Biz Extra

Published: February 5, 2021 | Updated: March 31, 2021

Poole Harbour Commissioners and Jane Haas and her family links to Sir Walter Raleigh…

By Andrew Diprose, editor

Welcome to the latest Marine Matters from Coleman Marine Insurance, a Gallagher company.

Poole Harbour Commissioners is a key marine entity locally in Poole.

As Coleman Marine Insurance is based in the heart of Poole Harbour it seemed only natural to ask Poole Harbour Commissioners to contribute to Marine Matters.

We meet PHC Marketing Manager, Tracy Payne.

We also feature Jane Haas, Marine Claims Handler at Coleman Marine, in our monthly Q&A.

With family links back to Sir Walter Raleigh, it’s no surprise that Jane is working in the world of marine!

If you would like to find out more information about our business and its services, please contact us on 01202 497410 or visit our website for more information by clicking here.

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Name: Tracy Payne

Role: Marketing Manager at Poole Harbour Commissioners

Tell us a little about Poole Harbour Commissioners as an organisation

Poole Harbour Commissioners is a trust port.

There is a common misconception that trust ports are owned by government, but this is incorrect.

As a trust PHC is an independent statutory body controlled by an independent board and governed by its own unique legislation.

We are not controlled by a local authority nor are we a private business.

This basically means we have no shareholders or other owners and any financial surpluses raised through our commercial activities are reinvested back into the harbour and port facilities to benefit our stakeholders.

We are governed by a board of twelve Trustees (Commissioners), all of whom have signed a declaration to state that they will act impartially and make decisions in the best interests of the harbour.

Commissioners are appointed on merit during an open recruitment process and provide the board with the relevant professional skills and experience to meet the changing demands of PHC.

PHC have a duty to conserve, regulate and improve the port and harbour.

In other words, it’s our responsibility to safeguard and improve the harbour so that it flourishes and creates prosperity in the local community.

At 10,000 acres, we are Europe’s largest natural harbour.

We own and operate two, 5 Gold Anchor accredited marinas – Poole Quay Boat Haven and the Port of Poole Marina.

Poole Quay Boat Haven has been named the UK Coastal Marina of the Year in the sub 250 berths category for the last two years.

It has 45 permanent berths (residents) and 80 visitor berths, and we welcomed over 9,000 visitors in 2019.

The Port of Poole Marina has 90 permanent berths.

What’s your career background?

I’ve worked in marketing for as long as I care to remember, I predominately come from a finance and software background.

Starting with Lloyds Banking Group where I worked as Campaign Manager and looked after the Halifax Brand for GI (General Insurance).

I loved it there but, unfortunately, they relocated our department to Leeds and I was made redundant whilst on maternity leave with my eldest son.

From there, I went to Advanced Computer Software.

Again, I went on maternity leave with son number 2 and they shut down the department, so I was made redundant again.

When I joined Poole Harbour Commissioners in October 2017, I promised my colleagues that I would not be getting pregnant again!

I’m Poole born and raised and I think that this is what attracted me to the role at PHC in the first place.

I have really fond memories of Poole Harbour as a child, the warm, sunny harbour and always remember it was a real treat to go down to the quay and have a bag of chips or an ice cream and enjoy the hustle and bustle of harbour life.

I’m really keen to see the commercial side of the port grow and develop and to see Poole town thrive again.

What does your average week look like and what are your responsibilities?

No one week is ever the same, so I don’t think there is an average week, it is such a diverse and varied role.

I look after the marketing and PR across the commercial port activities, the harbour leisure activities, cruise, and have also recently taken responsibility for the marina marketing.

Then, of course there’s the boat show.

What are highlights of your role to date?

I am particularly proud of the Poole Harbour Boat Show (PHBS) and to see how it has grown year on year and has attracted fresh blood to the industry.

With over 32,000 people in attendance in 2019 the show’s proud claim is that it is the biggest-ever, free to attend boat show on the south coast.

Its reputation has grown within the marine industry, local and regional business communities and the enthusiasm shown by the public to attend and get involved has been phenomenal.

Poole has such a very rich maritime history and the PHBS is a wonderful way to celebrate all that it has to offer.

The Boat Show’s ambitions, and theme have always been to get people ‘on the water’, particularly young people and we certainly achieved this with the diverse programme of activities that we host each year.

