The Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (KEIFCA) placed a contract for a 17-meter GRP Blyth Workcat for use when monitoring fishing activities around the Kent and Essex coasts. The new boat is being built to meet the exact requirements of KEIFCA which has specified a durable craft capable of operating in extreme offshore conditions while undertaking a wide range of tasks relating to the monitoring of fish stocks and the supervision of fishing activities. It will be used for patrolling an area of over 3,412 sq km extending from the east end of Rye Bay in Kent to the northern boundary of Essex on the River Stour.
The new boat will have a fine entry hull form and be fitted with two MAN V8- 900hp engines which will give it interception speeds of 25 knots even in sea conditions that other craft would find difficult. Double bulwark side doors on each side of the boat will permit the easy boarding of other craft when the need arises. In addition, a hydraulically operated launching platform in the stern will enable the boat’s high speed RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) to be launched and recovered quickly and safely. This combination of craft will consequently give the KEIFCA boat crew access to all waters in its operating area whether 12 miles offshore or while patrolling the mud flats and cockle beds of the Thames Estuary.
The vessel is being built to comply with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Category 2 Code of Practice for the Safety of Small Workboats and Pilot Boats. This certifies it for carrying 12 persons plus two crew during operations in any weather up to 60 miles from a safe haven. Comfortable sleeping accommodation will be provided for up to six people and a fully equipped galley will ensure that the boat can remain at sea for extended periods if required.
The new Blyth Workcat patrol boat will be employed in monitoring the wide range of commercial and recreational fishing activities within the region. These include trawling, pair trawling, drift/fixed netting, potting, scallop and oyster dredging and cockle dredging. Trawlers and netters in the region land a variety of fish including soles, plaice, dab, bass, cod, herring, sprat and thornback rays. Other vessels within the district also land scallops, oysters, whelks, lobster and, to a lesser extent, mussels and crab. Sea angling is also an important recreation in the area as it supports considerable commercial activity in the region’s ports. The new patrol boat will be used during studies aimed at assisting and encouraging the development of this activity.
With a beam of 6.53 meters the new patrol boat will provide spacious fore and aft decks and will be equipped with and a net and pot hauler that will be used for monitoring fish stocks. A hydraulic A-frame will be a key feature of the aft deck and will be used by the KEIFCA crew for a variety of tasks including the monitoring of shellfish and seabed conditions.
The new KEIFCA patrol boat is being built at the Blyth Workcats yard on Canvey Island, Essex and delivery is scheduled for Spring 2015 The company has been building GRP catamaran workboats at this yard for over 30 years and now has a range of craft in sizes up to 20-meters. These are suitable for a wide range of applications that demand reliability and durability combined with good sea keeping and economy. In addition to patrol boats, Blyth Workcats are used for a variety of purposes including offshore survey, passenger transport, wind farm support, charter diving and angling, commercial fishing, aquaculture, fish farm operations and general port construction and engineering support tasks.