I am part of the five man team that makes up the Buoy Yard team at Harwich. We are the guys responsible for the processing and building of the entire range of our buoys that our boats put out.
On a typical day or week in the Buoy Yard we would receive ‘dirty’ buoys back from the ships and begin our process by jet-washing the buoys to clean them before moving them on to the grit booth where we grit blast certain areas, then move the buoy to the welding bay for repairs and air testing. This is followed by lug testing whereby we pull on the buoy's mooring and lifting lugs to a set force to check that they are strong and fit for purpose. Next, it's back in for a full grit down, followed by a trip to the spray paint booth where it is undercoated and then marked up and top coated with its relevant colour.
The same processes will be applied to the superstructure with the exception of air and lug testing. The superstructure can then be built, have its solar package fitted and the signage applied to identify the buoy before being bolted on to the top of the buoy.
As a Buoy Yard Team Member I am expected to and able to carry out all aspects of this job including building the solar packages and designing the signs.
As one of three crane drivers in the yard I also assist with loading and unloading the vessels and assisting the techs with lightvessel work.
We are also all trained to drive various pieces of plant and machinery and have to undergo regular training for first aid and working at heights.
All in all the buoy yard is a great place to work. We are a close knit team and are all good friends both in and out of the workplace. We are all trained in all aspects, meaning you get to rotate your workload and the job you are doing on a regular basis. There is never a dull day in the buoy yard.