CHAIRMAN'S NEWSLETTER MARCH 2019
The 2019 sailing season will soon be upon us and many PMBHA Members seem to be busy on the hard catching up on those servicing and repair jobs that have been delayed due to the windy and wet winter.
These winter storms have contributed to an increase in the amount of silt in the Harbour basins and Approach Channel. Sand and gravel have built up and narrowed the Harbour Entrance making navigation difficult for all vessels during the period mid to low water. The build-up of material at the Harbour Entrance is a cause of concern to Gwynedd Council as the relevant harbour authority. Urgent works are currently being considered and statutory organisations are being notified of the intention of such works. Such urgent works would need to be arranged to coincide with the main cutter suction dredging campaign which is due to commence on 1st April.
Recently there has been an inspection of all harbours by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's Port Marine Safety Code Inspectors. Such inspections are to ensure compliance with the PMSC and to ensure that standard and safety arrangements are current. During the previous inspection, the Inspectors commented regarding the lack of width and depth of the navigation channel in Pwllheli. It is anticipated that a similar comment will also be included in the revised report which has not yet been made available to Cyngor Gwynedd.
The Harbour Authority and the PMBHA advise that Members should familiarise themselves with the channel and entrance before navigating it. The narrowness of the entrance has increased the speed of water-flow making manoeuvring challenging for both motor and sail boats.
The depth of water on some of the berths in both the Hafan and Plas Heli berths has reduced and a few high spots in the channel have also been identified. These will be addressed during the current dredging works.
The stilling lagoon has been emptied and a dredger has arrived in the Harbour to commence a planned dredging program of the marina basin and the approach channel. The silt will be deposited into the stilling lagoon which has a maximum capacity of 20,000cu.m. It is expected only c.50% of the material which requires removal, will be removed. This is due to the lack of suitable storage available. Work will continue until 23rd May 2019 and will pause during the Easter and May Bank holiday periods. The cost is £130k plus the £48k for emptying the stilling lagoon.
Your Committee is seriously concerned that there are currently no further future dredging plans to address the fine silt. This is due to the lack of affordable sites to deposit the silt and sand.
Plans to remove the large stockpile at the entrance and carry out the normal land dredge of the harbour have been disrupted due to hydrocarbons being found in the material. However, subsequent tests have shown this not to be an issue and plans will be reviewed for removing the stockpile. A trial of pumping the material onto Aberech/Glandon beaches will be made after the dredge of the Channel in order to try and establish an additional new means of disposal.
PMBHA ON-LINE SURVEY
Your Committee would like to thank Members who completed the recent survey which has proved helpful when dealing with various bodies. It is my intention to discuss this in more detail at the Q&A session following the forthcoming AGM however, I would just like to comment on the following results:-
The survey showed that 94% of members felt either good or satisfied with Pwllheli as a home port.
The age of members who completed our survey showed a concerning trend:
Under 41 yrs nil
41 to 50 yrs 9%
51 to 60 yrs 21%
61 to 70 yrs 45%
70 yrs plus 25%
70% of Berth holders are over 60 yrs.
It would appear that younger people are unlikely to replace the current boat owners. This mirrors a recent British Marine Federation "Futures" report which shows that the under 40yrs are shifting away from owning goods and services. Golf Clubs are experiencing a similar trend.
PWLLHELI HARBOUR REVIEW
Consultants have been appointed to advise on the options selected by Gwynedd Council and your Committee will shortly meet with them. I expect to report further at the Q&A session following the AGM.
FIRMHELM SHOP IN THE HAFAN
Local chandlery Firmhelm, who last year took over the old Plas Menai room in the Hafan, has advised that they will be offering a range of clothing and boat furnishings at this shop. The PMBHA web site will publish more details in the near future.
Your Committee requests that as many members as possible attend the AGM and following Q&A session which will be held in the Plas Heli restaurant at 2pm on Saturday 20th April 2019, where light refreshments will be available. A representative from Gwynedd Council's Maritime Unit will attend the Q&A session following the AGM.
Happy sailing in 2019.
Dave Dewsbury, Chairman PMBHA