Wind Speed: 3.990kn
Wind Direction: 43.900°
Tide Height C.D.: 1.017m


Replacement Multi-Function Work Boat for Brightlingsea Harbour

‘Colne Leader’, a ground-breaking multifunction pilot and workboat built by the Seaward Boat Development Company Ltd of Cowes, Isle of Wight, has entered service with Brightlingsea Harbour. Having established the need to replace the harbour’s previous pilot boat, an extensive research programme was undertaken to identify the type of vessel and equipment specification required. Advice was sought from the Work Boat Association, coding surveyors, naval architects, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, other ports, the pilots, shipping organisations and professional work boat skippers.

The consultation process was very successful in helping identify what was needed in the new boat, but it also revealed a gap in the pilot boat market. Typically, Pilot Boats are designed for deep water ports and utilise vessels of 50 plus feet costing over a million pounds. Such a vessel is far too large and expensive for the needs of Brightlingsea and other small harbours,where a sub 30 foot multifunction pilot and workboat is required.

Potential suppliers were approached, and the search was on to find a company able to develop a small pilot boat which could also meet the wider needs of harbours like Brightlingsea, where additional duties include tasks such as river patrols, inspection and maintenance of navigation marks on behalf of Trinity House, river surveys and other general harbour duties.

Ultimately the Seaward 29, which utilises the highly regarded Nelson 29 hull, was the clear choice. Seaward worked closely with the Brightlingsea Harbour team to create a boat that note only met their requirements but did so within the available budget. The result is a flexible vessel incorporating a number of facilities and services not generally offered in a pilot boat of this size.

“Working with Seaward has been an informative and rewarding process.” Notes Harbour Master James Thomas, “Their team has gone the extra mile to create a vessel to meet our multifaceted needs within our relatively small budget and we are delighted with the finished result. From major achievements in such a small vessel, like standing headroom with full access in the engine room, to the little details like mooring cleats inset into the cabin coaming to keep the decks clear and the latest man overboard recovery equipment, they have worked with us to achieve a boat that will meet our needs for many years to come.”

‘Colne Leader’ will rapidly become a familiar sight as she undertakes her duties in Brightlingsea Harbour and along the River Colne. In welcoming the new vessel Andrew Scott, Chair of Brightlingsea Harbour Commission said, “The addition of ‘Colne Leader’ to the harbour’s fleet is an important step in our ongoing harbour development. I would like to thank all those involved in the planning and execution of this project. Their contributions have resulted in a vessel that not only meets our own needs, but also creates a new industry leader small pilot and work boat design that can be utilised by small harbours both in the UK and abroad.”

For more information about ‘Colne Leader’ please contact Harbour Master James Thomas on