Keeping Exeter’s waterways free of obstructions
Published: 4 January 2022
Vital work to keep Exeter’s waterways free of obstructions was carried out over the Christmas period.
Staff from Exeter City Council’s Waterways team were on hand to raise a sunken fishing boat in the Exeter Ship Canal during the week before Christmas.
The Strathspey, a long-term restoration project moored at the South West Water’s sludge berth site on the Canal, started to sink after taking in water through the deck and exposed planking.
The whole of the Council’s Waterways team were involved in the rescue and raising the boat. Three huge pumps were hired in to clear the hold of water and various machinery was used to help push the boat upright and re-moor the hull against the berth.
The work took three days to complete. The owner came to the site and the Council is working closely with him to make a plan to ensure the boat stays afloat in future.
The Council’s harbour patrollers monitor the Exe Estuary and the Canal for wrecks to improve navigation and prevent environmental damage. The wrecks represent a danger to users of the waterway and wildlife.
Over recent times the team has discovered more than 25 abandoned boats on the Exe, in varying forms of decay.
The team does everything possible to locate the owners of these wrecks so that they can be lifted out of the Exe and disposed of responsibly.
However it is not always possible to locate the owners and the Council often has to take matters into its own hands, as wrecked vessels can be a hazard to other boats using the Exe. If left to decay, they can break up, leaching oil and petrol into the water, which can be fatal to wildlife.
Over the Christmas period the team also saw to three yachts that had broken free of their moorings in the river during the recent gales. One has been recovered by the owner and two are still high and dry on the east side of the shore. The team will be attempting to recover the most difficult one on Wednesday (5 January).