The new lifeboat station building team have to work around the extreme tides of the Bristol Channel

Plenty of activity is underway at the site of one of the RNLI’s newest lifeboat stations at Portishead.

Work on the foundations for the new Portishead lifeboat station
has advanced, with some concrete having been poured, and the drilling
completed for the piled section of the boathouse

has started on the ground source heating system. A drilling machine has been boring two 100 metre deep holes for the
pipes which will provide a source of heat for the under floor heating.
This type of system is ecologically friendly and requires little
maintenance in the long term.

Work on the beach has progressed
with the concrete foundation rings, and this week the piling machine has
been on the beach drilling four holes in each of the concrete rings
ready for the piles to be inserted. These piles will support the 60
metre long launch ramp. 

Working around the tides

For the contractors, Andrew Scott work
on the beach has to be planned around the tides, which in this part of
the Bristol Channel are the second highest rise and fall in the world,
(second to the Bay of Fundy, which borders North America and Canada and
has an extreme range of 16.3 metres). On a big spring tide the range
from low water to high water can be as much as 14.8 Metres! (48’6″)

other problem is that each time the tide comes in it deposits water,
mud and silt in the foundation rings, this has to be cleaned out prior
to work being carried out.

Littlejohn, RNLI’s shoreworks divisional manager for the South West, said: ‘Work on the foundations of the new lifeboat station is a
significant step forward and a very exciting one. Although not visibly
obvious, we can now start to see the building itself start to grow up
out of them and begin to take shape.

‘Working around the tide is not
easy and takes enormous organisation. Unfortunately it sometimes means
that building work starts very early in the morning or at awkward times
for local residents. The contractors Andrew Scott have tried to keep
this to a minimum as much as possible but we are very grateful for the
patience of those in the surrounding buildings.’

The RNLI are
building the new lifeboat station ahead of a formal adoption of The
Portishead Lifeboat Trust when the station is built, according to the
wishes of the charity’s trustees who agreed that an adoption would take
place once the RNLI had provided a new home that was fit for purpose.

Pictures: Drilling bore
holes for ground source heating; Work on the
beach, tide out; Six hours
later, tide in; Piling on
foundations for launch ramp. Credit: RNLI/Dave Herbert