IMPORTANT: MHT is seeking member views to put to Government on issues for the sector.
Please give us your views and pass on within your organisation as necessary.
As you may have seen National Heritage Memorial Fund has commissioned advice (see) to help it deal with applications from marine heritage projects and we see this as an opportunity to re-emphasise to NHMF and HLF the needs and benefits of operating vessels and to set out actions for others that would help the sector.
We have prepared the attached statement based on what we know but please comment.
Do you agree with these priorities or are there others?
Please let us have your views by 1st November if you can to help us prepare a final version. We are keen to discuss - please contact Maddie Phillips, Trevor Godbold , or Henry Cleary
Seeing and sailing on historic vessels is special; they are a key feature of our coasts and inland waters and they offer young and old transformative opportunities through sailing and operational volunteering, learning new skills, personal development, promoting wellbeing, encountering a wider environment and addressing sustainability challenges.
However the UK's small fleet of working heritage vessels is diminishing with the impact of higher costs and reduced spending. Each year nationally significant vessels cease operation and some are broken up. These vessels are irreplaceable. We ask for 6 things that would help:
1. Fair, comparable treatment for operating vessels in considering funding applications to National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and grant givers, taking account of their higher costs of operation and repair but also their exceptional benefits to participants. The current work commissioned by NHMF to help assess applications from maritime heritage projects provides an opportunity to reflect this;
2. Introduction of an expanded youth experience and training programme, based on NHLF “Skills for the Future”, with priority for those facing physical or financial barriers to access seafaring. This could provide training places for 3,000 young people a year, widening access and safeguarding skills specific to operating heritage vessels, so helping to futureproof the heritage fleet;
3. Development of a business support programme by NLHF to help historic vessels diversify their income streams and mission, for example moving into provision of opportunities supporting Climate Change, EDI and wellbeing agendas and widening access. This is a lengthy process in which the vessel still needs to be maintained over a period with no income;
4. Creation of an emergency repairs fund by NHMF to deal with situations where a preservation project of high heritage value has collapsed and the vessel could sink or be lost without urgent action. The aim would be minimum action eg hull repairs to stabilise the situation in order for a long term plan and support to be created;
5. Wider understanding across the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) of the constraints involved in operating historic vessels and acceptance of the principle of equivalence in meeting modern requirements in navigation and safety. Identification by MCA and port authorities of a historic vessels liaison point to help deal with queries on operations and access eg berthing, inspections and compliance. Recognition by Local Authorities of key maritime facilities in their area such as quaysides, slipways, drydocks and stores which help sustain operating historic vessels as in the Heritage Harbour and Heritage Inland Port status;
6. Restoration of the planned budgetary cuts affecting Canal and Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency which will have the effect of closing or restricting major sections of waterway which are used by historic vessels and render their operations unviable.
See our new website and Facebook page for recent developments on the Heritage Harbour project undertaken jointly with National Historic Ships UK and Historic England.
Examples of vessels under threat or lost:
De Wadden https://maritime-executive.com/editorials/historic-1917-irish-sea-schooner-to-be-scrapped ;
Island Sailing Trust https://www.theislandtrust.org.uk/the-island-trust-addresses-fleet-and-staffing-changes-to-secure-its-future/
Trinity Sailing https://classicsailor.com/2019/10/trinity-sailing-forced-to-sell-boats/
John H Amos http://www.paddlesteamers.info/JohnHAmos.htm
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