We have free taster sessions for visitors to try such as paddle boarding, kayaking and, dinghy sailing to find out which on-the-water activity is right for them.

We also offer port tours by sea and various on the water demonstrations, we have even had some Newfoundland dogs impress visitors with their spectacular water rescues.

The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers freefall parachute display team have become regulars to the show and family events such as the live music stage and the fireworks have all helped the boat show be the popular event that it has become.

Many events were cancelled in 2020 due to Covid, including the PHBS.

Everyone at PHC was hugely disappointed but it was obviously the right thing to do.

We’ve also made the decision that the boat show will not be taking place this year (2021) either.

We made the call very early on, which initially we took some minor criticism for.

However, the reason that we made the decision so early is that there is so much planning that goes into an event such as the PHBS, huge amounts of unseen backroom work, such as bookings to take, logistics, sponsorship, exhibitor sales etc.

It’s a colossal job.

It is also important that at this uncertain time, as a business we focus on our key harbour and port roles and responsibilities.

Unfortunately for now that comes at the cost of the show, but we hope to bring it back bigger and better in 2022!

What is one of the most memorable/enjoyable moments in the last few months?

It has definitely been working with Pip Hare.

PHC gave Medallia, Pip’s boat, a home for the run up to the Vendée Globe Race.

I feel incredibly proud and privileged that through my role at Poole Harbour Commissioners, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the fabulous Pip [pictured with Tracy and Kerrie Gray, PHC Marinas Manager].

She is one of the most driven, courageous and inspirational women that I have ever met.

We are all very much looking forward to welcoming Pip back to Poole Harbour in the coming weeks, she’s had an unbelievable race.

There are rumours that Pip might be looking to enter the Vendée Globe race again in 2024.  I’m really hoping that she will choose to stay with us in Poole if that is true.

How has Covid-19 been for Poole Harbour Commissioners?

We have certainly had our challenges because of it.

I’ve predominantly worked from home but have needed to come into the port on the odd occasion.

Given the nature of the work of PHC, it relies on some of us being Key workers – security staff, dockers, our pilots and harbour control officers are a few examples.

They need to be on site to ensure that the port can operate.

Commercially, there has been the halt in the passenger ferry sailings and the cancellation of the cruise business.

In a normal year we would see circa 390,000 ferry passengers, around 180,000 on Barfleur (this financial year it’s been minimal) and 210,000 on Condor (this financial year 30,000). Hence, we are some 360,000 passengers down.

However, the port has been fully operational throughout as freight services have continued.

Freight cargo includes items such as clay, steel rebar, bricks, timber…conventional type cargo items.

We are also home for Channel Seaways in the UK, providing a lifeline service to the Channel Islands.

It’s pretty much business as normal in this aspect.

The Port of Poole is hosting a NHS GP led vaccine centre.

They are currently vaccinating 600 people per day.

We also hosted the flu jabs centre in late 2020, when some 1400 vaccinations were being carried out each day.

Since Covid-19 we have had a temporary mortality support facility installed on site which was installed in March 2020 and unfortunately has been reactivated in the last few days.

Last year, post lockdown 1, we saw a big increase in the number of people out on the water.

With this we saw a rise in the number of complaints regarding the inappropriate behaviour of Personal Water Craft (PWC) users.

In response, we joined forces with the Dorset Marine Policing Unit, and HM Coastguard amongst others, to educate harbour users of their duty of care and raise awareness of the bylaws in place to protect them, our wildlife and other harbour users.

We’ve seen two prosecutions against two PWC’s for speeding and bylaw infringements.

It’s been a case of the minority spoiling it for the majority.

We are currently pulling together a PWC task force, working with the more experienced users such as  PW schools, jet ski schools and different harbour stake holders.

It’s all about how we can make improvements – improving policies, improving signage and improving the Baiter slipway facilities.

We are all collaborating together.

What is the impact of the loss of the cruise business on the port?

The loss of the cruise business has been particularly significant and painful.

It’s less than three years since we officially opened the new £10 million South Quay which had successfully facilitated millions of pounds of new business, by bringing bigger cruise ships, bigger commercial vessels and establishing the port as the UK’s luxury import and export base.

The latest UK pax value figures are £160 for embarks and £70 for day calls, so based on these figures the ‘Saga Sapphire’ cruise ship that was due to call at the Port of Poole in May last year, accommodating approximately 720 passengers would have meant a £50,400 boost to the local economy per call.

