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Wrecks cleared from Exe estuary to improve safety

Published: 27 February 2020

The wreck before it was removed from the Exe

A number of shipwrecks are being cleared from the Exe Estuary to improve navigation and prevent environmental damage.

Exeter City Council’s harbour patrollers have started clearing the wrecks as they represent a danger to users of the waterway and wildlife. Last year the City Council became the port authority for the Exe estuary and is responsible for ensuring it remains safe for all its users.

The team has discovered 25 abandoned boats on the Exe, in varying forms of decay.

The latest vessel to be removed was an old wooden yacht on the west shore of the estuary. The boat had been moving around for a number of years and the recent storms had moved it closer to the harbour wall at Cockwood harbour.

Cllr David Harvey, Lead Councillor for City Management and Environment, said the estuary needed to be clear of hazards so that everyone could use the water safely: “We do 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 we have to take the matter into our own hands. Wrecked vessels can be a hazard to other boats using the Exe and if left to decay can break up, leaking oil and petrol into the water, which can be fatal to wildlife.”

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