Minutes of a meeting of Directors held on Thursday 9th April 2020


Because of the coronavirus, this meeting was held remotely over a number of days leading up to 9 April 2020, but the matters contained therein have been agreed in writing by all eleven Directors.



Alasdair Swan (Chair); Steven Anderson; John Band; Paddy Crerar; 

Barry Fisher; Paul Ingram; Kenny Maule; Robin Hamilton; Eric Robertson;  

John Sim; Yvonne Wemyss;



Quentin Dimmer 



1 Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 12th March 2020 were approved.


2 Matters Arising

  • 3T and 5 mph sign - Quentin has provided the details; the order will be placed once the lock-down has ended
  • “Beware Falling Rocks” notice will be ordered at the same time
  • Carioca – The owner is still trying to sell the boat, but with the lock-down no-one is able to come to view it
  • Cold Store drainage – the cost has been established at £2,000 which will be shared with the DFA. Authorisation was given to RH to proceed with this project when the lock-down ends.
  • Dredging/Toilets/enjoyleisure car park - no further money will be spent on these possible improvements until we know what our financial position is at the end of the coronavirus crisis.
  • Civic Week - has now been cancelled for 2020.






3 Election of the Officers:

Chair………………………..Alasdair Swan

Vice Chair…………..……Paul Ingram

Company Secretary….Alasdair Swan


There was a warm welcome to Paddy Crerar and John Sim who have both been appointed to the Board this month


4 Port Marine Safety Code

Incident Log Review

There were two major incidents to report in March.

  • Eddie Johnson’s boat Sea Salt had some knives stolen and mooring line cut – Callum Thomson had creels thrown into the harbor. The harbourmaster has reported  the matter to the police - Incident number 1889
  • At about 2am the Harbourmaster received a call from a person requiring assistance at the harbour – he was drunk, and the HM thought he needed the bridge to be put down. When the harbourmaster got to the harbour he discovered that the caller’s drunk friend had swum to a vessel in Victoria harbour complaining it was too cold to swim back to shore. The harbourmaster called 999  - the ILB was launched but the man swam back to shore at the same time. He was very drunk , interviewed by the coastguard team in attendance, and sent on his way with his friend responsible for looking after him.

The Board agreed that the first incident is illustrative as to why the CCTV project is so critical  if the commercial fleet (and leisure boats) are to be kept secure.

The Board reviewed the minor incident report and discussed the implications of –

  • Eddie Johnson’s Boat Sea Salt was found to be sunk at its  harbour berth. No-one is sure how this happened. There was a box of fishing gear that had been removed from boat and left on quayside which might indicate possible tampering.

There was a personal assault in the month in the vicinity, but being off Harbour Trust land, and unconnected with harbour activities, it has been left to the police to deal with this matter.

Risk Assessment Review

The meeting considered the possible impact of skipper error on:

  1. Collision with the quayside
  2. Grounding
  3. Collision with another vessel

It was agreed that the following controls would be added as appropriate –

  • Observing the 3 knots speed limit
  • Deploying anchors
  • Experienced skippers

Internal audit

With the current lock-down this will now need to take place off-line, using teleconference facilities where necessary. Yvonne has kindly taken over the role that was previously to have been discharged by Alison Fisher.

John Sim kindly offered to take on the SMS role of Crime Director


Visit of the Designated Person

Ron Bailey visited the harbour in March and has provided useful advice since his visit. The timing of the external audit will need to wait until the lock-down ends.





























5 Finance


March report

  1. The surplus of £4,450 in the month of March included the receipt of the first grant instalment for the Maggie project, amounting to £4,049. The costs associated with this claim have been accounted for in prior months.
  2. Landings were down in the month of March when the coronavirus forced everyone to stay indoors. However, with landings 2% up over the whole year, this still proved to be a record year for our fishing industry.
  3. Donations included £500 from Taylor Wimpey for the Harbour Festival Fund and £18 from Easy Fundraising.
  4. The cost of advertising for new directors amounted to £227.
  5. Credit control remains tight, but the Trust has agreed to extend credit terms to any harbour user who is suffering financial hardship during the coronavirus crisis provided that they approach the Trust before they default on their debt.
  6. The month end debtors reflects the 50% discount on 2020/21 mooring charges.
  7. The Harbour Trust is forecast to lose between £20,000 and £40,000 as a result of the crisis, with reducing mooring charge income and reduced landing fees. This figure will rise further if the crisis extends into the autumn.
  8. An application has been made for a £10,000 grant to offset some of this financial loss.
  9. Until the financial position is clarified all discretionary spend will be put on hold. The only harbour improvement projects which will incur spend are the Maggie project and the CCTV project as these are grant aided, plus any projects that may be funded by Marine Scotland.

The board ratified the decision to grant a 50% reduction in the mooring charges for 2020/21 because of the coronavirus crisis. The Sailing Club had proposed that 50% be payable, even if the season is lost completely, conscious of the need to keep the harbour running. This offer has been greatly appreciated by the Directors.

