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News - 20/04/14

Spotlight on Kingston Marine Services

Kingston Marine Services is at the heart of Cowes Harbour Commission’s port operations. For many years the team have provided mooring solutions, buoy deployment and management, towage and salvage in the Medina and close environs.

In recent years we have diversified our operations with the purchase of a larger Multi-cat vessel, developing bed levelling and moorings systems and seeking work further afield. Central to developing our services and firm relationships with all our customers has been quality of service and the development of standards of best practice which we believe allow us to provide some of the best solutions available on the Solent.

Our current commercial portfolio includes bed levelling contracts at the UKSA, Cowes Yacht Haven, East Cowes Marina and Island Harbour. Mooring solutions for yacht clubs across the Solent including Bembridge and Seaview, the familiar SCRA yellow special marks all over the Solent, and pillar buoys for the New Forest National Parks ‘Underwater Trail’ of local wrecks from the Needles eastwards.

As part of Cowes Harbour Commission and working with respected local businesses on and under the water, Kingston Marine Services is here to provide the best for customers old and new.

This month our scribe has been chatting to the KMS team…..

KMS is all about both people and equipment. KMS also has its own onsite workshop and storage facility at East Cowes and a variety of craft.

KMS also hold an extensive stock of chain, buoys, welding equipment, generators, pumps and much more to ensure that most tasks can be tackled with ease.

The team runs on experience, which these guys have aplenty:

Darren Gough is the Team Leader, having joined KMS after serving in the Army and working for Souters shipyard. “The KMS team are responsible for delivering all of the Harbour Commissions maintenance requirements. Being based in Cowes and at the centre of the Solent we are readily available to external customers be it another harbour authority, marine contractor, yacht club or private individual, we have the equipment and people to help. The KMS team are regularly called upon to assist with marine incidents within the Solent, which makes for a varied job description.”

Visitors and berth holders in Cowes also benefit from the maintenance and upgrades carried out by the KMS team. “Cowes Harbour Commission is investing all the time. We are gradually upgrading pile moorings to pontoons, laying new ground chains, and bed levelling, while taking on commercial contracts, including repairs to Red Funnel’s link-span, and salvage work. I’m also lucky to have a professional and well-qualified team, who can turn their hand to anything from welding to Cowes Week safety patrols,” said Team Leader Darren.

The KMS team includes Justin Sowerby and Shaun Turner who have worked on the river in various guises since leaving school. Justin started out with a summer job on Solent and Wightline Cruises and graduated to become one of the youngest skippers to be awarded a Boatmaster license; he also spent time at the UKSA before coming to Cowes Harbour Commission in 2000. “There is nothing predictable about the sea. Working on the water is always a challenge, but my job with the Harbour Commission KMS team is really rewarding,” said Justin.

Shaun Turner has been with KMS for five years, having gained invaluable experience working on the Vestas Blade Runner wind turbine transport barge.

“I love the sea, and the variety of work at KMS. At present we’re completing the refurbishment of the Solent racing marks, and next month we will be reinstating the main harbour moorings,” said Shaun.

Projects for the KMS team during 2012, include new Superyacht moorings, a possible new small craft channel, seasonal event moorings, bed levelling contracts, and the proposed major upgrade of facilities at Town Quay.

The sea is a pretty unforgiving working environment; steel corrodes, mooring strops chafe, and the wind and waves batter away at pontoons and even move the seabed. Keeping Cowes Harbour fully functional and able to welcome leisure sailors, Superyachts, UKSA sailing students and commercial vessels, from the Red Jet to fuel barges is a full time job.

The KMS Harbour Commission team work 12 months of the year to keep Cowes harbour fit-for-purpose. With a visit from HM The Queen due this June, efforts will be redoubled to make the harbour look its best, and that everything from safety barriers to red carpet is on standby.