Burnham-On-Sea Pilot Boat

Sedgemoor District Council has been praised in a new audit report on the quality of its Harbour Authority sevice, which includes Burnham-On-Sea.

Sedgemoor District Council is a Port Authority and with that comes a duty for the council’s Executive Members to comply with the Port Marine Safety Code. A regular audit was carried out during the summer of 2021 and its outcomes have been announced this week.

The independent auditor reported to Sedgemoor’s Executive on Wednesday (January 26th) that: “This is the 6th Port Marine Safety Code audit I have carried out on Bridgwater Harbour Authority, and, as before, the Port is operated in a thoroughly proficient and competent manner by Keith Badsey and his team.”

“Documentation supplied for the audit is first rate, and Keith is a highly knowledgeable and experienced Harbour Master. The Safety Management System, suitable and sufficient at the outset, continues to be refined and sets a high standard.”

As the Statutory Harbour Authority, Sedgemoor District Council has responsibilities for Safe and efficient marine operations; Pilotage; Conservancy – maintenance of navigation channels and navigation aids; Emergency response; Environmental protection including oil spill contingency planning and waste management and Local lighthouses including the low lighthouse in Burnham-On-Sea.

The limits of the Port are summarised as Bridgwater Bay from Brean Down to east of Hinkley Point; The River Parrett as far as Bridgwater town centre; The River Brue as far as Highbridge Clyce Sluice; and a small part of the tidal River Axe.

Pilotage is particularly important in the Port of Bridgwater because of the extreme tidal rise and fall (twelve metres on a big spring tide) and the constant movement of navigation channels. All commercial vessels over 20 metres length visiting the port use a pilot.  The average size of visiting vessels has greatly increased over recent years.

The Port of Bridgwater provides access to two operational berth facilities, at Combwich Wharf and Dunball Wharf. Two or three pilots may be needed around high water spring tides, as sometimes two or three vessels are moving at the same time.

Sedgemoor employs a Harbour Master, Capt Keith Badsey, and a deputy Harbour Master, Capt Jessica Tyson,   In 2020 Sedgemoor invested £700,000 in a new pilot boat ‘Sea Sprite’’ which is often moored at Burnham-On-Sea Sailing Club.


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