A report was presented that provided the Board with an update on a number of recent issues that affected the Harbour.
In discussion, reference was made to:
(a) there having been an increase in near misses this year. The Board noted that there were no linkages between the near misses and each occurrence had been looked at in great detail and had resulted in some good lessons being learned;
(b) the harbour security contract. Support was expressed for the proposal to establish a Working Group of Board Members to shape the direction in which the security contract should be redesigned prior to going out to tender. The Board subsequently agreed that Messrs Owens and Stewart, Cllr Long and Ms Jones would form the Working Group.
Regarding the existing security contract, the Harbour Master informed that the decision to bring forward a presence from 9.00pm last year to 8.00pm (6.00pm during the high season) had been a resounding success. Finally, the Board recognised that instances of drink driving on the water had seemingly been more prevalent this year;
(c) an update on the commercial units and harbour depot projects. The Board noted that the projects were unfortunately six months behind schedule and, in respect of the depot project, there was now a huge amount of input required from the Harbour Authority. Whilst the Authority was now incurring costs as a result of the delay, it was confirmed that there were penalty clauses associated with the contract. In thanking the Board for its patience and understanding, it was noted that the target date for the end of project completion was 31 October 2022.
With regard to the commercial units project, a lengthy debate ensued over the bidding process. Whilst officer assurances were given over the transparency, weighting and due diligence to be adhered to in the process, it was also recognised that demand would exceed the five available units and it was therefore inevitable that some parties would be unsuccessful and therefore disappointed;
(d) the importance of the Duty Holder Training for Executive Members. It was noted that the vital training had been rearranged to be held on Thursday, 13 October 2022. In reply to a question, it was intended that a draft Memorandum of Understanding would be presented to the next Board meeting to be held on 14 November 2022;
(e) the gig racing regatta capsize incident. The Board discussed the merits of insisting that gig racers in the Harbour should wear life jackets. The Harbour Master advised that opinions were divided on this matter and the Gig Club had already recognised the need to review its risk assessments. Whilst the Harbour Authority would be conducting its own review into the annual event, officers had already met with the report author and representatives from the Gig Club and the RNLI.
As a general point, the importance of ensuring that Board Members were informed of such incidents as soon as was practically possible, the Harbour Master committed to looking into the merits of setting up a Board ‘what’s app’ messaging group for this purpose.
(f) the use of hydrofoils in the Harbour. The Harbour Master stated that the definition of a ‘vessel’ was a particularly complicated area of law for which independent legal advice was currently being sought. However, officers advised that they would continue to work with those identified hydrofoil owners.
It was then:
That the contents of the Harbour Master’s report be noted and endorsed.