Whitstable Maritime aims to help residents, visitors and students enjoy exploring the town’s coastal connections – past, present and future.
Restoration of Historic Craft – The Gamecock
The last surviving Oyster Yawl built in Whitstable that worked all its life offshore dredging for local oysters has been purchased by Whitstable Maritime. A team of local volunteers led by trained shipwrights is restoring the vessel to working order.
When fully restored, the oyster yawl will be used to promote environmentally sustainable dredging by sail; adventure training for Sea Cadets; sail training to RYA Day Skipper level for apprentices; practical experience of Shipwright’s artisan skills; Red Letter Days for private and commercial clients, including corporate team building; and social prescribing for patients with a mental illness who would benefit from being a crew member.
Events – Harbour Day
A second team engages the public in a programme of events building on the town’s maritime connections. An annual maritime festival stimulates the local economy and provides opportunities for local charities to raise their profile by exhibiting a maritime theme. The event attracts 10,000 visitors and is attended by over a dozen modern and traditional vessels that berth in the harbour.
The Coastal Trail
A third team is creating an interactive coastal trail from Whitstable to Faversham that uses smartphone technology and GPS location to provide interpretations of the industrial archaeology, marine environment, history and landscape of the coastal zone. This programme focuses on the changes to the coastline, both past and present.
Nationally recognised as being of historical significance, Gamecock will form the hub of a new centre that will help interpret the town’s maritime heritage, promote responsible tourism, and encourage active learning about the coastal zone.
The economic and social stimulus provided to the town will increase as the charity broadens the visitor offer. Its education programme will attract pupils, students and adult learners from South East England and Northern Europe, and by working in partnership with the public, private and voluntary sectors, the charity will increasingly provide employment opportunities for boat builders, fishermen, sailing instructors, guides and traders.