Names on the Buoys in Poole Harbour
During last week’s Training Talk on buoyage we were asked how the buoys in Poole Harbour get their names. Great question and one I said I would research. I didn’t realise quite what a task I had taken on so this blog will updated a buoy at a time. Check back every so often for updates. At the bottom of the post you will see information on the last update.
Many tales of the sea are hearsay and tradition so apologies in advance for any inaccuracies! If you have information that can be added or dispute the information (!), drop us a line. Some buoys are named after people.
Which buoys have names?
The buoys that spring to mind in no particular order are:
Hamish, Stakes, Diver, Tasman, Aunt Betty, Bell, Swash, Brownsea, Channel, Hook Sands, Hutchins, Jack Jones, Bullpit, Salterns, Bar Buoy and Warner. Can you think of any others?
In addition, there are numerous posts with names around the harbour too and we’ll move onto those next.
Why are there names on buoys?
Great question and I don’t have a full answer. All the buoys still have their reference number as well as a name. Some of the buoys are named in recognition of people who have contributed to Harbour life, others are descriptive as to location.#
Tasman Buoy has been in place since the 90s, believed to be 1995. It has a great history relating to a friendly and helpful face from a specific spot in the harbour. The Buoy is located not far off Russel Quay. For those unfamiliar with the Harbour this is close to Rockley on route to Wareham. It is Buoy number WH7 in the Wareham Channel.
The information below is my interpretation from sources in the Harbour.
Tas Brackstone, known as ‘Tasman’ was a friendly and welcoming figure to be found at Redclyffe Yacht Club. Redclyffe is located on the River Frome on route to Wareham. He was at the club most days welcoming visitors, giving a hand to members, looking after the club launches and generally being the friendly face of the club. He was a regular representative at Poole Harbour meetings.
Why a buoy?
So how did he come to have a buoy named after him and why this specific spot? Apparently, prior to the Tasman Buoy as boats came out of Wareham River they used local knowledge to sight a ship on a mooring that rarely (if ever?) moved. This was the MVF (Motor Fishing Vessel) Watchful. They knew to keep this ship to their Port side to find deeper water (or Starboard on route in). For years this had been used for navigation and as the ship slowly deteriorated and was in danger of sinking the discussions arose as to how to assist navigation on route from Wareham.
Tasman was on the Poole Harbour Committees discussing such issues, representing the interests of Wareham River users and Redclyffe members and it was suggested that a buoy be placed at the spot once the boat was removed. The Commodore of Redclyffe YC at the time along with the Committee suggested that in recognition of all the time and help Tasman had contributed to Wareham River users that he should be recognised through naming the buoy after him. PHC agreed to organise the buoy but it was down to Redclyffe YC to organise the wording.
How and when was the buoy put in place?
Once a buoy was in place the Commodore of RYC, assisted by his brother, took the club launch down to the buoy. It was time to figure out a way of painting the name on the buoy. As any boat users will know, buoys tend to move and swivel and this was not an easy undertaking! Finally, the task was completed and Tasman in the club launch for the reveal of the new buoy. At the time this was buoy number 79. It has since been replaced by a smaller more modern buoy but still bears his name.
Tasman must have been a character and much appreciated supporter of the club and river he loved as his photo is still up on the wall at the club. Those who have spoken to me about him spoke of him with real warmth, a character who had made their time on the river a happy experience. He was described to me as always being at the club, ready to help, to offer a friendly smile and a warm welcome to club member and visiting yachtsman alike.
Thank you to all those who contributed information. This is my take on the information given to me and sadly I never met ‘Tasman’ so I apologise in advance for any misrepresentations. The information is based on an informal chat from a small group of sources. If you would like to update or contribute any information please contact me.
If you would like to learn how to use buoyage to navigate by why not have a look at our RYA Essential Navigation & Seamanship Course? Essential Navigation
Edits: 9.5.20 Info on Tasman Buoy added