Children from St Peter's Community Primary School in Portslade enjoyed their first visit to Shoreham Port this week. The year 3 group, whose topic last term was ‘shipwrecked’ were excited to visit Shoreham Port for a behind the scenes tour. The group were led by Brian Rousell, Shoreham Port’s Deputy Engineer, who began the tour with a walk past the dry dock and over the lock gates, explaining how the gates operate and what creatures they could expect to see nestling at the bottom of the locks.
The group then visited the team at Harbour Radio where they were shown the complicated navigational equipment used to safely guide ships into the harbour. After some insightful questions the group moved onto the pump house. As they entered the great building one member of the group shrieked “this is epic!” and many agreed as they heard the mighty pumps fire up to continue their daily job pumping 80,000 tonnes of water into the canal.
After the excitement and noise of the pump house, the group concluded their visit on Southwick Beach. A heavy fog fell over the harbour as the group tried to spot the coast defences and breakwaters in the gloom and they all listened out for the familiar sound of the fog horn, which was well replicated by one the group!
They also got a close-up view of the dredger Sand Heron passing through the lock and were amazed at how little room there was either side, demonstrating the skill of the pilots in safely guiding ships in and out of the Port.
Tracey Bennett, Deputy Headteacher at St Peter's Community Primary School commented “It was a fascinating tour on which all of the children (and adults!) learned something new. Favourite parts were reported afterwards as ‘seeing the ship up close and feeling like we were moving,’ ‘the pump house – it was really creepy’, and simply ‘all of it’!”
Brian completed the tour by reminding the group of the dangers of deep, cold and fast flowing water around the locks and pump house, but afterwards said “It’s rewarding to explain what a unique working environment the Port is and see the enthusiasm in the kids’ faces. You know they’re interested when they come up with the really challenging questions!”