On Friday the 1st April, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Admiral of the Sea Cadets, attended the official opening of the brand new Sea Cadet Port Edgar Boat Station in South Queensferry.
The fantastic new boating and residential venue is an incredible state-of-the-art facility which will give Sea Cadets from across the United Kingdom more opportunities to enjoy the water.
After being greeted by a fantastic performance by The Royal Marines Band, HRH witnessed the Cadets take part in drill and watersports. Following a tour of the new facility, HRH enjoyed cutting a large cake with three Sea Cadets and unveiling the commemorative plaque.
On her first official engagement as Admiral of the Sea Cadets, The Princess Royal commented that the new boat station was ‘an exceptional place’ and expressed her hope that Port Edgar Boat Station ‘will be home for many generations of sea cadets.’ She also praised the charity for the opportunities it offers to young people, telling the cadets: ‘Sea Cadets has quite a history – a history that you keep adding to’.
Captain Neil Downing (Captain Sea Cadets), was also in attendance and set the scene for how crucial the new facility was for the Sea Cadets. He said: ‘This location is perfect to learn how to row and sail. It used to be far from the water with basic facilities. The new boat station brings ideal water access, training and residential opportunities.
‘With the £1.65 million investment, we hope more Sea Cadets will be able to achieve a minimum of 30 hours of boating a year. With 34 existing units within two hours of Port Edgar Boat Station, this facility is ideally located.’
‘This is all part of our commitment to reaffirming the “Sea” in “Sea Cadets”.’
Able Cadet Hutchinson, a local to Port Edgar, also took to the stage to extol her Cadet experience and to explain what Port Edgar Boat Station means to her.
Having first attended when she was 12, pre-pandemic, she found the facility to be like a big extended family. Over the years she gained various qualifications and since restrictions have eased she has clocked up over 200 hours of sailing at the Boat Station.
Hutchinson said: ‘I enjoy sailing as there’s no better feeling of being out on the water having fun with like-minded friends, enjoying the peace of the sea, and escaping everyday life.’
As well as offering plenty of off-shore opportunities (rowing, sailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, powerboating, and windsurfing), Hutchinson was keen to point out that Port Edgar also gave Cadets a multitude of on-shore experiences, such as catering and mountain biking.
She closed her impressive speech by saying: ‘Port Edgar Boat Station must be one of the best facilities in the country. No two weekends are the same and you’re always made to feel welcome.’
From the smiles on the guests’ faces, to the pride with which the Cadets paraded, it was evident that all in attendance were thoroughly impressed by not just the new facility, but the Sea Cadet programme itself.
Photographs: Royal Navy