There aren’t many of the Waterdance fleet that work over such a wide area, and Berlewen is also one of the smallest fishing vessels the company operates. Built in 2002 as a gill netter to fish from Padstow, Waterdance and skipper Tom Rainbird bought the 14.97 metre boat in 2016, and it has worked hard ever since. Although it still has a Padstow registration, Berlewen has fished all around the UK searching for crabs and whelks, and currently Tom Rainbird and his three crew focus solely on fishing whelks, hauling and shooting 1600 pots every day they are at sea.

‘We fish trips of five to six days,’ he said. ‘If the fishing’s good, we’ll shoot the pots back where they were. If it’s poor, we’ll move on and rest those grounds.’

While they fish for whelks year-round, their fishing grounds are seasonal, working in the English Channel during the summer months, but further north during the winters.

‘We spend winters in the Irish Sea or the North Sea, depending on where the fishing is best. So we can be anywhere from Grimsby to the Isle of Man,’ he said.

This semi-nomadic fishing pattern means that their landing ports vary, from Portsmouth of Shoreham during the summer, to Grimsby, Lowestoft or Ramsgate when fishing in the North Sea, or Fishguard if they are working Irish Sea fishing grounds. Berlewen’s catches are collected and shipped in a refrigerated truck to shellfish processing specialist Coombe Fisheries in Barnstaple.


Method: Potter
Call Sign: VQRW6
Registered Port: Padstow
Home Port:  Brixham
Port Letters: PW1
Overall Length: 14.97m
Breadth: 5.9m
Year Of Build: 2002
Place of Build: UK
Date Into Service:  17/03/2003
Skipper: Tom Rainbird
Area Fished: UK Wide
Fish Caught: Whelks