Club Newsletters

A powerboat rally to the River Yealm is scheduled for Saturday the 15th June, for boats that can maintain a speed of about 18 knots.   We aim to meet at the Normandy Pontoon in Salcombe at about 10am. Anyone interested should contact Ian Slade via email, or mobile 07789 727253 providing the type of boat and colour, intended crew details and contact phone number. Ian will provide full details nearer the time and the rally is of course subject to suitable weather.  I need to reiterate that participation in this and similar events is strictly at the boat owner’s risk so please check that your insurance cover is adequate.  KEBC takes no responsibility. This event follows the success of the cruise to Dartmouth last year.

The presentation of Mike Atfield’s filmed biography on May 15th made the last member’s event a very congenial evening.  The film was introduced by its maker, Philip Williams, and Mike, with help from his wife Jean, answered questions afterwards.  Several signed copies of his book ‘My Life and Boats’ were purchased by members.  The book should be available through the Harbour Bookshop or Salcombe Information Centre.

Subsequent to the Harbour Board Chair’s meeting with us KEBC has re-negotiated its Insurance and we are now insured through Sabre Insurance of Kingsbridge at a significant saving.  The timing of the renewal was tight and fell at the end of half term week meaning that significant people were on holiday.  Consequently we have paid the premium for Boatwatch volunteer protection but conversations with SHA on the subject will continue.

We contiue to look for a convenient space, accessible from both land and water, to hold a club barbecue in July.  The tides make either the first or third weeks sensible and I suspect that the first week will be less crowded.  If any members have, or know of, a suitable spot please let me know; otherwise I suspect either Bowcombe or Britton’s Field will be the venue.

We will  be at the Kingsbridge Show on September 7th.  There will be a call for volunteers to help man the stand; if you are available please contact Ben Harris who will be pleased to hear from you.

From October 5th onwards there will be an RNLI fund raising Field of Light in the fields opposite Salcombe town.  It has been sugggested that we organise a boat trip, probably around October 20th to view the lights from the water. More information is available on

Have a warm, safe, and sunny summer.

Tony Watson

Please read this letter in its entirety

Summary of the meeting of the Chairman of Salcombe Harbour Authority, Cllr. Mark Long,  with the Committee of Kingsbridge Estuary Boat Club on May 8th 2024
The meeting commenced at 7pm, KEBC Chair Tony Watson welcomed Mark to the Regal meeting room and the committee members introduced themselves.

Mark had been given a summary of the items which the committee had asked to be discussed and these were dealt with, starting with the request that SHDC/SHA consider helping KEBC with the costs of insuring Boatwatch volunteers and providing high vis clothing during their patrols.  Mark reported that the authorities were broadly in agreement with this and would contribute either by reimbursing the Club’s costs or bringing Boatwatch within the Harbour’s liability insurance.  Chair Tony Watson to meet the SHA Harbourmaster to discuss the best way forward.

The need for dinghy racks to be provided at the head of the Kingsbridge Slipway, similar to the New Bridge racks, is agreed by the Authorities and it is hoped that the work could be started during the winter of 2024/25.  The installation of the skateboard park had prevented work this winter.  It was remarked that some boatowners that had small boats on the Kingsbridge pontoons might want to move their boats from  the pontoons to the racks. This to be discussed along with the design of racks when the KEBC Chair and Harbourmaster meet.

Kingsbridge pontoon spaces: there are berths that are not fully used and remain empty for long periods of the year.  SHA is aware of the problem and is looking at ways to deal with the matter.  A scheme to make it financially attractive for boat owners to make their moorings available to SHA will be investigated.

It is known that some owners when selling their boats allow the new owners to continue using the Pontoon space.  The rule is that when a boat is sold, the mooring is surrendered to SHA and is allocated to the next suitable applicant on the waiting list.  Ways of checking that boat ownership has not changed when the annual renewal of spaces takes place, including the checking of insurance documents, were discussed.  Any members aware of the rules being broken are urged to report the matter to SHA.  It cannot be guaranteed that anonymity will be maintained, if requested, especially if the matter results in legal action.

Ways of increasing the number of pontoon spaces in Kingsbridge basin are under investigation by SHA.  The removal of moorings previously owned by Rivermaid Boatyard has resulted in some commercial spaces being available.  There have been no serious applications from businesses wanting to take the spaces over.  All aspects of providing new spaces are being looked at.  KEBC will be consulted on any new scheme under discussion; the earliest time that any work could take place would be the spring of 2025 for a 2026 roll out, 2026 is also when the next dredge of the basin is planned.  Ferry access to Kingsbridge is also under discussion with the possibility of providing a pontoon landing as the Lady Mary is much smaller than the Rivermaid.

