The pontoons on Lynn’s South Quay. Picture: Paul Tibbs

Work to extend the pontoons in King’s Lynn got under way this week as part of a borough council-led project to promote sailing in and around The Wash.

The Sail The Wash programme, which received £679,000 Coastal Communities funding last March, aims to enhance existing facilities and create more opportunities for leisure craft wanting to visit The Wash and surrounding waterways.  

Led by West Norfolk Council in partnership with Fenland District Council and Lincolnshire County Council, the project includes practical improvements to the mooring and navigational infrastructure throughout The Wash area. 

It will include the pontoon extensions on Lynn’s South Quay and on the River Nene at Sutton Bridge next year, as well as the development of marketing and promotional materials to establish a Sail The Wash brand.  

A council spokesman said: “This will attract additional tourism to the area which will support the local tourist economy and promote local business.

“The Wash is a notable attraction for visitors. It is a designated European Marine Site, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is incorporated into the Greater Wash Special Protection Area.  

“It provides a unique experience for leisure boating in the UK and from further afield.”

The work in Lynn is expected to take around eight weeks, subject to the weather and tides.

Peter Gidney, cabinet member for project delivery, said: “This venture will increase the capacity of the moorings and strengthen Lynn’s position as a destination for UK and international maritime visitors. 

“This important development widens the scope of tourism for West Norfolk and the UK. Further funding opportunities to develop this theme are being looked at as well.

“This work represents the first steps towards that goal. COVID has caused some delays to the programme, but we are pressing ahead to get the works completed within the funding timescales. 

“We hope to be promoting the enhanced facility for the next season. We are already working on an updated website with up-to-date navigation and anchorage surveys, which will make it easier and safer for leisure boats to travel between port destinations.”

The Wash is fed by four rivers which drain a vast area stretching from Bedford, Northampton and Market Harborough up to Grantham, and provides diverse habitats for a wide range of species.

The Lynn pontoons are closed to visitors during the works, but the road is unaffected.

A Marine Mammal Observer will be on site throughout the project to ensure there is no harm to marine life, a council spokesman said.