Dear GBA Members,
Before I report on the past 12 month’s activities, I should like to take this opportunity to express our sadness at the passing of two of our most influential and forthright members, both of whom were Presidents of this Association, notably John Torode and Peter Derham.
Their combined dedication and unstinted service over several decades is an example to us all. Plain speaking was always their motto and their joint contributions to the interests of the local boating community are well documented in their obituaries which you can read on our website.
We have been very busy since our last AGM and Gary, Jeremy and I have attended numerous meetings on your behalf with Guernsey Harbours and the other Port Leisure Group Associations.
Although we didn’t succeed in persuading the Harbour Management to reconsider their choice of developing the Albert Quay for liner traffic at this moment in time, our concerns are now officially on record and Guernsey Harbours has given public assurances that their provisions for the use of this busy area are both safe and secure. Only time will tell.
With Brexit, I think eventually there will be a reduction in visiting liners because any ships leaving a UK Port bound direct for Guernsey, having taken on fuel in UK Waters , will be unable to claim back the VAT paid on that fuel. And we are talking many thousands of pounds or euros! This money can only be reclaimed if the ship is leaving an EU country for a destination outside of the EU, hence our popularity. This will no longer apply to the UK.
Moving on, any of you who refuel at Abraham’s Bosom from road tankers will be delighted to learn that Guernsey Harbours are improving this arrangement within the next few months. Access via a dedicated gangway instead of by ladder, a longer pontoon to accommodate several vessels, attaching the pontoon to the Quay and provision for pontoon fire extinguishers for enhanced safety.
This is the result of our discussions with Guernsey harbours on the future of fuelling facilities.
In July Gary Thoume and I together with David Norman from the Guernsey Marine Traders Association conducted a joint survey of the QE2, Albert and St.Sampsons marinas to determine an accurate record of the number of vacant berths. There has been a growing demand from prospective boatowners and local yachting agencies for speedier mooring allocations. Lack of manpower at Guernsey Harbours and discrepencies in the actual number of berths available has been the root cause.
Happily this is now being addressed with extra manpower. Already one of the deepest parts of the QE2 Marina, E Pontoon , is being reorganised to accommodate those deeper draft vessels.
Many of the other vacant moorings are for boats of 9m and under which can now be offered to new owners with smaller boats. The aim is to attract new business and maximise the space available. Plus this also results in increased revenue for Harbours and hopefully delays any increases in our fees.
By the time you read this report the results of our other joint survey with Guernsey Harbours and the Guernsey Marine Traders Association will have been announced in the media and a full version of this survey will be available for you to digest on our website.
The results which were compiled and analysed by the GBA,GH and the GMTA do not produce any real surprises……hosepipes, mooring fees, security……these were your main concerns.
This was your opportunity to have your say on your priorities for local leisure boatowners and you certainly did just that. Over 70% of the responses came from our members and I thank you for your support. It was fantastic!
I am more hopeful for the future than I was last year. With the recent changes of Harbour Management the attitude towards us is improving on a daily basis. Capt. Chad Murray is very keen to re-establish a strong working relationship with us and the GMTA to put us ‘back on an even keel’ after 3 years of turmoil and uncertainty.
And finally, we are all really pleased to see Jeremy back in harness and ‘ firing on all cylinders’ after his recent illness. The efficiency of all voluntary organisations such as ours rests most of the time on the Secretary and not with the President who just does most of the talking!
We are actively seeking some secretarial assistance for Jeremy to spread the load and anyone interested in helping should contact Jeremy.
So, let’s now look forward to the 2017 boating season with higher expectations for the future here in Guernsey. Traditionally we are an island of sea-faring folk, long may that continue.