Safety Improving Says Harbourmaster

Safety standards in and around St Mary’s Harbour have improved greatly in the last year after Harbourmaster Dale Clark hired outside assessors to help shape best practise.

Now the facility is being operated more or less in line with the Port Marine Safety Code, a set of non-enforceable MCA guidelines, which all ports are encouraged to sign up to.

Dale says when he joined the team a year ago, it had been five years since the last safety check was carried out.

Marine experts were brought in before the certificate of compliance lapsed and they felt there were a considerable number of areas that needed attention.

Dale says having an outsider check over the operation has helped them indentify and improve weak areas.

The harbour team has also been receiving guidance from the former Fowey harbourmaster, Captain Mike Sutherland, whose second audit showed vast improvements.

St Mary's Harbourmaster, Dale Clark

The Harbour Users Forum was born out of the experts’ suggestion that there should be more engagement with customers.

Dale says consulting with users and key stakeholders is a key part of the work and allows them a say in the operation of the harbour.

Dale says he’s also consulted with off-island quay users and formalised harbour use through a terms and conditions agreement.

A commercial operator’s navigational risk assessment and a separate fire and oil spill response plans has been produced too.

Dale says no one expects St Mary’s to be at the same level as a major port like Southampton and the local limitations and staff of just three have to be taken into account, but he’s pleased that he’s heard positive feedback from his counterparts elsewhere about the way in which the harbour is operated.

Dale says the team can take great pride in what they’ve achieved and says there are many ports in a lot worse state than St Mary’s.