New Harbour Master For Portsmouth

31 January 2011, 12:01 | Updated: 16 February 2011, 10:24

The new Queen's Harbour Master has arrived at Semaphore Tower this week to take over the task of keeping Portsmouth harbour safe and secure.

Commander Nigel Hare has succeeded Commander Stephen Hopper as Queen's Harbour Master and will oversee one of the busiest ports in the country.

A Specialist Navigating Officer, Cdr Hare has served across the world on global operations, commanded the minehunter HMS Cromer and was seconded to the Spanish Navy - which he cites as one of his most enjoyable experiences.

"I have wanted to be QHM for a number of years now," he said. "It is one of the best jobs in the Royal Navy - it is a very hands on job that comes with a lot of responsibility in ensuring that the day-to-day running of the port goes smoothly and safely.

"It is a large operation - I have control of 55 square miles of water including a large part of the Solent with over 150,000 planned movements in and around Portsmouth every year, and that's just counting the military and commercial ships and not including the considerable and important recreational traffic that we look after."

Cdr Hare, who lives in North Hampshire with wife Sandra and their two children, was born in Lewes and joined the Royal Navy in 1980. Earlier in his career he served on board frigates HMS Brilliant and Broadsword before taking up the post of navigating officer on HMS Brazen. Shortly afterwards he was seconded to the Spanish Navy on board their training ship Juan Sebastian de Elcano.

"This was a great experience for me," he said. "I was part of the training staff looking junior Spanish officers and we visited Chile, Peru, Brazil and then Charleston and New York, I was very lucky".

"I was also awarded the General Service Medal with the Gulf Clasp for a series of patrols in the late 1980s - that was an interesting time as there were some tense moments, we were out on the front line so as a young officer it was definitely an experience that I won't forget."

Cdr Hare later served on the staff of Britannia Royal Naval College as head of navigation before becoming second-in-command of a patrol ship in Hong Kong. He qualified as a warfare officer in 1992 and, shortly afterwards, as a Specialist Navigating Officer - meaning he can navigate several ships at once as part of a task group rather than just navigating one ship.

He then became responsible for navigation policy and standards for surface vessels in the Royal Navy before then taking command of HMS Cromer which was based in Scotland but spent most of its time in a NATO Force for two years.

After promotion to Commander he served in the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre in Wiltshire before becoming responsible to the Commander in Chief Fleet for the policy and standards of navigation and seamanship in all Royal Navy ships.

In his spare time Cdr Hare is a keen 5-a-side football player and plays lead guitar in a band - Anti Flash - which comprises both civilian and military players.