On a bright, but fresh, Wednesday morning, 33 marina professionals gathered at Medway Bridge Marina to kick off this year’s Marina Tour. We were given a very interesting talk from Giles Billingsley, Medway Bridge Marina’s owner/manager, on the plans for the marina and then had a tour of the site.
We then took some time to view HMS Ocelot at Chatham’s Historic Dockyard. This submarine was launched in 1962 and was one of 57 submarines built at Chatham and she served during the Cold War. It was a fascinating insight into life onboard with the smell of diesel still lingering. We followed this with a visit to the Victorian Ropery where the ancient craft of rope making still takes place daily using traditional techniques.
Following lunch at the Medway Yacht Club we visited MDL’s Chatham Marina on the river Medway offering 412 berths and boatyard facilities. In the marina basin we were given a demonstration of P&D Marine Group Waste Rover, a remotely controlled waste robot designed to collect floating debris and oil. Great fun was had by many as delegates operated the Waste Robot and collected tennis balls from a section of the marina! We were given a very informative tour of this well-kept marina by Emma and her team.
We were then in need of some light refreshments which was supplied at Shepherd Neame brewery, Britain’s oldest brewery based in the centre of the historic town of Faversham. We were given a guided tour of the brewery (founded in 1698) which included the history of beer making, types of beer and the associated ingredients and an impressive display of historic delivery vehicles. This was followed by a beer tasting given by an expert brewer.
The next day, following a lovely networking dinner at the Crescent Turner Hotel, we headed down to Royal Ramsgate Marina. Robert Brown, the marina manager and harbour master provided a interesting tour of the harbour and gave us a fascinating insight into the history of the 700 berth marina which is set in the town of Ramsgate. Rob then joined us for a tour of the Ramsgate Tunnels, a series of subterranean tunnels used to shelter 60,000 local residents from bombing raids during WW11.
Following lunch and a walk back through the marina, we headed up to Swale marina, an idyllic setting at the head of Conyer Creek. Coffee and cake were on offer followed by a tour of the facility given by Simon and Anne, owners of this lovely marina.
Thanks to all the marinas who contributed to making this a fascinating and successful networking tour.