Boats are set to return to Porthleven Harbour in early April, with the overall cost of the storms to the company in charge estimated to exceed £100,000.
Porthleven Harbour & Dock Company, which owns the harbour, has said it will cover the costs associated with lifting the boats to safety in the days following the storm of February 5, which has left the harbour completely empty for the first time since 1903.
In response, the Porthleven Fishermen’s Association has agreed to pay the crane hire costs to put the boats back in the harbour, using some of the Port Relief Fund that has now reached £14,000. The harbour company will provide manpower and the services of harbour master Philip Ward.
The company has also said it will waive the usual shipyard charges for all the boats that had to be taken out of the water.
Many of the areas around the harbour suffered damaged and need remedial repairs, including road surfaces, railings and safety equipment. The Old Lifeboat Station, now supported by the Trevor Osborne Charitable Trust as an art studio and exhibition space, was severely damaged and will cost at least £40,000 to repair alone.
All the wooden baulks were washed out of the inner harbour, causing the waves to roll in and sink ten boats; three are now unsalvageable.
Two new Douglas Fir baulks have now been delivered by Jo Sawmills of Mabe and since then the harbour and dock company has been preparing the new baulks and repairing the six damaged baulks for a return to the harbour in the next couple of weeks.
Trevor Osborne, owner of Porthleven Harbour and Dock Company for 37 years, said: “The response of Porthleven, including its fishermen, to the raging storms which have enveloped and damaged the harbour deserves to be acknowledged and I hope that the additional investment I have agreed to make will continue to foster the good relationship of the company with the community it serves.”
The harbour company is also looking ahead to the future. With the harbour cleared of boats, it has allowed Mr Osborne’s team to replace the current ground chains and also increase the number of moorings in the harbour – an investment of more than £25,000.
It has been described b the company as “significant” but “essential to retain the integrity of the moorings” and to reduce the current waiting list of boat owners wanting boats in Porthleven.
While the Harbour and Dock will install the ground chains, the boat owners will be responsible for the costs of the top chains and shackles, which will remain their property once in place.
Alan Richards, chairman of the fishermen’s association, suggested that the Port Relief Fund might be able to help its members with a percentage of the costs to replace the top chains – reducing the direct costs to boat owners by up to 50 per cent.
A programme of repairs begun in 2012 will recommence in May, including the re-pointing of the outer harbour jetty, Hospital Corner (the right-hand side of the inner harbour), where the slate walls have deteriorated, and the Harbour Head wall and pathway.
Depending on the weather, work will be spread over six months.
Mr Richards said: “We are very pleased that the Porthleven Harbour and Dock Company is not only addressing the immediate issues concerning the safety of the harbour due to recent storms but also its security going forward with new ground chains for moorings etc.
“We believe with the amazing recent support from the local community, together with the cooperation of Harbour and Dock, Porthleven harbour’s future is looking promising.”