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Income at Lymington Harbour down by a third despite busy sailing season

The harbour master said given the vaccination programme, he was optimistic about the facility's future
The harbour master said given the vaccination programme, he was optimistic about the facility's future

DESPITE a busy season between lockdowns, Lymington Harbour Commissioners reported one of its key revenue streams was down by nearly a third this summer.

The not-for-profit harbour authority, which operates berths and facilities at Town Quay, the Harbour Master Pontoon and Dan Bran Pontoon, also has responsibility for maintaining safety in the river.

Describing the impact of the reduced revenue as “significant”, harbour master Ryan Willegers said the authority had work hard to mitigate losses by reducing costs and taking advance of the government’s furlough scheme and business rates rebates.

He continued: “There are a number of costs we simply cannot get away from – such as dredging, and maintaining the navigation aids in the river and maintaining our moorings.”

But hopes of a national vaccination programme have lead the authority to feel “cautiously optimistic” about the future.

“Many more people holidayed in the UK this year and I think that trend will continue which is certainly good news for us,” added Mr Willegers.

The short and long-term visitor berths, which are let out and managed by the commissioners, represent a substantial proportion of its income, generating a combined £230,000 in the last financial year.

The recent 32.6% reduction in visitor revenue was primarily down to the first national lockdown between April and July when facilities were closed to visiting sailors, Mr Willegers explained.

Financial reports reveal that income generated from visitor berths was down 82% in May and 61% in June. The authority was also unable to let out berths overnight before the easing of the first lockdown restrictions on 4th July, which compounded losses.

The number of visitor berths available for short term let was also reduced this year after the authority switched a proportion to longer term seasonal lets shortly before the first lockdown in a bid to mitigate losses.

Mr Willegers said: “When we did reopen fully in July we also limited bookings initially whilst we tried to get a handle on the number of visitors we could accommodate with safe social distancing in place.”

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