As well as Bangor Marina opening, also nearly back to normal is Carrickfergus across Belfast Lough, Glenarm on the Antrim Coast Road and the inland marina at Portglenone on the River Bann.
In a Notice to Mariners Harbour Master Billy Withers from Carrickfergus said that Mid and East Antrim Harbours and Marinas are moving to the restoration of services and facilities. He goes on to reiterate that as elsewhere, health and safety of everyone involved are paramount and social distancing must be maintained.
The Notice states “We have spoken with Harbour Masters and Marina Managers from around Great Britain and Northern Ireland, considered the advice of the British Marine Federation, The UK Harbour Masters Association, RYA NI, and the Coastguard as well as consulting with health and safety staff”.
Boat owners will now be able to go to sea. This includes launching and recovery from the Council’s Harbours, Marinas, and slipways. The advice is that this is for a limited time and during daylight hours (3-4 hours maximum is recommended). Belfast Coastguard should be notified on leaving and returning to the harbour/marina/slipway. At this stage boats from outside the Mid & East Antrim harbours/marinas will not be able to access the facilities. Overnighting on board is not permitted at this stage unless it is the owner’s permanent residence.
The details on access to the Marina are clear:- Priority should be given to berth holders coming up the main access ramps ie exiting. At this stage the Marinas will be open between 8am and 8pm every day. However, the number going to any one boat should be limited. The Marina reserves the right to limit the number of people on the pontoons if social distancing is not being observed or not possible. Access is currently by the buzzer on the gate. It is hoped that fob access will be restored by next week at the latest to all those who have returned contracts. The West Gate, adjacent to the Windrose, remains closed.
The marina reception will remain closed in the meantime, but please telephone, radio, email the office for any enquiries as staff are available during normal office hours.
Toilets, Wash Hand Basins & Showers
The toilets, urinals, wash hand basins and showers have been opened in the berth holder facilities, however please do not use the individual units that have been cordoned off to create more space between users.
On the Pontoons
When passing on the pontoons, practice safe navigation, port to port and pass well clear, using the pontoon fingers to get that extra clearance distance.
Contractors Working On Site
If a berth holder requires a contractor to conduct work on a boat, then it is down to him/her to ensure that they and the contractor observe social distancing and that the contractor has adequate PPE.
Authorised contractors are required to contact the marina office in advance.
RYA Guidance which is widely publicised and should be adhered to.
Other Considerations to Minimise the Risk of Transfer of virus.
Berth holders must take responsibility for their own safety and this now includes using PPE where appropriate. To minimise the risk of any transfer and berth holders are urged to maintain high levels of hygiene on their boats and especially when using taps, hoses, rails, gates etc. on the pontoons and entrances.
The situation will continue to be regularly monitored in line with government guidelines, and advice and communications that we are receiving from the British Marine Federation, the UK Harbour Masters Association and RYA NI.