The fishermen will hopefully receive some grant aid from the Scottish Government, but they face real hardship while their income is cut off completely with the lock-down. Their route to market has also been closed off as a result of the crisis, bringing even more uncertainty into their lives. As a result, provided that they come to the Harbour Trust before defaulting on debts, the Directors agreed that the Trust will offer extended terms to any fisherman who needs it, with repayment terms being agreed once the crisis is over and boats are able to return to the water. It was acknowledged that many fishermen will wish to stay on top of their debts, paying in the normal way where they are able to do so.

Salary review – 2020/21

Salary increases for the harbour staff were approved

New Retailer

An application has been received from the ‘Soup Trailer’. The harbour is currently closed to traders. This application will be actioned once the harbour opens up again.




























6 Harbour Management Committee

Eric has written out to say that there will be no DHMC meetings for a while. During the crisis he has offered to be the point of contact for any matters of concern that harbour users may have.

The following are matters that would have been considered by the DHMC had the committee met.

Storage of potato boxes and creels

Eyemouth has a stricter approach to this subject. It is critical that the number of potato boxes does not increase any further. If they all have to be moved back onto harbour land they will interfere with the smooth running of the harbour.

Environmental complaint

There has been a complaint about a fridge freezer that was placed in the harbour skip. Abuse of this facility provides a threat to its on-going existence. Unfortunately, the problem cannot be solved until the lock-down ends.

Mooring chains:

Many Berth holders did come and check their riser chains  in early March on the advice of the harbourmaster.

The harbourmaster replaced two corroded shackles for the ground chains with a third one still to do in April. He carried out an inspection of visible chains visible by the wall in Victoria harbour. Some wall plates are starting to show more corrosion so they will have to be monitored.

Ian Combe and the Harbourmaster had planned to survey and photograph Broadhaven and Cromwell harbours within the next month. This  survey and inspection will now have to wait until the Covid 19 restrictions are lifted.

Micky is making three new wall plates to fix concerns from previous checks we have carried out. AG Thomson may be asked in due course to fit the plates for us.

An autumn survey of Victoria Harbour will focus on visible chain and condition of wall plates. We need to count how many are likely to be replaced, have them manufactured by Micky, and probably fitted in 2021.

The harbourmaster raised his concerns about the anchor chains with our nominated person for the PMSC. Dunbar Harbour has never carried out a full inspection of the ground chains. In theory we should have the entire chain to the surface for inspection either at low tide or by divers. Very specific criteria are used to assess the chain and then issue a chain inspection certificate. This should be carried out at a reasonable time period. E.g. risers on an annual basis , ground chains every three years.

The other recommended option would be to dig out ground chain every 3-5 metres and extrapolate from there the condition of the entire chain.

Given the practical considerations and large expense for us in Dunbar, Ron is content that, although not 100% ideal, we are doing what we can to verify the integrity of the chains. 

Harbour inspection:

The identified items will be progressed as soon as the lock-down is ended, including a repair to the electrical box and the repainting of the railings. Some of the lifebuoys also require attention.

Painting of railings and bollards:

East Lothian Criminal Justice Unit was thanked for its work painting the railings and bollards last year. It is planned that its work in that regard will continue this year, once social separation ends.
































7 Projects


The project is now on hold until the lock-down ends.

The project had fallen a little behind schedule while it was being re-shaped.

Harbour Bridge

The bridge has been slipping and not performing properly. The harbourmaster is continually checking this.

The harbourmaster has decided to keep the bridge up during the pandemic, but this is not good practice for the bridge itself. The harbourmaster will check the corner bearings to see that there is no movement in the top plate.

On 18th March MacScott Bond visited  to investigate reports of unequal speeds of North and South leaves . They did not see any difference compared with their previous visit.
There is no speed adjustment in the hydraulic system, so you have to rely on the operators to operate it correctly during all movements.

It was also noticed during MSB’s testing that some of the bolts holding the meshing steelwork to the bridge structure appeared to be coming loose. This needs to be checked.MSB spoke to Kevin Thomson about the replacement of the bridge cylinders.  This will be possible to do depending on the tightness of the pins. The job could be carried out using a teleporter. If the pins prove to be a problem, as they were during previous cylinder changes, the process would need to be re-assessed. The cost estimate is £20,000 and the work could be completed within  three days.

North Wall fence

This project is well advance.

RH has identified a simple swing gate which could be installed on the south side of the bridge, but no action will be taken on this until we see how people behave with the new fence and improved signage.


The project has been frustrated by East Lothian Council’s planning department’s refusal to allow Dunbar Harbour Trust to put a mast and camera on Lamer Island. Without this mast there is no signal to cover Victoria Harbour, the Broadhaven and the Maggie areas, and there is no security for Dunbar Battery itself. Hopefully there is now a route forward. A pre-application proposal for a changed position is now being submitted which, if approved, will allow to project to proceed.


