Sub-zero temperatures cause seawater to freeze

Prolonged sub zero temperatures are causing even the sea water at Whitehaven Marina to ice over. Marina Manager Simone Morgan reports that the ice is up to 10cm thick (almost 4 inches) in places and although the harbour does freeze over most winters, this is the first time in 5 years that so much of the marina has frozen over. While it provides a picturesque winter scene, the conditions are treacherous, with the marina staff working hard at gritting the pontoons and slipways to keep them as free from ice as possible.

Simone Morgan commented: “It’s amazing to see the salt water freeze over like this – and there’s even mini icebergs floating around in Lowther Marina in shady areas where the sun hasn’t had a chance to thaw the ice. Anyone coming down to check on their boats should take extra care when walking on the pontoons and ensure that children and dogs are kept well away from the ice; no-one should venture onto ice, under any circumstances.

The marina, on the NW coast of England, has also announced that the Whitehaven Sea Lock will be closed from 0800 hours on 20th January 2010 reopening at 2300 hours on Saturday 6th February 2010, in order to undertake a full maintenance programme of both the Lock and the marina infrastructure.

During this time there will be NO access whatsoever through the lock in either direction. Mark Bowden, Whitehaven Marina Operations Director commented: “We’re really grateful that the Whitehaven Commissioners are funding these very important works. We will be overseeing the whole programme very closely, ensuring that the disruption to marina users is kept to a minimum. The primary tasks include the installation of new lock bearing thrust washers, gate seals, upgrading the lock operating software and overhauling the hydraulic equipment. However all this work now means that in future years, the sea lock will be closed for a shorter period.”