Can you believe that it’s been 30 years this year since our first leisure boat took up its residence at Milford Marina. The official opening began with the spectacular Cutty Sark Tall Ships Race which took place in July 1991 and made the Milford Haven Waterway the starting point for 90 sailing ships, this helped create the catalyst in transformation from a working dock into a bustling and vibrant marina we know and love today!
In this blog we speak to the one and only Mr David Barrett, or ‘Davey’ as many of you know him by. Davey has been working at Milford Marina for nearly 19 years and is widely known not just to our berth holders but to the locals of Milford Haven itself. We get to know a little bit more about this popular Marina Operative as we speak to him about his interesting family history and what it’s been like to watch the marina develop over the years…
Growing up in Milford Haven, what ties do you have to Milford Fish Docks?
After leaving school my father was employed down here to help maintain trawlers and ships and he carried on working on for 40 years around the docks. With my father often working and visiting the site, as a child we'd always come down on the weekends and help him out with bits and pieces and if we were lucky, we were able to get on the trawler in the lock and have a trip from the lock gates over to the docks. Other members of my family were past trawler skippers and my great-great grandfather was actually one of the pioneer fishermen for the Port.
With your fascinating heritage, how does it feel to be the 6th generation Barrett to work in a maritime career?
I think it’s nice to keep the ties with the docks going, having worked between both the Dry Dock and the marina for a total of 25 years. Although the Barrett name carries a lot of history it’s not just my father’s side that has a nautical past, my grandad on my mother’s side of the family arrived over here in Milford as a fisherman from the west coast of Ireland in Castletownbere and he actually ended up meeting my nan who was working in the braiding room making the fishing nets!
When did you first start working at Milford Marina?
I started working at the marina back in October 2002.
Milford Marina has definitely gone from strength to strength over the past 30 years, what was it like to watch the marina evolve over your years of working here?
The best part is seeing how the marina has expanded and how busy we have gotten. From seeing the exciting installations of additional pontoons and new lock gates, to how Milford Waterfront has developed into a bustling destination, in all the years of working here it’s the first time we’ve seen our waiting list this long.
Trained as a lockmaster (Pierhead), what advice would you give to sailors using the lock gates?
I would recommend having your fenders and warps on both sides, to keep the VHF radio on Channel 14 and listen out for any instructions from Pierhead throughout the lock process.
As a berth holder at Milford Marina, where is your favourite place to stop-off at on the boat?
I enjoy a trip down to Dale, where I can then tie up on the pontoon and have a beverage at Coco’s Brasserie at Dale Yacht Club. Having a motorboat, it’s great to take a trip up the river to Haverfordwest and pop into The Bristol Trader when the tides are suitable.
Do you have a particular memory that sticks out to you whilst working at Milford Marina over the years?
Nothing really particularly stands out to me but having worked at the marina for so long there’s definitely been a lot of memorable occasions to say the least!
Having worked at Milford Marina for nearly 19 years you’re no stranger to the boating community, but what’s something that people may not know about you?
I have been a member of Angle Lifeboat for 8 years now and I am currently a deputy launching authority. I am also a member of the Milford Haven Round Table and help with the organising and running of their popular events such as Milford Carnival, the Fireworks Display and Milford Haven Beer Festival.
Don’t forget our limited-edition 30th anniversary burgee flags are now available to collect at the Marina Reception for all berth holders. Please be sure to tag Milford Marina or use the hashtag #MilfordMarina30 if you've taken a photo of your flag in action, so we can share your photo. We can’t wait to see you all flying the flag for Milford Marina!