Visitors berths are to be included in the new 132 step-on step-off pontoon mooring berths at Kingsbridge, Devon, for those who are happy to take the ground.
A floating pile driving barge has been at work since February to drive in the nine metre, hardwood securing piles, which keep the pontoons in position and allow them to rise and fall with the tide.
The piles were being vibrated into position. Some have gone in to their correct depth three and a half metres below the bed of the estuary while some will have to be driven a little further with a diesel hammer before being trimmed to a uniform height.
Now that all the pontoons are fixed in place the contractor will be attaching the individual finger berths. The harbour staff will then fit rubber ‘D’ fendering to the berths the signage and number all of the berths.
The new pontoon will be linked to the quay wall by a nine metre bridge which will be suspended on two wooden piles. The berth holders area will be separated from the ferry and public landing by two security gates.
The project follows extensive public consultation by the Salcombe Harbour Authority when agreement was reached on a bespoke 222 metre long pontoon with finger berths for 132 boats – two more than could be catered for by the old moorings.
Harbour master Commander Ian Gibson has made the Kingsbridge Berthing Improvement Project a bit of a personal crusade over the last eight years. He says: “This diesel driven hammer will just tap in the piles to the right height and they will then be trimmed off.”
The next task is for eleven wooden piles to be driven into the estuary bed adjacent to the footpath at the head of the creek to make a drying berth. This will enable larger yachts to secure to and lay against the wooden piling between the tides for a prolonged stay in the Kingsbridge. A 30 metre section of footpath will be temporarily fenced off to ensure this can be done safely.