A port that has lost its coastal shipping business to go over to marina operation and property development is Whitby.
I have fond memories of waiting by the Whitby town swing bridge as a timber or animal feed freighter passed through, to the appreciation of the hundreds of people holidaying at the historic resort town. There is no room now for such hard handed shipping operation, so it remains for the Esk Shipyard of Parkol Marine to bring working ship activity to the Whitby Esk.
I witnessed there recently, serious work afoot on several modern trawlers and at high tide, the Grimsby registered Jubilee Spirit underwent trials having been fi tted at Parkol with a new engine. A new trawler for Fraserburgh owners was taking shape under cover.
A handy yet shapely little salmon farm freighter Havilah of Whalsay, Shetland, had recently been back to the yard where she was built in 2015 to have her hatch coamings raised to increase her capacity. A diminutive bulbous bow - even on replica American tug boats - seems to be a characteristic of this innovative bustling enterprise.
In the yard’s floating dry dock, I watched the American style tug yacht Able-One of Whitby being spruced up prior to being fitted with a swimming platform. She will then be going into the charter yacht business. The US ex army tug from which her lines were partly taken is still afloat adjoining the yard pending its owner’s decision on its future.
Whitby harbour has the largest collection of ex RNLI lifeboats I have yet seen. I counted 4 besides the current one and all seem to be active, not least the Mary Anne Hepworth now running harbour and upriver trips. She had served the RNLI locally from ’38 to ’74 being launched to do her duty 372 times and saving 201 lives.