Ships in Falmouth Bay
Why are there so many ships at anchor in the Falmouth bay? A question often asked to which there are a variety of answers.
Shadowed by The Lizard peninsular, Falmouth Bay stands at the gateway to the Western approaches and close to the world’s busiest shipping lanes. It provides a wide deep water area for shipping to shelter during any severe weather. Falmouth Docks have a refuelling service for shipping (known as bunkering). Local bunkering tankers can often be seen alongside visiting ships to pass over fuel for onward voyages. The position of Falmouth as a port is significant as ships pass close by on their track heading up the English Channel. Just east of Falmouth the maritime authorities have imposed a zone covering most of the northern European coastline, within which ships must for cleaner environmental reasons use a fuel with a low sulphur content.
A&P, the owners of Falmouth Docks offer ship owners a wide range of services in ship repair, refitting, painting and general maintenance. With extensive facilities including the use of 3 dry docks, all of which can be easily seen by stopping by at the lookout area from the road that circle Pendennis Headland. Some of the ships seen in the bay may just be waiting to enter the docks for such repair or maintenance work.
Here at Falmouth we often host some of the Royal Navy’s Fleet, particularly the auxiliary ships HMS Mounts Bay, Lyme Bay and Argos.
We also welcome each year approximately 30 cruise ships to Falmouth. A few that are too big to enter the inner harbour anchor out in the bay. Small tender boats ferry the passengers ashore to visit the town or take coach trips to see other great and familiar areas of Cornwall.
Falmouth Harbour and the Carrick Roads form the third deepest natural harbour in the world, and the deepest in Western Europe. Despite this there are still controversial plans to dredge deeper the inner harbour. This would allow larger cruise and other commercial ships access to get alongside which would be a huge economic benefit to Falmouth and Cornwall.
Did you know
The Queen Elizabeth dock ( Pictured top left) holds 128 million litres or water and can be emptied in three hours.
A good lookout point to see the superb views across the site and Falmouth harbour would be to take the road Castle Drive towards Pendennis Point. Do make sure you head on up there when in Falmouth to have a closer look.