A floating pontoon has been installed in Plymouth as work to create the UK’s first National Marine Park gets underway.
Wild swimmers in the city will be able to use the swimming pontoon as part of a pilot scheme to see how popular it is before other developments on the coastline take place.
The Marine Park, known as Plymouth Sound, has been awarded £9.5 million of funding and the city’s council leader, Nick Kelly, is delighted with the new pontoon.
He said: "Hot on the heels of being awarded the funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to create the first National Marine Park, we are being pro-active in encouraging more people to enjoy the sound as safely as possible.
"By re-introducing the popular swimming pontoon we are demonstrating that we have listened to people’s requests and this is a practical measure that will help people feel safer whilst undertaking activities in the sea.
"It will be located off a popular swimming beach and is ideal for swimmers to rest if they get tired or should suffer from cramp.
"This is part of the new council administration’s continued commitment to improving our amazing waterfront and making the most of this spectacular location through investing in maritime facilities, allowing more people to benefit from our coastal waters and making accessing the sea easier.
"The pontoon is going to be in place for eight weeks over the summer season to see how well it is used and to monitor any issues, with plans to install larger and more permanent platforms next year."
The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership was allocated money from the Government’s Getting Building Fund to invest in major infrastructure projects to support economic growth across the city.
The pontoon is the latest new facility to be introduced along the waterfront owing to a grant worth £625,000 from the Getting Building Fund. New defibrillators have also been installed along the waterfront.
Karl Tucker, Chair of the Partnership, said: "The HotSW LEP’s Getting Building Fund aims to support shovel-ready projects that will contribute to our area’s post-COVID recovery and support sustained economic growth.
"We’re delighted to support Plymouth City Council with £625k from the fund towards the waterfront improvements, which will provide safer facilities for swimmers and improved digital infrastructure."