This month Shoreham Port bids farewell to Keith Wadey, who is retiring from his role as Assistant Port Engineer after a staggering 38 years and nine months at Shoreham Port.
Keith joined the Port as an already qualified diver, having spent his working life previously in the Royal Navy diving on the Thames barrier and with the well-known maritime civil engineering contractor, J T Mackley and Shires Diving Contractors.
Keith has had a varied and rewarding career at the Port, taking on numerous positions over the years, starting at the Port as a Diver/Operative in 1979 before completing a civil engineering qualification and moving into the role of Works Supervisor in 1992. From here he moved onto the role of Port Maintenance Manager, before taking up his current role of Assistant Port Engineer in 2011. Keith’s latest role saw him taking over the running of the dive team and supervising all vessels docking in the Dry Dock, amongst his many other responsibilities.
Keith has had continuous involvement in the dive team throughout his time at the Port, taking up numerous roles in this area, including Senior Diver and Senior Dive Supervisor. With Keith’s passion for diving prevailing over the decades, he has been involved in some extremely interesting dive jobs and has an abundance of stories to tell from his time at the Port.
Keith has also channelled energy into ensuring the smooth running of the Port’s Dry Dock, one of the last facilities of its kind in the area, docking an array of vessels from large fishing trawlers to tall ships and super yachts.
Discussing his time at the Port, Keith commented “One of my most memorable moment at the Port would have to be the demolition of the old power station. We had to carry out diving checks underneath the station, asbestos removal and aid with the demolition of the last chimney. My memory of the inspections we carried out the day before the demolition will stay with me as I remember being very aware that the chimney was packed with 5 tonnes of explosives!”
Keith continued “There was also a sentimental element to this project as my father had worked on the construction of the power station in the 1950’s and started my ties to the area and the Port. I have been extremely lucky in my career to have loved what I do every day until retirement. I have always loved working by the water, either diving or managing the dry dock and am extremely grateful for everything I have been able to do and achieve here at Shoreham Port.”
Keith has become a font of knowledge on the Port and its rich history, aiding local historians in their quest for information and even being interviewed by Peter James, to then be featured in his book. Following on from this Keith coordinated Peter James’ book launch at the Port which involved hanging a van over the canal with a crane.
Director of Engineering, Tony Parker commented “Keith has worked continuously at Shoreham Port for nearly 39 years now and as a consequence, he has played a major role in the engineering team during a time of complete transformation for the Port into the modern and thriving business that we see today.
Over the years, he has built up an unparalleled wealth of knowledge about the Port’s infrastructure and, while diving remained a central passion, he has diversified into many other fields, supervising contractors and our own staff on infrastructure maintenance and taking a central role in many major projects around the Port. Needless to say, he will be greatly missed by us all.”