Security in the basin with CCTV cameras ashore and additional patrols by SHA, with an extra boatman being employed, is to be improved.  Patrol times are being adjusted to be more in tune with tide times than at present; SHA is working more with the police as Kingsbridge Police station becomes more active and it is hoped that Police officers will sometimes accompany SHA boatmen on patrol.

Speeding boats are not only a danger to other water users but have a negative effect on the environment as do boats that anchor in sensitive areas;  the SHA and the Environment Agency are looking at dwarf sea grass beds especially where there are gouges across them from badly navigated boats.  Buoys might be located around these beds.  In addition to environmental concerns there are often cases of boats being overloaded and driven unsafely.  SHA to run safety awareness campaigns.

The Harbour Byelaws and Harbour Regulation Orders are being updated to deal with all misdemeanours.  This could include signage on landings and slipways encouraging safe boating.

Water Quality is under review with SW Water and the Environment Agency involved. This will involve looking at the type of monitoring that takes place, expanding where identified and working with interested parties but the Kingsbridge/Salcombe Estuary (Ria) with its salt content is not so easy and requires some different monitoring from those estuaries that have larger river catchment areas.

This meeting finished around 8pm and SHA Chair Cllr. Mark Long was thanked for his very full and informative contribution by KEBC Committee members.

Subsequent to this meeting I have been in conversation with the Harbourmaster and the SHDC Officer in charge of insurances about how to transfer the cover for Boatwatch volunteers to the Harbour Authority.  As the KEBC insurance renewal date is June 2nd 2024  I am treating this item as my priority.

A very promising start has been made on all fronts with this meeting and I will keep you informed.

Tony Watson

Latest news about the pollution in Kingsbridge and other matters.

Ref. the recent sewage pollution into the Kingsbridge Basin; the following has been received from South Devon Coast and Landscapes (previously S.Devon AONB).  We are also awaiting replies on the subject from the Enviroment Agency and the South Hams Environment Health Dept. via Salcombe Harbour Authority.

“ Currently South West Water (SWW) have reduced combined sewerage capacity along the quay in Kingsbridge due to excess freshwater inputs from an unknown source. We have been working with SWW in our regulatory capacity to ensure they minimise pollution risk from CSO spills to the estuary, as well as to understand the potential flood risk from the reduced capacity for surface and tidal flood water drainage and the likelihood of increased sewer flooding.
The Environment Agency understands that the most urgent issue in Kingsbridge is to resolve the frequent flooding from combined sewers.  Sewer flooding is the responsibility of the sewage undertaker which in this case is South West Water (SWW). We have been working in partnership with SWW and Devon County Council to fully understand the contribution of all sources of flooding and appraise possible solutions. We appreciate that the repeated flooding of highways, businesses and amenity areas with foul or combined sewage is significantly impacting local people and needs to be resolved.

While I appreciate this isn’t about the bathing waters per se, you might find this useful: Bathing water classifications and short-term pollution – Creating a better place ( 

So, for the moment, all we can say is that it is probably advisable to treat water and mud in Kingsbridge as potential health hazards.

At our last members’ evening on March 20th. we were addressed by Richard Povall, acting station manager of Prawle Point NCI.  His 45 minute account of the history of Coastguard activites since their inception to deter smuggling up to the present day when safety at sea is their main activity was very informative and entertaining.  Many questions and comments were made by the members present both during the address and afterwards.  It was a very successful evening.

Our next event is on Wednesday April 17th when Tony Bale will talk about learning how to sail a cruising yacht by sailing an Atlantic circuit.

I am advised that the RNLI are having a Marine Jumble Sale on Kingsbridge Quay at the Farmers Market on Saturday April 20th.  All profits to the RNLI.  To donate your boat jumble email

Easter has arrived with gales as it often does when Easter falls in March.  Boatwatch patrols start next week, the calendar has been sent to leaders and the full calendar will shortly be posted on the web site.

Stay warm and safe.

Tony Watson

Thanks to all those members who attended the 2024 AGM, minutes of that meeting will follow soon but briefly all the present committee members and officers were re-elected. David Brimson was confirmed as Treasurer. A discussion about future subscription rates resulted in general acceptance that, should the need arise, an increase to £20 pa for a family membership would be acceptable but is not required at present.

In the immediate future we have a members’ evening on March 20th at the Regal when NCI Prawle Station Manager, Richard Povall, will talk about filling a niche in the search and rescue network. 7pm for 7.30 as usual. Details of the April and May meetings are in the calendar on the web site.

