THE NEW pontoons at Bridlington Harbour providing berths for up to 77 vessels have been officially opened.
The installation of the new floating pontoons - which have already been filled with a further 66 vessels on top of the eleven berths which were successfully trialled in the harbour - was completed in April.
And on Tuesday, Bridlington’s Harbour Commissioners, along with members of the Holderness Coast Fishery Local Action Group (FLAG) who part funded the project, cut the ribbon to officially mark the opening.
The £270,000 project has been funded by the Bridlington Harbour Commissioners, with a grant contribution of £49,000 from the FLAG using money from Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund.
George Traves MBE, chairman of the Harbour Commissioners, said: “The floating pontoons are the biggest development of the harbour for many years.
“The huge demand for them has fully vindicated our decision to expand the 11-berth trial pontoon.
“I am delighted at the interest in the project - the new serviced berths have already been filled. As well as improved facilities for the vessels, the scheme helps to raise the profile and interest in Bridlington and the harbour.”
The pontoons, close to the South Pier, allow boats to be accessed at all stages of the tide and have water and electricity pedestals so that the vessels can be hooked up when berthed.
Speaking at the opening, Mr Traves said that the installation of the pontoons was the next step in 30 years of regeneration the Commissioners’ had brought to the harbour - and said that more projects were in the pipeline including 47 or more new berths at the chicken run at Bridlington Harbour as well as a new lobster hatchery.
The FLAG was set up only a few months ago to implement a programme of assistance for the fishing industry and fishing communities along the East Riding coast.
The pontoons are the first project to be implemented using FLAG money, though a total of eight projects have been agreed by the FLAG Board including support for four local seafood festivals; a health trainer for fishermen; restoration of the “Three Brothers”; a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust programme to raise awareness of the maritime environment; and provision of “escape gaps” in lobster pot bottoms to reduce injury and discards.
Coun Arthur Hodgson, chairman of the Holderness Coast FLAG, said: “I think the new pontoons are excellent and they will be the first of many projects around the coast.
“This is the first project grant aided by the FLAG and we are pleased to support such an innovative and successful development.
“It will be beneficial for everyone connected with the harbour. The pontoons are what the harbour needs, and because they are flexible they will fit in with whatever future regeneration plans come along.”
The FLAG programme is open to applications for funding until the end of 2013.