6 September 2013

Over the summer Shoreham Port Electrician, Richard Smith completed his Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Surface Supplied – Commercial Diver qualification in Scotland. Shoreham Port actively encourages staff to progress their career and skills set through additional training and courses relevant to their job role. Richard has long had an interest in diving and was thrilled to be given the chance to take a diving course and obtain an industry recognised qualification.

Richard has been working at the Port for over 16 years and started as a General Operative in the Engineering Department. He chose to qualify as an electrician to progress his career and has developed useful skills in fault finding and industrial scale electrical installations. 

Brian Rousell, Deputy Port Engineer commented “Richard likes to keep himself fit with Mountain Biking and Skiing, making him an ideal candidate for the physically demanding work of a diver. He is a team player and fits in well with the existing divers. He plans to remain working at the Port for the foreseeable future and has always been willing to take on new skills and responsibilities, though obviously he won’t be carrying out any electrical tasks underwater!”

Richard Smith added “I found the 9 week course in Fort William physically and mentally demanding, but ultimately rewarding and I am keen to get involved in the work of the Dive Team here at Shoreham, where the water is considerably warmer, if a little less clear for visibility!”

The dive team at Shoreham Port play an integral part in the maintenance of the Harbour. Shoreham employs divers for a wide range of services, but principally to ensure the Prince Philip Lock remains operational at all times and receives its planned and reactive maintenance. The Engineering and Dive team carry out regular checks around the inner and outer gates to ensure the gates are in serviceable condition and there is no immediate potential for debris on the lock floor or canal bed to cause an obstruction.

The Dive team also carry out extensive underwater surveys of the 8km of quay walls around the Port to establish prioritised programmes for protection from corrosion and, if necessary repair or replacement. From time to time, the team carry out projects requiring the divers to place or remove materials and structures below the water, e.g. a new cable crossing to the East end of the Prince Philip Lock to improve power and communication infrastructure from North to South. The team are also on hand to clear fouled propellers and check potential hull damage on the Port’s working vessel fleet and also any visiting vessels should it be required.