Falmouth Harbour (FH) has awarded Holyhead Marine the £1.6 million contract to build a new pilot vessel.

It follows a competitive tender process of top boat builders around the UK, with a remit to make full use of modern advances in fuel-saving technology, safety and crew welfare and to have the new, 16–18m dedicated coded pilot vessel operational in 2024.

“Our pilot boat crews work 24/7 365 days a year, in all weathers, to keep our harbour open and safe to shipping and they deserve the best equipment we can buy,” said Falmouth Harbour CEO Miles Carden.

“This new pilot vessel, built in the UK by Holyhead, will be an incredible asset for the next 20-30 years.

“It will be state of the art and one of the few Tier 3 compliant pilot vessels operating in the country – with features which help Falmouth Harbour Commissioners meet their sustainability targets.

“This is a very proud moment for our whole team who have worked incredibly hard to reach this point. In 18 months’ time the new vessel will arrive and this will be one of the biggest events for the harbour for a decade and one of the largest private investments for a considerable period.”

Falmouth Harbour’s two current all-weather coded pilot boats operated by the Pilot Service are Arrow, a 16.7m Halmatic built modern pilot vessel built in 2006 and the LK Mitchell, a 17.5m Nelson 56 pilot vessel built in 1978 which the new craft will replace. A two-boat operation, with the vessels operated in rotation, is essential to ensure complete coverage of the area and allow for vessel downtime and maintenance.