Project Description

Walcon Marine ‘legs’ ensure low tide access for fishermen at Padstow

22 January 2020

Walcon Marine has implemented a novel solution for the Fishermen’s Docks in the Outer Harbour in the fishing and tourist town of Padstow, Cornwall. Aside from the Inner Harbour the port itself, located on the estuary of the River Camel, dries out at low tide and Padstow Harbour Commissioners required a pontoon-based berthing system that could safely and evenly take the ground at low tide with the fishing boats alongside.

Above the waterline, the facility presents as a 120-metre line of System 21 pontoons alongside the harbour wall in the outer basin. All are decked using commercial-grade GRP mesh grating.

What is only revealed at low tide are the pairs of reinforced 1.4-metre steel legs with hinged foot plates that extend out below the pontoons at regular intervals. These are designed to bear the weight of the pontoons together with foot traffic when the harbour is dried out. The harbour floor beneath the pontoons has been levelled to ensure a level surface and packing placed below each foot plate to ensure continuity.

This design ensures that the crews of the fishing boats can access their boats safely and conveniently when alongside, whatever the state of the tide. Additional features for these workboat-grade pontoons include an all-round timber skirt to protect the floats except at the quay wall and three-tonne mooring cleats.

“The hard work of consultation, design and grant application had already been organised by my predecessor,” said Padstow Harbour Master Bryn Phillips. “All I had to do was arrange installation dates with Walcon and until that stage I had no previous communication with them. From the first point of contact with James Walters until completion date, the project was conducted professionally, efficiently and effectively. Communication was exceptional and the whole Walcon team were a credit to themselves and we look forward to working with them again on future projects.”

While pontoons with stilts are unusual, Walcon has undertaken a number of such projects previously including for pleasure boats on tidal sections of the River Thames.

Padstow Harbour Commissioners is a long-standing and valued client of Walcon Marine.