Schools week 2014
The last few weeks have been busy weeks at the harbour, as you may have seen if you were passing through. The “Pioneer” and “Judy Ann” and “Bradwell 22s” were out on the water with school children during our schools activity week. This was a great success and even the weather was mostly on side.
“Schools week” is an event Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners arrange each year to welcome several schools in the local area to experience what life on the water has to offer. This year we welcomed Broomgrove Junior School for two days, Brightlingsea Juniors for three days and Elmstead and Millfields juniors for a day each.
All activities were met with great enthusiasm by both the pupils and teachers, they were taken out on to the Colne River just off Mersea Stone where they were split into groups of ten and rotated between sailing on the “Bradwell 22s” which is an open sailing boat then lunch and a sail on the majestic “Pioneer” a 70ft skillinger smack.
One teacher said “The pioneer is beautiful and a unique part of their heritage, they are very fortunate to have this experience”.
Following the Pioneer activity was the “Judy Ann” which is a retired fishing boat, once on board Chris a member of our team who used to fish the local area, arranged two activities one was to practice the “Man overboard” procedure with a life ring and boat hook and the second was dredging of the river to see what sea life could be found. It has to be said that the “Judy Ann” is one of the most popular activities with the pupils, they love the hands on experience of catching anything from Star fish, crabs, clay pipes and scorpion fish and learning all about them before returning them safely to the water, It “Ticks all the boxes” as Teacher Amanda Higgins from Brightlingsea Juniors said.
School pupils make a small financial contribution but otherwise it is organised and funded by the Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners who are very supportive of Schools week.
Amanda Higgins a Teacher from BrightlingseaJuniors School said …..
“It’s a valuable experience - Brightlingsea has a very mixed community some more affluent than others, some children have access to the water and what it has to offer but some do not and it’s a good opportunity for the less fortunate to experience what the harbour has to offer and to say it’s on your door step and you CAN do it”
Photography by John Carr
Five men fined for jet ski speeding
From the Colchester Gazette 10/12/13
'FIVE men caught speeding on jet skis and speedboats along the River Colne have been fined hundreds of pounds. They were caught travelling faster than eight nautical miles per hour, about 9mph, near Brightlingsea marina. The operation on Saturday, July 13 was aimed at cutting antisocial activity on a day there were hundreds of people on the town’s waterfront.
Rebekah Straughan, prosecuting on behalf of Colchester Council, said each of the defendants had breached byelaw three of the Harbour of Colchester Byelaws, introduced in 1985.David Carter, 36, of Richard Avenue, Wivenhoe, had already been told to leave the area because he had breached an antisocial behaviour order he was made subject to in May. Miss Straughan said Sgt Simon Lofting had seen Carter speeding at up to 30 nautical mph on a Yamaha Wave Runner jet ski near Brightlingsea open air pool.
She said: “Mr Carter is well known by police for disorderly behaviour. “He had already been removed from the area by police as his behaviour had breached his Asbo. “His use of the jet ski caused excessive wash as he sped around very close to the open air swimming pool.”
Carter eventually agreed to come to shore, but refused to sign a form accepting the charges. He was sent a summons to appear at court, but failed to turn up. In his absence, Colchester Magistrates’ Court found the case was proved and Carter was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £470.
Thomas Wells, 29, of Theydon Bois, Essex, did not respond to a summons and the case was proven in his absence for speeding on a jet ski. Miss Straughan said he and two friends were pulled over after being seen travelling from Point Clear along the Colne at speeds faster than 30 nautical mph.
Wells was ordered to pay £420.
Three more men wrote to the court to admit responsibility.
Steven Mann, 29 of Yare Avenue, Witham, and Michael McNamara, 37, of Hazelville Road, London both admitted speeding on jetskis and were each fined £370.
Stuart Rider, 42, of Peto Avenue, Colchester, accepted he had been speeding on a Crowline Bow Rider speedboat and was also told to pay £370.
Annie Feltham, councillor responsible for leisure services, said: “Speed limits on our rivers are in place to ensure the safety of all river users, whether they are on jet skis, speed boats or swimming.“These defendants were three times over the speed limit.” '
We were lucky enough to have a visit by our local conservation officer Brian Percival along with a RSPB Botanist to survey both the Cindery Islands, they were most informative so we thought we would share their findings with you, this is their report...
"On Behalf of the Club, thank you very much for allowing me to use a launch to take the RSPB botanist onto both the Cindery islands for a plant survey.
As we know “2nd Cindery” is about 10-12” lower than “1st Cindery” which makes it attractive to different plant species. We found large areas of Saltmarsh Grass and Arrow Grass with areas of flowering Thrift or Sea Pink and common Sea Lavender and Red Fescue on the higher settings “Sea Purslane” and “Glasswort” we also noted. First Cindery provided a more varied selection of saltmarsh plants in addition to those mentioned above, one of the most exciting being “ Shrubbery Sea Blite” which requires a very narrow saltmarsh habitat base, it likes to its feet wet, but not too often! I pointed out an interesting historical note on 2nd Cindery island, explain that the wildflowers have managed the islands since 1977, and, in 1980 the town council were concerned about erosion from the constant passage of sand barges so we placed a series of posts along the north edge of the salting’s exactly one metre in from the salting edge.During our survey we found that some of these posts had fallen in to the creek, but the majority we now on the edge or close to it. So, in thirty-three years we would appear to have lost about a metre or just under".
Following a fatal incident in Padstow Harbour the MAIB (Marine Accident Investigation Branch) have issued a safety bulletin which is available to download click here