Dear G.B.A. Members,

2021 has been another strange boating season for us all.

A second lockdown due to the on-going pandemic in the Spring and further restrictions on our ability to venture outside of the Bailiwick may have dampened our potential use of our boats but this certainly hasn’t stopped us from getting out on to the sea.

Alderney and Sark have once again benefitted from this situation and welcomed Guernsey boaters with open arms. And the local yacht brokers have been very active buying and selling boats of all sizes to meet the increasing demand of both new and existing customers. So much so that a new problem has been created.

The marinas are full. There is nowhere else available to keep your vessel safe and sound locally and a long waiting list for moorings now exists. Who would have thought a few years ago that the Harbour Authority would now actually be telling us not to buy a new or second-hand vessel from outside of the Island unless you have an existing mooring.

Now this brings me on to our latest quest. David Norman representing the Marine Traders and I representing yourselves have been actively encouraging the States to investigate the possibility of redeveloping the Pool area into a new marina with 24/7 access.

After the debate last May on the Haskoning report into harbour extensions either at Longue Hougue or to the East of the QE2, this included a shaded zone in the Pool. Both of us felt strongly that here was a real chance for Guernsey to invest in a project that could not only provide desperately needed local moorings to meet the rising demand but also to get us back on the map for attracting visiting vessels.

 All of us who cruise our neighbouring shores, when possible, are fully aware that the French and Jersey have been busy expanding their marina facilities over the past 10 years and Guernsey is sadly now the poor relation. This isn’t the fault of our harbour authorities who are keen to address this situation. It’s lack of enthusiasm on the part of our Government to commit the funds.

The jewel in the crown in our harbour is the Pool area. At the moment it is a wasted asset which could generate considerable income to the Harbour and to the Island economy. It would be self-financing and above all show that Guernsey is once again open for business.

David and I have submitted our suggestions to the Authorities for the reconfiguration of the Pool to maximise the area and in a moment we will hear from our harbourmaster Capt. David Barker on their progress.

On a lighter note, I am pleased to report that after years of pestering, new safety ladders are now being installed in the marinas. As one who has been known to fall in the harbour on more than one occasion, I am delighted.

So fellow mariners, let’s hope that 2022 sees some further relaxation on foreign cruising possibilities and our Government realises that the expansion of the local leisure marine industry is dependent on the Pool marina development.

In conclusion, thank you all for your support over the past 6 years and especially the GBA Committee members and our hard-working secretary, Jeremy.

Stay well and safe at sea,

 

Nick Guillemette.

President of the GBA.