Good news recently received, which some of you will already have heard, is that the proposal to allow gill net fishing in the Estuary was put to the vote at an IFCA meeting in February and was soundly defeated. Not only on technical issues but also in response to public objections. Thanks to all of you that took the time to respond.

I hope to see many of you on the 20th.


In the meantime the following has been received from the Salcombe and Kingsbridge Estuary Conservation Forum and might be of interest to members.

Dear Estuary Forum members


South Devon Catchments Partnership meeting – this Wednesday (today) 6th March at 2pm – Hybrid meeting hosted from the Cary Room at Follaton House, Totnes TQ9 5NE – within the agenda (see attached) we will be covering the Dart Catchment Action Plan, monitoring form, and round table updates.

To find the Cary room, please enter Follaton House via the grand pillared ‘Civic Entrance’ – head across the ‘Old Reception’ lobby into the ‘Inner Hall’. Turn to your right and the Cary Room (G221 below) is now facing you.

To join the Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 885 5367 2794
Passcode: 575509

Living Dart: The Saltmarsh Project: Phase II – You are warmly invited to attend the upcoming ‘super saltmarsh’ event on the 25th at Totnes Cinema–the culmination of Living Dart: The Saltmarsh Project Phase 2 of this partnership project, and would very much appreciate you sharing the event details with friends and colleagues who may be interested. The team has learned so much over the past several months, there’s much to share, including the responses made by the local artists who joined us over the winter.

Here’s a synthesis of the event:
• Join Bioregional Learning Centre and partners for the official ‘unwrapping’ of Living Dart: The Saltmarsh Project.
• Totnes Cinema, Monday evening 25th March from 6.30-9.30pm. This free event is a screening, learning opportunity and live artists’ performance.
• Bar opens at 6.30pm for the purchase of drinks and snacks. Programme starts at 7pm.
• Meet the team, learn from experts, experience contributions from the project artists Beth Heaney, Christian de Sousa, Clare Parker & Jade Hayes, Emilio Mula and Ivan Grieve.
• The evening will end with a Q&A to discuss how we can get to know–and protect–this vital ecosystem and carbon store.
• The event is free but please register here [Eventbrite link] – seats are going fast!

More detailed project information, including next steps for restoration, will be going up on our [BioRegion] website once we have gathered it all together and summarized it in a useful way.
We would also like to invite you to view our great new animation made with funding from Naturesave.

Bathing Waters Consultation – [Four of the 27 proposed are within the Dart Estuary] the consultation is only open until the 10 March. Anyone can respond to the consultation online via Citizen Space: by email at or by post at:

Bathing Waters Team
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Ground Floor
Seacole Building
2 Marsham Street

Bathing Water Overall Classification 2023 – can be found on 2023 Statistics on English coastal and inland bathing waters: A summary of compliance with the 2013 bathing water regulations – GOV.UK (

Best wishes


The spring 2024 social programme has been added to the calendar on the KEBC web site and is as follows:

Wednesday 20th March ‘Filling a niche in the search and rescue network’ with Richard Povall, Station Manager, National Coastwatch Institution, Prawle Point.
Wednesday 17th April ‘Reflections on an Atlantic Circuit (Learning to cruise a sailing yacht)’ with Tony Bale.
Wednesday 15th May ‘Up Against It’ with retired Salcombe boatbuilder Mike Atfield. We will be showing a DVD on the reflections of a wooden boatbuilder. Mike will be present and hopes to have copies of his book available.

All events are held in the Regal Pub ground floor meeting room, including the AGM next Wednesday, at 7.30pm. Doors open at 7.

Please attend the AGM to make us quorate and legal


Tony Watson

Wine tasting, membership subs, Gill netting in the Estuary

The survey by IFCA  about the legalising of gill netting within the Kingsbridge/Salcombe Estuary ends on January 19th.  Any members wishing to make their views known should follow the advice given in the December 2023 newsletter which you will have received by email.  The newsletter is also available on under whats on/club newsletters.

On Wednesday January 17th, at the Regal Pub in Kingsbridge, Barrel and Still will be hosting a wine tasting evening.  7pm for 7.30 as usual, nibbles will be available and members will be treated to a tasting of a number of wines.  The event will cost £10 per person, payment to be made to Linda on the evening.  Please let our events coordinator, Linda Lee, know how many of you are coming so that we have an idea of numbers. This event was well attended last year and enjoyed by members.

Your 2023 membership expired on December 31st, 2023,  except for those that joined in the last quarter of the year.  Many members have renewed their £15 subscription for 2024, thank you. Those that have not yet done so have until January 31st 2024 to make their payments; if you fail to do so we will assume that you have resigned your membership.

Look forward to meeting many of you on January 17th.

Tony Watson.