Although Milford Marina was only open to liveaboard berth holders during the recent ‘firebreak’ lockdown, the marina was not put on hold and our fantastic team continue to work hard throughout. As another hurdle was thrown our way, we’re over the moon we can welcome our non-liveaboard berth holders and visitors back again.
There have been many external factors out of our hands this year, but what hasn’t changed throughout this unpredictable time is what our Marina Team get up to on a day-to-day basis. Let’s rewind and reminisce on those glorious summer days back in August and give you a little insight into an operative’s typical day.
It’s a misty morning in Milford Haven, a day shift operative arrives at the Marina Office to begin his 12 hour shift. As soon as he arrives, the night shift operative begins the handover procedure and will inform the operative of any visitor bookings, fuel requests and tasks to complete that day. Another day shift operative arrives soon after and checks the ‘lock diary’ for any bookings before heading over to Pierhead for his role as lockmaster for the day. Pierhead plays a vital role in the operation of Milford Marina and Milford Fish Docks, operating the lock gates so leisure craft and commercial vessels can access and exit the marina 24 hours a day, with the short lock able to get boats in and out in as quick as 10 minutes.
After responding to e-mails and enquiries, the day shift operative prints out the weather reports (a lifesaver for those planning a voyage!) which are displayed in the Marina Office and berth holder facilities, these are updated daily for accuracy.
The first of many actions is to open our on-site boatyard and the Tesco Overflow car park which are both safely locked each night. Next up on the list is a booking for ice, to ensure we have enough ice for an order an operative will switch the ice on at an appropriate time before the scheduled pick up. Milford Marina often provide flake ice to a variety of businesses which need ice mainly to keep freshly caught fish at the correct temperature, once booked our operative will meet the vendor at the ice factory and distribute as much ice as they need.
Keeping the marina spick and span, the operative carries out a not so glitz and glam litter pick, covering the marina and docks, Milford Waterfront, Nelson Steps, Cedar Court and the Retail Park. With the actual water being just as important, the operative motors out on our small rib checking the cleanliness of the water and disposing of anything that’s not meant to be within the marina...
There’s no time to spare at Milford Marina as the operative heads off along with a body camera for a security patrol, with one patrol taken at least every 3 hours during a shift. Here at Milford Marina we understand the importance and take the security and safety of your vessel very seriously, to put your mind at ease we operate 24/7 so we can keep a watchful eye on your boat. With over 300 berths at the marina, the operative will check the fenders and lines of the moored vessels. The patrols are not just for the pontoons, as the operative also patrols the boatyard, the dock estate, Haven’s Head Retail park, Cedar Court and Nelson Quay to name a few!
Access to electricity and water is available on the pontoons and within our boatyard, so whilst on a patrol, the operative will take electricity meter readings from all our berth holders (excluding boats on the daily rate). These meter readings can be taken up to 6 times per year.
You’ll often see our operatives on the pontoons, from meeting visiting boats to assisting with their lines to carrying out patrols and safety checks including pontoon inspections. Pontoon inspections are a fundamental duty for each Marina Operative to complete, with inspections and safety checks being carried out every 2 hours, they ensure each pontoon and finger meets its requirements.
With so many tasks to complete each day, for organisation our operatives use checklists to carry out a variety of daily checks ensuring operations run as smooth and as safe as possible. These checks include vehicle and plant checks (especially before hoist or forklift work), pontoon checks, physical checklists and boatyard checks (including cradles and chocks).
The mist has now cleared as forecasted, there’s blue skies all around but the day is far from over yet. With a tight schedule to follow, the operatives prepare for their first boat lift of the day. Milford Marina offers a variety of boat hoist services, from a lift and hold to a lift onto transport, the marina has got you covered.
The first boat lift scheduled is a motor-cruiser to be lifted in, after having its repairs done in our on-site boatyard the vessel is finally ready to make the most of the good weather and enjoy some summer sailing before the season ends. With 22 miles of sheltered waters to explore, the Milford Haven Waterway offers plenty of fishing, coastal sailing and water sports opportunities giving you the perfect Pembrokeshire day out.
