Burnham-On-Sea’s brand new £50,000 pilot boat was officially launched on Tuesday evening (September 5th) in a ceremony at the town’s sailing club.
Sally Denbee, the wife of the Chairman of Sedgemoor District Council, poured a bottle of local cider champagne over the boat to launch the new boat in the traditional manner.
She was watched by 50 people from across the town who included husband John, the Chairman of Sedgemoor District Council and the town’s Mayor and Mayoress.
Others included Harbour Master Peter Lee, HM Coastguard’s Severn Sector Manager Ron Phipps, and representatives from the town council and RNLI.
“Pilotage is particularly important in the Port of Bridgwater because of the large tidal rise and fall – twelve metres on a big spring tide – and the constant movement of navigation channels,” said Sedgemoor District Council spokeswoman Claire Faun.
“All commercial vessels over 30 metres length visiting the port use a pilot, hence the need for a pilot boat. The pilots also help commercial shipping to Dunball Wharf.”
The port of Bridgwater covers a large area with around 25 square nautical miles of mainly inter-tidal sand and mud banks off the coast from Brean Down to Hinkley Point, and over 14 nautical miles of tidal estuary and river including the Parrett, Brue and Axe.
Sedgemoor District Council has invested £50,000 in the new pilot boat to carry out its duties around Bridgwater Bay and the River Parrett. The council’s decision to buy a new boat came after a full investigation into all the options, including refurbishing the old one and leasing a new one.