Ferries under threat from boatyard shrinking

Boats in Bristol harbour may have nowhere to go for maintenance as the council reveals plans to take away nearly half of the city’s last remaining working boat yard.

Bristol City Council owns the space currently used by Bristol’s Marina Boatyard.

It is the last working yard in the city with a lifting dock, but the council claims that it needs to take 40% of the boatyard’s land in order to accommodate the sale of Abels Dry Dock to an un-named operator.

The yard currently provides the mandatory yearly service for countless private and commercial boats including the Tower Belle and Bristol Ferries.

A spokesperson for Bristol Ferries has said that it is the only place around that is big enough to accommodate their boats for the annual Maritime Coastguard Agency inspection. Without the space they would have to get a crane to come in and there are fears that it would be incredibly expensive.

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Davina Lund, owner of the boatyard said: “We won’t have the space for many commercial boats in the harbour. They will have nowhere else to go. We are also the only place dredgers can launch, keeping Bristol safe from flooding and provide support services to the harbour authority rescuing boats in danger of sinking. We potentially save £1,000s of public money in salvage.”

Bristol’s fortunes as a city are built on its working harbour. The history of boat building and repairs at the current site date back the the 12th century.

Davina added: “It does not take a penny of public money and in fact pays 50% of its profits back to the council. It is astonishing that a council who needs to make £108 million of cuts in public spending should be considering a plan to lose an established revenue stream.”

Laura Appleby, Bristol Marina’s office manager, started a petition to show the council the support that it has from boat owners, local businesses and residents.

She said: “We have 10 employers and we estimate that up to 50% of them could lose their jobs if we lose part of our boatyard space.”

The petition can be found at https://saveourboatyard.co.uk

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