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St Ives Harbour Update Autumn 2022

Autumn is now upon us with the typical large ground-sea which is so common in the west of Cornwall at this time of year. Now the harbour and indeed the town has calmed down we can look back at the season.  I started in post of St Ives Harbour Master on the 3rd of May, joining after a number of years as Deputy Harbour Master at Hayle Harbour. This made the transition to St Ives Harbour much more fluid than it could have been as I already knew many of the harbour users.

I inherited a harbour which was in good shape, and I must thank both Michael Ridgway who retired last year and our Maritime Manager,  Chris Jones, who held the fort in the interim, along with several other harbours and continued his own role!

The relocation of the ‘Stoned’ Pizza van has been successful and was soon joined by ‘Coned’ an ice cream van on the old Kelly’s site near Shamrock Lodge. These have proved popular, and we thank Tom and his team for their proactive approach in dealing with any issues extremely quickly and efficiently.

During the season various events and filming took place on the harbour, these included the Jubilee Celebrations, a German film crew for a Rosamunde Pilcher production on West Pier and a live episode of BBC spotlight from the end of Smeaton’s Pier.  Lifeboat day returned after a brief pause due to the pandemic, and Pirate FM also visited with their love crew promoting the NHS 111 and distributing free sun cream.

At the end of May I was delighted to take delivery of an Orkney patrol boat – this has proved incredibly useful.

There have been a number or visiting yachts this summer with most weeks having several on our visitors’ moorings. The anchorage has also been busy with both visitors and local vessels.  During the summer we had a variety of boats towed in by Nora Stachura – the St Ives All Weather Lifeboat, this has continued into the Autumn, and we currently have two vessels waiting for a weather window to enable them to leave. The St Ives Lifeboat crew do an amazing job at rescuing those who need help when out at sea. The RNLI beach lifeguards are also an amazing asset to the town, from their day-to-day beach safety patrols, to responding to more serious incidents when called up, always quickly and always with smiles on their faces. I would like to thank all the people in the various RNLI roles within the town, you guys and girls really do make the town and surrounding waters a much safer place to be.

Safety is an integral part of the job, and on the most part those operating commercially, leisure users and the holiday makers enjoying the waters around the harbour do so safely. However, there are always concerns for those who insist on swimming near the two operational piers especially when vessels are manoeuvring. This along with those that tombstone and snorkel near boats are of a concern, Stuart and I do try to ensure that these activities are excluded from the high-risk areas. Of note the work of the various ‘Skiffers’ is to be commended on how they inform swimmers etc of the risks and ensure that vessels only approach the piers when it is safe to do so.

Town Deal funding was initially going to be used for a fish shop on Smeaton’s Pier.  These plans have now changed, and in agreement with the fishermen we are hoping to install a much requested third Davit for the end of Smeaton’s Pier. The ice machine unfortunately has recently suffered a serious failure and we are working closely with a number of suppliers to both come up with a temporary fix and for a replacement in the new year.

There are several Stakeholder Meetings annually, at these meetings representatives from various core groups of the harbour are represented. Recently Phil Keightley has been appointed as the representative for leisure users of the harbour. He can be contacted via the harbour office.

Soon the season will come to an end with the tripper fleet retreating to Hayle for the winter, and the smaller boats being taken out of the harbour. I look forward to a busy winter period undertaking the various maintenance jobs which are required around the harbour and also working closely with the fishing feet during this time.

Ben Lawlor, St Ives Harbour Master.

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