With 520 passengers on board, each turnaround of Cruise Maritime Voyage’s ‘Astoria’ would have meant a £83,220 boost.

In 2020 we lost some 6,000 cruise passengers.

So much hard work has gone in to securing cruise calls, to build core numbers up and bookings are often taken years in advance of a cruise ship visit.

Covid-19 is a devasting blow for the local economy, and of course the cruise industry as a whole.

What is the impact of Brexit on the port?

There is lots of work ongoing with Brexit.

The lorry drivers have to adhere to new rules and regulations and take Covid tests before they can travel.

We are currently building a new Public Trade Office at the port.

The build is well under way and should be completed by mid-June.

The office will be run by Border Force, to ensure that customs and immigration rules are adhered to under UK law.

We have Border Force on site already and work extremely closely with them.

There’s been lots of contingency work in the background.

In the run-up to Brexit the port worked closely with the local Resilience Forum, Highways England and other local agencies to produce a response plan which is called Operation Topsail.

The purpose of this plan is to ensure that in the event of excess traffic movement through the port, that the traffic is managed to cause minimum disruption to the local road networks.

This is an example of the kind of preparation work we’ve been doing.

Another thing in the pipe-line is a new Border Control Post.

That will be at the Port of Poole, to check animal products of animal origin, high risk food and animal feed.

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Q&A with Jane Haas, Marine Claims Handler, Coleman Marine Insurance

How long have you been in the business?

Insurance – One year, six months.

What’s your marine career background?

I have over 30 years in the marine business. I joined Salterns Marina, Boatyard & Hotel in the early 1990’s as their Marketing & Events Manager, leaving to join Lake Yard – Dorset Lake Shipyard/Dorset Yacht Company (home to UK’s Boston Whaler dealership) at an exciting time when they were developing a new 50 berth marina and membership club.

I later worked for an RYA sea school also organising delivery skippers for Princess and Sunseeker Yachts, plus luxury yacht charter including corporate events such as Cowes Week where I would also crew.

Returned to Salterns Marina Ltd just over ten years ago starting in Brokerage (new/used boats including Sealegs, Cranchi), then proceeded to manage their marketing for their group of companies including Golden Arrow Marine – the marine engineering division. I joined Coleman Marine just over a year and half ago and became part of a wonderful energetic and committed team.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Helping people when things go wrong, which at times can be distressing and daunting, so to guide and support them through the claims process, using and applying my marine knowledge is an advantage and is hugely rewarding. I love the diversity, every claim is so different and I continue to learn something new every day.

Working for Coleman Marine – part of the global Gallagher family – with its ‘family business approach’ and our team of dedicated and knowledgeable folks who genuinely enjoy and care for our clients in this niche market is something I’m proud to be part of!

Use three words to describe yourself?

Sporty, creative, personable.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A sports teacher.

Who do you most admire?

Joanna Lumley, she’s funny, smart, ballsy, adventurous, compassionate and so interesting. If I was ever marooned on a desert island I’d ‘absolutely’ want Joanna as my Girl Friday… but if she’s not available then perhaps Ben Fogle might step in?!

Tell us something about yourself that we don’t know?

I am from the Sydenham family, as a child we grew up visiting my Great Uncle, the late and well-known potter Guy Sydenham (Head Designer at Poole Pottery) and his wife Joan who had lived aboard a converted MTB (formerly M.T.B 453) – ‘MV Oklahoma’ on Long Island and then later Green Island in Poole Harbour – a special and magical time!

My late father was part of the Special Boat Service and my father-in-law previously operated Charter sailing holidays owning all sorts of classic yachts over the years. One of my twin brothers – James (and Matt Sydenham, both in the marine business) – drove the Sunseeker Apache 46 in The Spice Girls movie ‘Spice World’. He also took part in the Round Britain Race back in 2008 as part of the winning Goldfish Ribs Team.

I’ve had the privilege and a ‘thrill of ride’ on the Virgin Cross Atlantic Challenger II some years back. My husband and I own a classic 1989 Boston Whaler in which we enjoy exploring Poole Harbour and surrounding waters with our kids. The Sydenham family has been traced back to Sir Walter Raleigh so it’s hardly surprising that I’ve ended up ‘messing around with boats’, it’s clearly in the blood!