Repairs to be planned for Sutton Harbour footbridge


Engineers appointed by the Environment Agency have determined the cause of the failure of the Sutton Harbour pedestrian footbridge – enabling the next step of planning a timetable for repairs to get underway.

A detailed inspection of the bridge by the EA found that the bridge turntable failed because grease was not reaching all of the roller surfaces. The bearing and turntable mechanism of the bespoke bridge, fitted more than 20 years ago, will now need to be completely replaced.

In the interim, the footbridge (which enables the permissive path to be used) will remain closed to the public, to enable the Sutton Harbour lock gates to remain fully operational for marine traffic and to manage any flood risk, which is their main function.

To help people cross the harbour to reach the National Marine Aquarium and Rockfish restaurant from the Barbican Quarter whilst the bridge is closed, the Sutton Harbour Ferry Service introduced to cover the peak summer months is being extended, and will run during September and October.

Pete Bromley, Harbour Master of Sutton Harbour, said: “The results of the inspection and testing by EA engineers are a step forward in identifying the cause of the problem, while ruling out any other potential failings in the bridge and lock gates mechanisms. It means Sutton Harbour Holdings plc can now move forward and discuss with the EA a plan for assessing the specification and timescales for fabricating the replacement parts for the bearing and turntable and carrying out the repairs.

“Because the footbridge is a custom-designed piece of equipment installed as part of the lock gates 20 years ago, any replacement part has to be manufactured especially for it, which means there is no quick-fix solution available.

“We appreciate that the lock bridge closure causes an inconvenience to many visitors and residents in the area, as well as some of our key local businesses, so we are working closely with Silverline Cruises to organise an extension to the summer ferry service, to help people cross from the Fishing Quarter to the Barbican more easily”

The water ferry service was introduced at the start of the summer after Sutton Harbour Holdings plc invested in installing landing stages and infrastructure to support the operation, and SHH plc also subsidised the service during the peak summer months and school holiday period.

Silverline Cruises will now continue to operate the service independently for the remainder of September and, if there is a demand for it, during October.

Sutton Harbour will again subsidise the service during October half term and for the Plymouth Seafood Festival in September.

The ferry operates from 9.30am - 7pm, Monday to Sunday, crossing between Lockyers Quay and West Pier by the Mayflower Steps. There is a small charge of £1 per person each way or £1.50 return, with children under 5 travelling for free, which goes directly to the ferry operators.

Both the National Marine Aquarium and Rockfish restaurant discount the cost of the ferry tickets from customers’ bills in the restaurant, NMA shop and café.

Alternatively, there is a walking route around the harbour which accessible via the Harbour Heritage Trail with a footpath circling around East Quay and North Quay (see map below).


Sutton Harbour Footbridge

The Sutton Harbour pedestrian footbridge will remain closed for the coming months following confirmation from engineers appointed by the Environment Agency that the bridge turntable has failed and will need to be replaced.

Sutton Harbour Holdings plc is working closely with Plymouth City Council and key tenant businesses on the waterfront to explore interim measures to help people make their way from the historic Barbican Quarter of Sutton Harbour to the Fishing Quarter whilst essential repairs are carried out.

Engineers from the EA have been on site for the last four weeks to carry out thorough testing of the bridge’s turntable assembly, bearings and foundations to establish the exact cause of the mechanical fault which developed in April.

The bridge was fitted more than 20 years ago as part of Sutton Harbour lock gates, whose main function is to manage any flood risk. It has been necessary to close the footbridge to the public whilst tests are carried out to ensure the ongoing safe operation of the lock gates for all marine traffic, such as fishing boats.

This week, engineers confirmed the bridge turntable assembly has failed and will need to be replaced, along with a series of other necessary repairs which it is hoped will provide greater longevity to the bridge’s operation in the future. Further testing will be carried out this week and next week to ensure all other potential causes for the bridge fault can be ruled out.

Pete Bromley, Harbour Master of Sutton Harbour, said: “We have met with the city council, the Environment Agency and some of our key tenants, including the National Marine Aquarium and Rockfish, so everybody could be updated on the latest situation and discussed ways we all may be able to help support any local businesses affected by the bridge closure.

“We are awaiting further testing by EA engineers to rule out any other failings in the bridge mechanisms and will then plan a repair programme to replace the turntable which has failed.

“In the meantime, we are actively exploring a number of potential options to help members of the public travel from the historic Barbican Quarter to the Fishing Quarter on the opposite side of Sutton Harbour, where the NMA and Rockfish are located, whilst the bridge remains out of action over the coming months.”

An alternative walking route around the harbour from the National Marine Aquarium, Rockfish and Harbour Car Park to Sutton Harbour’s historic Barbican Quarter, which includes the Mayflower Steps, is accessible via the Harbour Heritage Trail with a footpath circling around East Quay and North Quay (see map below).

Sail training courses for berth holders

The Marina at Sutton Harbour has arranged two practical 'on the water' courses exclusively for its berth holders, which will take place over the weekend of Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th June 2017.

Anyone berthing their boat in the award-winning 5 Gold Anchor Marina based in the historic heart of Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City, is able to register to join one of the workshops.

