Dredging used to be a full time job in Whitby harbour. Sea sand is brought in on every tide, with a smaller volume of silt washed down by the River Esk.
Whitby used to have its very own dredger, with an excavator on one end, digging out the sand bars and keeping the harbour at the required depth. The spoil was put into a barge and taken out to sea to be dumped. By keeping up a full programme of dredging, all year round, the harbour was always suitable for all craft.
When our dredger died in May this year, all dredging stopped. That was 6 months ago and Whitby is still waiting for Scarborough Borough Council to make ‘alternative arrangements’. They are the Strategic Harbour Authority and responsible for all aspects of managing Whitby harbour.
Last week everyone around the harbour watched in amazement as a local coble had to be towed off a brand new sand bar in the middle of what used to be the main channel!
An official ‘Notice to Mariners’ has been issued on the web by Scarborough Borough Council pointing out that Whitby harbour is no longer as deep as mariners might expect. There is no indication of when normal service might be resumed…