Moorings safety is ‘myth’

Dear Sir,

relating to the chain moorings at Rye harbour and the plight of the fishermen who have been ordered to leave despite having used these moorings for many years.

Having owned a 4 berth cabin cruiser moored on the disputed site in the late 50’s early 60’s, being the skipper/owner of a trawler for 10 years before retirement in ‘86 and a member of the Harbour of Rye Advisory Committee for many years, I feel qualified to answer questions.

The problem is a myth: a risk of a 22 foot moored boat drifting into the path of one of the larger cargo ships can only happen with a Westerly wind, and breast ropes from boat to shore would prevent this, leaving the boat safely moored clear of the main channel and in line with the fixed structures that mark the edge of the navigable channel. This suggestion which would solve the problem, was dismissed out of hand because it does not fit in with the new decrees.

The cause is laid at the door of the new Harbour Master who has little knowledge of the workings of small boats or the hardship endured by inshore fishermen. The small boats affected need space ashore for their gear and as well as being ordered to leave the only safe moorings have been told they will not be allowed to land any gear on the shore, something that has been going on ever since there was a Harbour.

Upstream, Simmons Quay is the home of the main fleet of larger boats responsible for the bulk of the fish caught in Rye bay and all of the renowned scallops. The Quay has problems of varying degree with fuel supplies, transport, net and gear storage. winch maintenance and security to mention a few. Since the Quay was opened this whole enterprise has been administered and operated to a high degree of efficiency by the fishermen’s representative, Mr Ronnie Simmons in close and amicable co-operation with the Harbour Master of the time, Mr Carl Bagwell MBE. This co-operation ceased abruptly with the appointment of the new officer.

I hope this will lead to a sensible debate in order to arrive at a solution acceptable by all parties, but with an intractable attitude on one side, this may not be possible.

Harry Kennard, Main Street, Peasmarsh.