RNLI Rhyl revives ‘blessing of the boats’ tradition

The service marked the completion of a major regeneration project in the North Wales harbour

Rhyl harbour celebrated the completion of an £10m regeneration project this weekend (7 June) with a ‘blessing of the boats’ service.

The tradition died out in the early 1980s, but was revived by Rev Andy Grimwood and organiser Callum Robinson, son of the previous coxswain.

More than 100 locals, including mayor David Simmons, turned out for the first service after Rogation Sunday, which could become an annual event at the North Wales harbour.

Denbighshire County Council and Sustrans have spent 18 months renovating the harbour area, including the construction of the new Dragon’s Bridge, which was opened to cyclists and pedestrians last year.

EU funding helped to expand the quay walls by around 300m, while new visitors’ pontoons and a new slipway have also been added, taking the total capacity to around 200 boats.

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Future plans for the region include a cycle shop and a new café at the harbourmaster’s office, both of which are expected to open in the next few weeks.

Paul Frost MBE, deputy second coxswain at Rhyl RNLI, told MBM: “We want to revitalise Rhyl to the popular holiday town it once was, and this is the first step.”

Situated on the north coast of Wales, Rhyl is the only refuge between Liverpool and Conwy marinas, but had previously suffered from a lack of accessibility.

However, a new rock groyne to protect the harbour and a fairway buoy one mile west of the end perch, should improve its prospects.

With widespread windfarm construction projects in the nearby area, Rhyl RNLI estimates that up to 700 workmen are at sea in the area at any given time, and the improvements will make it easier for lifeboats to respond to emergency callouts.


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