In the changed environment of social distancing, the impact of which is likely to be long-lasting, the management at Bembridge Harbour have taken the decision, as a direct result of Covid-19, to remodel the Duver visitors’ pontoon.
Historically, the Harbour has been well known for boats “rafting out” on what was basically one long pontoon. In 2015 the installation of a limited number of ”Premier” finger berths attracted a different market and enabled advance online booking and dedicated electricity (and the ability to order fresh croissants and newspapers for a morning delivery straight to the boat!).
Bembridge Harbour Authority has invested in 36 additional finger pontoons (72 berths), which arrived by barge from Portsmouth in early July. Installation of this first phase, along both sides of the main spine pontoon, will be completed by the beginning of August, providing individual berths with direct access without anyone having to cross over other boats. A second phase of fingers on the inside of the main pontoon is envisaged as drying berths, with installation anticipated in Autumn 2020.
This significant change of emphasis does reduce overall visitor capacity by around 15%, but is seen as a necessary step to keep customers and staff as safe as possible and maintain confidence. Rafting will still be available, subject to request and consent in advance, for family groups / social bubbles, and rallies.
New Marina Facilities
A complete refurbishment of the visitor shower and toilet facilities at the Duver, finished immediately prior to lockdown, is now open for visiting boats and berth-holders, with Covid-19 safety measures in place.
Such refurbishment was necessary because the facilities as existed, were inadequate, and beyond on-going and continuous repair ahead of a new facilities complex to be constructed as soon as planning approval is granted. The new facilities comprise a combination of toilet and shower cubicles, as well as separate units, to maximise the capacity potential of the limited space available. Harbour owner, Malcolm Thorpe, said “The facilities always let us down. This is an enormous improvement and brings us closer to the standard we want to provide for our customers, and more akin to other marinas and harbours around the Solent. Customers have been delighted.”
A dredging programme, using a BHA owned dredger for the first time and originally scheduled for April, has just been completed, re-establishing water depths at Bembridge Marina and creating a wider access channel to Bembridge Boat Storage, thereby improving efficiency and increasing holding capacity, for this expanding business.
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