FALMOUTH'S innovative Park and Float scheme will open again this year thanks to talks last week with the Minister of Transport, Jim Fitzpatrick.
Garrick Royle, operations manager for Cornwall Ferries which operates the service, joined two other South West boat operators in London for re-assurance from the minister that new maritime legislations would be reviewed and modified to enable the Park and Float – and similar services in the area - to continue running.
New regulations imposed by the government and enforced by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency stipulate that skippers of all services throughout the UK must complete a 360-day training period before they can run such services. As the Park and Float boats only run for four to five months each year, this was not possible. But now Mr Fitzpatrick has agreed to temporary measures until a new tier of legislation is brought in especially for pleasure boat operators who only work during the summer. Garrick said he was impressed with the depth of knowledge of Mr Fitzpatrick and the way in which he had dealt with the problem. “He was very sympathetic to our needs and fully understood our situation. He knows the law has to be changed and suggested that we are consulted before the legislation is agreed, he said there will be a 3 month consultation period then a further 9 months until the regulations are modified to include the new tier of boatmasters license.
“I have to say a huge thank you to Lord Tony Berkeley who is chairman of the Railfreight Group and also on the Harbour Commission in Fowey for rallying around to help us and getting us this half-hour meeting with Mr Fitzpatrick. Without his support, this would have taken a lot longer,” Garrick added.
The Park and Float & Ride, which began in 2003, transported a record number visitors into Falmouth’s town centre last year. It opens for business this Saturday.