Falmouth pilot retires after 35 years and 14,000 ships
AN “outstanding advocate” of the shipping industry was presented with the Falmouth Coat of Arms this week in recognition of his 35-year career as the town’s senior pilot captain.
During his career David Barnicoat has piloted over 14,000 ships.
His service record has only been equalled by one other pilot since the Falmouth and District Pilot Boat Association was formed in 1887.
He received the coat of arms from Geoffrey Evans, Mayor of Falmouth, at the full council meeting on Monday.
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The coat of arms is only exceeded in prestige by the Freedom Scroll. Both honours recognise an outstanding contribution to Falmouth and are extremely rare.
Addressing the councillors, Mr Barnicoat said it had been a “very great privilege” to be pilot during his “marvellous career.”
In a parting political statement, he asked everyone to support the dredging of Falmouth harbour because of the commercial benefits to the town.
He said: “If you think Falmouth can survive on tourists and pasties and saffron buns you are very much mistaken.”
On September 14, he piloted his last vessel, the cruise liner Seabourn Pride, in his former role.
According to A&P Falmouth, well-wishers lined Pendennis Point and cruise ship passengers waved and applauded as Mr Barnicoat threw his Pilot’s hat into the wake of the ship as she sailed.
A&P’s tug Percuil then escorted the cruiser from port with water plumes spraying into the air.
Captain Mark Sansom, Falmouth Harbour Commissioners’ chief executive and harbour master, said: “David has provided a great service to the port and been an outstanding advocate of the shipping industry during his long career as a pilot in Falmouth.
“His love of ships and the sea is transparent to everyone who meets him and he has provided a warm welcome to countless ship masters over the years.
“He has a wonderful knowledge of the port and its history that he has shared generously with highly entertaining talks and books and a fantastic collection of photographs showing the many facets of the port and its customers.
Mr Sansom added that Mr Barnocoat had left a “legacy” of his knowledge and experience since helping to produce the new pilots’ training plan, illustrated with photographs.
The retired pilot was also involved in the recent project to provide new signage for the town and he took “great pride” in ensuring the historical accuracy of the signs produced.
Mr Sansom added: “All at Falmouth Harbour Commissioners congratulate him on his outstanding career and wish him a long and happy retirement.”