Events

The Awesome Foursome Quadrathlon taking place on the 11 September which will have the swimming section of the race taking place within the harbour limits. See –www.shorelineactivities.co.uk

On 3rd October will have the Club Triumph Reliability Run taking place with a check point in the Wharf car park. Please note, the car park will be closed to the public for a short period during this event.

MAIB Report – Globetrotter

Following an investigation led by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch the UK Harbour Masters Association, RYA and other maritime bodies have been asked to highlight the lessons learned from this accident and other similar accidents and to request assistance with promulgating the advice contained in Emily’s Code to leisure boat users.

Summary of accident

At about 0800 on 31 May 2020, the 12m wooden hulled recreational boat Globetrotter sank in 5m of water during a sea angling trip off the coast of Fleetwood, England. Its owner made a Mayday call shortly before he, his son and a friend all entered the water. None of the sea anglers were wearing lifejackets or buoyancy aids, but they were able to use Globetrotter’s two lifebuoys to help them remain afloat. The legs of the owner’s son became entangled in Globetrotter’s anchor rope and despite the exhaustive rescue efforts of the crews of two nearby boats, he was dragged under the water and drowned.

Safety Issues

Globetrotter was not in a seaworthy condition and was ill prepared for the voyage the owner was an experienced leisure boat user but had little appreciation of the risks he was taking and the importance of passage planning the son’s chances of survival would have been increased had he been wearing a personal flotation device.

For further information please see  –  https://www.gov.uk/maib-reports/sinking-of-the-wooden-hulled-motorboat-globetrotter-with-loss-of-1-life & https://www.rya.org.uk/knowledge/safety/emilys-code


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