Harbour Masters Introduction
Coming into the role at Penzance I was a little unsure of what to expect – I have been incredibly pleased to have been welcomed by so many people, the work done by my predecessors has helped to meld Penzance and I hope to continue in that way of improving The Harbour for all.
One thing I ask from all of you is to communicate with me – at present our biggest headache is the abandoned / derelict boats – these boats cost a lot to remove and ultimately these charges will be reflected in Harbour Dues. If you see or hear of anything suspicious in way of boats being left then please contact me earlier rather than later so I can address the issue. This stands for a small dinghy to a large boat in the wet dock.
If you feel The Harbour is in dire need of anything please feel free to let me know any suggestions or feedback.
In the meantime, I wish you all a good Winter. Thank you for your patience and I look forward to meeting more and more of you as time passes.
James Broughton has joined Penzance as the new Harbour Master taking over from acting Harbour Master Chris Jones, Cornwall Council’s Maritime Manager, who is now focusing on the principle duties of his County wide role. James’s intentions are to increase user satisfaction and communication as well as making the Harbour a safer and cleaner place and increasing the facilities in the Harbour without loosing the charm that goes with Penzance Harbour. Darleen has taken on the full time role as Senior Maritime Assistant and is working closely with James and is enjoying the role and responsibility. Simon, Rodney and Gordon continue to manage the dock gates during the tidal opening times and bring a very familiar face to The Harbour.
The dock gate work that was due to complete Summer 2022 was postponed to reduce confliction with the peak Summer months and is now in full swing. The plan is that the new locking pins, new opening / closing cylinder, new hydraulic power pack and control system will be installed by the end of the first week in October. This will prolong the life of the dock gate and the ability to continue to use the wet dock for the foreseeable future.
The Maritime Car Park is in the process of being turned back into the Winter Storage area for boats – this area has been worked on over the Summer months and can now be seen to be a much more secure and tidier area. The Car Park was not used as much as we expected this year due to a variety of reasons, but we hope the plans for it next year will increase its usage, thus its revenue, which, ultimately gets ploughed back into The Harbour and its facilities. The boat storage area that is partially full of derelict and unclaimed boats will, it is planned, be removed for next year to allow for an increase in the size of both the car park and the launch and store area. Sadly the increase in derelict and abandoned boats has increased and the cost to remove these has to be absorbed by The Harbour.
Work continues on Town Deal projects behind the scenes for Penzance Harbour and we look forward to sharing artist impressions of the scheme in November.
The dredger Lantic Bay came down from Fowey Skippered by a well known face in the area and successfully worked over the period of three days to extract 1,000m3 of sand / silt and mud from the area between Albert Pier and The Rank Building. This was a little late in the season due to various cancellations by other dredgers but Fowey Harbour were willing to assist. Our goal is to keep the levels within The Harbour stable or potentially lower a little. The concept is to dig a large hole and allow nature to slowly wash the top sediment into that hole – this process is more efficient than trying to take a small amount off the top surface of the whole area. The plan will be to remove another 2,000m3 at the start of the season.
At the start of October we will conduct a Bathymetric Survey to check on levels and we can compare from previous surveys how The Harbour is fairing.
The dedicated swim area in Abbey Basin has been very well used this Summer and it is so good to see people of all ages utilising this space, this is a safe place to swim and use non motorised craft, SUP’s for example. The Harbour is actively discouraging swimmers from swimming in and amongst the moorings or beyond, one incident where a group of three swimmers swam across the wet dock gates minutes before the Gry Maritha passed through highlights the dangers involved. The swim area off Jubilee Pool is being used as well – and hopefully people can see the benefits to these areas.
The addition of a small wheelie bin at the end of Albert Pier has helped to reduce the amount of waste that collects there and ultimately falls into the waters, this seems to have been a popular addition.
The issue with ‘Tombstoning’ has been ongoing in Penzance, again something The Harbour actively discourages, with signage added to the area to enforce. Tombstoning is a danger to those doing it as well as other water users, the Harbour Staff have on many occasions tried to educate the persons and in some cases has been seen to work.
The Boat Audit carried out during the season has highlighted some available moorings and so over the next few months we shall be contacting people on the wait lists with an end goal of reducing the wait lists so that more people can enjoy The Harbour. Moorings where payment have not been received are starting to be bought back for licenses going out to new Harbour Users. It is worth noting that it is essential for Harbour Users to keep there contact details up to date in order that invoices are sent to the correct address. Non payment of invoices will lead to the taking back of the mooring license.
We have also increased the number of recycling bins around The Wet Dock area – these have been well used and customers such as The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company have embraced them – we will continue to introduce additional recycling points for all over the next few seasons.
Reporting of incidents, observations or near misses
The reporting of incidents, observations and near misses is fundamental to compliance with the Port Marine Safety Code and a ‘Hazman Incident Report’ should be completed by users or staff for any occurrence involving marine matters. These reports feed the Maritime Safety Management System and ensure Harbour Masters, Maritime Manager, Designated Person and Harbours Board are aware of any arising actions.
Reports should be made in the following circumstances;
- An incident or accident of any description that affects, or may affect, Maritime operational safety, security or efficiency,
• Whenever a near miss occurs,
• To report vessel defects of any description that are not pre reported by the ships agent/master prior to arrival/departure,
• Whenever there is a berth issue i.e. faults, fendering, mooring difficulties,
• General observations that affect operational safety or efficiency,
• If a procedural system failure occurs,
• Complaints may be detailed on this form, however they must be significant,
• Whenever a vessel causes, or is suspected of causing, any damage to Maritime property,
• When a vessel is damaged in any way,
• Whenever oil pollution is caused or observed,
• For any other reason where it is felt that the Maritime Management should be aware or may need to take action.