Behind the scenes at Chichester Harbour Conservancy
Chichester Harbour Conservancy is responsible for the smooth running of Chichester Harbour, and aim to conserve, maintain and improve the area for recreation, leisure, nature conservation and natural beauty.
Mike Hayes, Lead Technician, is part of the Conservancy’s Maintenance Team, working to look after the infrastructure of the Harbour. He joined the Conservancy in 2014 as a Seasonal Patrol Officer for the summer period, following his work as a Fisheries Officer in Kent. After a successful first season Mike stayed on at the Conservancy first as a Harbour Technician, and now works as Lead Technician, helping preserve the ongoing safety of the Harbour.
Day to day Mike is responsible for ongoing maintenance and navigation in the Harbour – looking after all of the infrastructure from the upkeep of the moorings and jettys to the hards and quays. The moorings are on a four year rolling service programme which is worked through during the winter months to ensure they remain fit for purpose. During these winter months it is common to see the team on the Regnumbarge – usually during all weathers!
The summer period brings with it the opportunity for Mike to be out on patrol and on call, acting as Duty Harbour Master when required. These busy months see Mike enforcing byelaws, helping sailors in difficulty, undertaking navigational maintenance as required and ensuring the safe and smooth running of the Harbour so all visitors can enjoy the area.
Mike explains “The Conservancy is an amazing place to work, and I love the variety of what each day brings. The whole area is a lovely community of people – when my wife and I married in Bosham Church we travelled back to Itchenor by water and, as a surprise, the Conservancy boats lined up to escort us across. It is a very special memory.”
Chichester Harbour is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and can be explored on foot or by bike via the Salterns Way Cycle Route. It is of national and international importance for landscape and nature conservation and is a special place for wildlife. A wide variety of animals and creatures live in and around the Harbour - some are very easy to spot, whereas others may be hidden in the intertidal mud or in the water, making them less obvious. During a visit here, you are bound to see something special. Chichester Harbour Conservancy offers visitors the chance to enjoy the Harbour from the water aboard a solar-powered catamaran - Solar Heritage or their oyster boat Terror. The Harbour boasts some of the loveliest villages in the area. These are great places to explore, full of charm and history. Chichester Harbour offers so many opportunities to get out and enjoy the countryside or the beach, explore the region's history, get up close to wildlife or enjoy a tranquil sail across the water.
Find out more: https://www.conservancy.co.uk