8 Harbour Improvement Plan

Castle railings:

No further cost will be expended on this at this time. If it is possible to remove the railings ourselves (after lock-down ends) this will be done.


No further cost will be expended on this at this time.

Maintenance Bay:

No further cost will be expended on this at this time.

However, it will be useful to get a cost estimate so that we know how much funding we need to apply for


Drain from the Cold Store:

This will proceed at a cost of £2,000 (to be shared with the DFA) as it eliminates an environmental and pollution hazard.


It was agreed that we would proceed to warrant stage, so that we have the facts on which to go out to tender. Once the costs have been quantified, we can endeavour to secure grants and will be able to establish whether we can afford to proceed with this project (which remains greatly in demand).

Safety barriers along the South Pier

No further cost will be expended on this at this time.

The current quote is for £20,000 for a 170m length for green heart timber. It may be possible to reduce this length and to look at alternative materials.















9 Any other business

Coastal Communities Network Associate Membership:

The harbourmaster has been in contact with the coastal community’s network about Dunbar Harbour Trust becoming an associate member. They would be happy to have us as an associate member where we can consult with and contribute on an ad hoc basis without any obligation. It would also help us to stay informed about pertinent issues. There is no membership fee involved.

The Coastal Communities Network (CCN) is a collaboration of locally focused community groups (communities-of-place), guided by the belief that coastal communities across Scotland are well placed to harness long-term solutions to ensure healthy, well-managed seas.

Inherently, the CCN seeks to engage widely with all users of the marine environment. The Network has no political affiliation but is willing to engage with politicians’ and advocates across the political spectrum, who have an interest in protecting Scotland’s seas.

Authority was granted for Dunbar Harbour Trust to apply to become an Associate Member of the Coastal Communities Network

Zero Waste Scotland:

The harbourmaster  is doing some more collaborative  work with Zero Waste Scotland over the coming months to look at waste reduction and cost savings to the Trust. He is keen to keep the large skip and is looking for ways to reduce the costs of the skip.


Bellany painting:

It was agreed that the loan of the Bellany painting to East Lothian Council Museums Service should be extended by a further five years. The Chairman will write to Dr Claire Pannell.


BlueWild advertising:

Alan Stewart would like to -

  1.  work with the Harbourmaster and the Trust to agree how best ‘on-site promotion can be placed:
    1. Ideally, Alan would like to place

It was decided that Alan Stewart should propose the size and graphic of the signs, preferably no bigger than 900x600, and where he might want to place them. A discussion can then take place as to how best to fix them to the railings. The Chairman will write to him accordingly.

Sail flags should be removed when harbour trips are finished for the day.

Depending on the location of the signs they may need to be removed for a few harbour events each year (but hopefully not, as Blue Wild will usually form an important part of these events).

Bunting should not be left up on a permanent basis but might be appropriate for special events.

The Trust charged £100 plus VAT for the trailer advertising in 2018. It was decided to determine the charge for 2020 once the scheme had been agreed and once it was known when access to the harbour could start again. There will be no exclusivity granted in this arrangement and other boat owners will be free to apply to the Harbour Trust in the future if they too wish to organise boat trips.

Citizen Science/Art project:

This project has been led by the harbourmaster who has applied for a 100% grant to cover the costs of just under £1,100.

The project will involve school children who are working towards their John Muir award gathering plankton and micro plastic samples from within the harbour basin under supervision from East Lothian Council Rangers. They will then use digital microscopes to capture images of both plankton and micro plastics. Marine biologists from the GOES foundation https://www.goesfoundation.com  will assist with correct identification of plankton species and interpretation of the images in terms of micro plastic content. We will select the twelve best photographs and have them printed onto waterproof carbon neutral laminate to be displayed on the harbour North wall under the clue railings for a month during October and again during the spring/summer/autumn of 2021 and as long thereafter as the photographs are in good condition. The photographic exhibition on the harbour wall will be framed by two event flags and two panels: one interpretation panel and one call to action panel to reduce single use plastic consumption and littering. During the winter months the photographs will be displayed, and a presentation given at Dunbar Primary School, Dunbar Grammar School, Bleachingfield community centre, the local townhouse and John Muir house.

Dunbar Harbour Trust has done a marine litter project at the harbour every year for the last four years highlighting the visible pollution of marine litter. What this project will focus on and highlight is the unseen plankton life in the harbour and the micro plastic pollution that exists alongside it. Many people are not aware of the extent of micro plastic pollution and the role that we all have in combatting this type of pollution too.

The project has the support of the Board, and its implementation will depend on grant funding and the timing of the end of the lock-down.






















10 Events

Bands at the Battery will not take place this year because of the coronavirus crisis.

RNLI Day has been postponed until 1st August.

Dunbar Harbour Festival is still scheduled for 15th August. This will be kept under review in the light of future Government guidelines.


11  Date of next meeting – Thursday 14th May 6.45 p.m.