With plenty of experience and patience, our operatives have no issues with the first lift and the motorboat heads off to its mooring. There are another three lifts to complete today but our operatives are no strangers to hoist operations and the next two lifts are completed swiftly and smoothly. After chocking a motorboat in the boatyard, the operatives find themselves ahead of schedule for their next and final lift of the day.
The boat hoist waits patiently on the slipway for the next vessel and the owner of the vessel has made contact that they’re ready for the lift out. The 12m sailing yacht slowly approaches the boat hoist and in no time the boat is secured within the straps of the hoist with ease, the owner follows the hoist as his yacht is transported into the boatyard where it will be going into one of our cradles available to hire. Over the next weeks the owner will organise for the vessel to be anti-fouled and carry out any other little maintenance jobs before the winter arrives.
With boat lifts normally running past lunchtime, once complete the Marina Operative replenishes all our hand sanitising stations to ensure there is always an adequate supply. Following Government guidelines, Milford Marina have adapted and implemented COVID-19 measures to make visits as safe as possible.
The Marina Office never stays quiet for long, at Reception, our operatives can provide a variety of gas bottles and laundry tokens for our laundry facilities. Throughout the day there’s plenty of customers stopping by reception, or ringing with enquiries or to make payments, either way the team strive to assist as much as they can. There is an enquiry for a visitor berth needed for the next 6 days for a 9m vessel, there is a berth available and the operative lets the boat owner know of the locking procedure. With summer being our busiest season, we always suggest calling on the day to check availability and avoid disappointment.
The visiting vessel contacts Pierhead on VHF Ch.14 when they’re nearby to request entry and a berth allocation. Once locked in, the vessel is moored safely onto their allocated berth and when settled, the visitors make their way to the Marina Office to register. The visitors are exhausted after a tiresome sail as they explain they will take a well-deserved break here whilst they wait for some strong winds to pass. With plenty of things to do off the pontoon, Milford Marina is the perfect place to relax and take 5.
When signing in, the visitor presents their Passeport Escales card which allows for them to redeem 2 free nights at Milford Marina. The operative then inputs the details from their visitors form onto our system, this is protocol for all visitors. All 12 month Milford Marina berth holders are eligible for this scheme, allowing you to have 5 free nights at over 150 marinas across the UK and Europe.
It’s been a busy day for diesel and petrol fuelling our berth holders in between patrols and inspections. The operative has fuelled berth holders that have popped out for a sail, visitors that are departing, our regular fishing vessels and a vast amount of diesel cans. As fuelling is not permitted during our ‘freeflow’ period, vessels must pre-book an agreed time with the Marina Office and payment must be made immediately after fuel is taken.
The fun doesn’t stop yet, not just for leisure users Milford Marina shares its waters with Milford Fish Docks, with a variety of trawlers and all sorts of commercial vessels arriving and departing frequently. Our operatives can have plenty of jobs to complete at Milford Fish Docks, some jobs can even take most of the day to finish including loading lorries, putting out gear, arranging water and much more. A trawler is set to arrive on ‘freeflow’ later and has requested for their fish boxes to be put out prior to arrival, this is a forklift job for the operative but due to training and much practice 1,100 boxes are ready in no time for the fishing trawler.
As the day shift comes to an end, there’s no rest for the wicked as there’s still a few maintenance jobs to complete around the marina and facilities. The night shift operative appears just before his shift begins to take part in the same handover which occurred 12 hours ago. Once complete, the day shift operative can head home for a good night’s sleep whilst the night shift operative carries out his tasks.
Although, this is just a small insight into how hard our marina operatives work, no two days are ever the same at Milford Marina and that is exactly what each Marina Operative loves about working here, you never know what may happen and you must always be on standby for anything!
Prioritising safety, security and enjoyment, Milford Marina is an ideal base for those seeking a friendly and vibrant atmosphere, perfect for just an overnight stay or something longer. For more information on berthing, please use our easy Quote Calculator to receive a no obligation quote instantly. Alternatively, give us a call on 01646 696312 for more information.