Lock Workshop - Saturday 10th June

This practical course is hands-on to help build confidence when making passage through Sutton Lock, along with some useful practice manoeuvring in and around Sutton Harbour.  Join a qualified RYA instructor aboard the sail training vessel Saphire.  This FREE course runs both in the morning from 09.30hrs to 12.30hrs, or the afternoon from 13.30hrs to 16.30hrs.

Ladies' Day – Sunday 11th June

Ladies' Day is a great opportunity to socialise and get to know other female berth holders whilst independently increasing your skills and confidence in boat handling, manoeuvring and berthing techniques.  These ladies' only sessions offer three hours of tuition in a relaxed atmosphere aboard a sail training vessel with female instructor Wendy Langdon.  There is a morning session from 09.30hrs to 12.30hrs and an afternoon session from 13.30hrs to 16.30hrs.  Course fees are £35.00.

Mark Brimacombe, Marina Manager, said: “As part of our continued drive to offer our berth holders the very best exclusive opportunities, offers and discounts, as well as first-class facilities in an unparalleled location, we are delighted to have organised these two sail training courses, which we hope will help some of our less confident berth holders to gain new skills on the water.”

To make a reservation on either course, please contact a member of the Marina team on 01752 204702 or email indicating whether you'd prefer a morning or afternoon session. 

Please note space is limited and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Cruise in Company programme launched for Plymouth Marina berth holders

A series of Cruise in Company voyages has been organised by The Marina at Sutton Harbour in partnership with The Morvargh Sailing Project to help berth holders gain more confidence in sailing on open water.

The Cruise in Company voyages offer an opportunity for vessels berthing at the award-winning Marina in the heart of Plymouth to join fellow berth holders as they sail their own boat in the company of others to a prime South West destination.

The boats would stay overnight at the destination, with berth holders enjoying an evening get-together, and return to The Marina at Sutton Harbour the following day.

Mark Brimacombe, Marina Manager, said: “This is a great chance to make the most of the stunning Devon and Cornwall coast on your doorstep with the added confidence of sailing in a flotilla with other vessels, led by an experienced team aboard Morvargh's Helen Mary R. We are very excited to be able to offer this opportunity to our berth holders as part of the exclusive package of services the Marina provides to those who choose to keep their boats in Sutton Harbour.”

Cruise in Company destinations for summer 2017 include:

Plymouth to Salcombe – Saturday 1st to Sunday 2nd July

Plymouth to Fowey – Saturday 19th to Sunday 20th August

Plymouth to Falmouth – Friday 22nd to Saturday 23rd September

The evening prior to each voyage, there will be an informal Passage Planning Workshop held aboard the Morvargh vessel Helen Mary R berthed in The Marina at Sutton Harbour. 

On the morning of each voyage, there will be an additional weather briefing prior to the flotilla departing Sutton Harbour.  

Helen Mary R will act as a logistics hub throughout the cruises to provide VHF advice and support berth holders as they arrive in port. 

Once all vessels have reached the destination, there will be an informal evening gathering when berth holders can socialise and get to know one another. 

The following day, there will be a further weather briefing and Helen Mary R will provide the same support for the return leg to The Marina at Sutton Harbour.

To register your interest in joining any of these Cruise in Company voyages with your fellow berth holders, please contact a member of the marina team on 01752 204702 or email with an indication as to which voyage is of interest.

Suggested Vessel Criteria

It must be noted that all boat owners and skippers will be responsible for their own vessels at all times during these trips. Berth holders will also be responsible for any berthing costs required at the destination marina, as well as other site services.

The Morvargh Sailing Project and The Marina at Sutton Harbour will not be liable for any damages or loss related to taking part in this elective excursion.

Vessels should be fitted with an echo sounder, VHF radio, lifejackets and a life raft large enough to accommodate all crew, and ensure all appropriate equipment is in working order ahead of the trip.

Each vessel must ensure there is enough fuel for the trip and that there is adequate crew, with a suggested a minimum of two persons per vessel.

The Marina at Sutton Harbour introduces Catamaran berthing

New berthing spaces have been launched to host Catamaran boats at The Marina at Sutton Harbour based in the historic heart of Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City.

The 5 Gold Anchor Marina at Sutton Harbour has widened some of its existing berths in Sutton Quay to accommodate the multi-hulled watercrafts as part of a brand new offer for boat owners.

The extended berths offer dedicated spaces to accommodate Catamaran or multi-hulled vessels, with new custom-designed berthing rates available.

Mark Brimacombe, Manager of The Marina at Sutton Harbour, said: “We are really excited to be welcoming Catamarans to our Marina for the first time; there has been a huge amount of interest and we have already had some Catamaran boats visit us to berth in the newly created spaces this spring. We were seeing an increasing demand to host the vessels, so we decided to extend some of our existing berths to accommodate them.”

A Catamaran is a multi-hulled watercraft which features two parallel hulls of equal size. Often used for ocean racing, the vessels are also becoming popular cruising ships.

Prices for the annual berthing of a Catamaran boat at the Marina are available on request, contact Mark on 01752 204702 to discuss.

The Marina at Sutton Harbour is recognised internationally as one of the top 100 marinas in the world, having continually earned the highest accreditation from industry experts in recognition of its first-class facilities and superior customer service and retaining its 5 Gold Anchor status.

For more information or to enquire about berthing a Catamaran in Sutton Harbour, call 01752 204702 or email