Meet Association President Ashley Nicholson MBE

Forth Ports Group – Grangemouth, Rosyth, Leith, Dundee, Tilbury, Fife Ports

Type of port (Trust, Private, Municipal etc)?
Private Ports Group

Main Commodities handled (imports and exports)?
Bulk & Break Bulk cargo, Containers, Oil Products, Offshore and renewable energy support

Do you operate a pilotage service?
Yes via mixed external and internal provision across all Port operations

Do you operate a VTS or port information service?
Yes VTS & Local Port services

Do you have locks or enclosed docks?
Yes Tidal and enclosed docks at Grangemouth, Tilbury and Leith

Maximum vessel dimensions?
From the largest Bulk carriers and cruise vessels to much smaller vessels dependent on the Individual Port Operation

Tidal range?
Again mixed across all or our Port and Harbour Operations

Port normal working hours?
24/7 or where tidal constraints apply

Do you have Byelaws or Directions?
Both at the the larger Forth Ports Operational Harbours



Your official title/position?
Senior Harbour Master

Years in post?
3 in current role – 6 years as Harbour Master

Greatest daily challenge?
Balancing a challenging career with a busy home life.

Most satisfying achievement?
Being appointed President of the UKHMA (of course!)

Favourite free time activity?
Cycling and Hill Walking

How many people work for the Harbour Master?
13 Direct Reports



What time is set on your alarm clock?

What can’t you start your day without?
My workout and lots of Coffee

Do you have a morning routine?

Workout, Get Ready, Commute, Breakfast – Tackle the inbox!

Does it vary dramatically by day of the week or season?
Not really, every day is different but being on the East Coast of Scotland a strong Easterly usually makes for an interesting day!



What’s the strangest thing you’ve encountered in your Port/Harbour?
Pre Covid, we had a suspected outbreak of the Bubonic Plague on a vessel – it was not, so no need to panic!

What’s your one piece of advice to someone who would like to follow a career as a Harbour Master?

Do it – it will be challenging but also extremely rewarding and no 2 days are the same.

What’s the best bit about your day/job? 

No two days are the same, you are always learning on the job!

Do you have fun facts about your Port/Harbour?

Many across all of our Ports Operations, however many that I cannot place on here to protect the innocent and the guilty!



Ashore or Afloat?

Sail or Motor?

Flood or Ebb?

Summer or Winter?

Sunrise or Sunset?

Tea or coffee?

Laptop or Tablet?

Smartphone or iPhone?

Social Media or Quiet Life?
Quiet Life

What gets you through a working day?
Support and professionalism from all my colleagues and a great home life.