The persons presently holding office as Commissioners are shown in the table below.

Captain Alison Towler Royal Navy (Chair)

Legal / Personnel / Safety

On the 14th March 2022, Alison Towler succeeded Tim Harford as Chair of the Commissioners.

3rd Term (Nov 2023 to Oct 2026)

Brought up on the north coast of Cornwall, Alison has spent most of her life living on or near the water. She served for 30 years in the Royal Navy as a logistics and legal officer both at sea and ashore in diverse management, advisory and adjudication roles. As a barrister she developed particular expertise in criminal, administrative and employment law, assisted in the formulation of government policy, drafted legislation and became an advisor to the Navy and Army Boards. Living locally since 2009, Alison is an experienced sailor and RYA Yachtmaster (Coastal). She is also a dedicated chorister at St Thomas' Church.

Sarah Unsworth

Legal / HR

1st Term (June 2023 to May 2026)

Sarah has lived in central Lymington for over 30 years. She is the Senior Partner of a prominent local law firm in the High Street, has been head of compliance for the firm, a training principal and HR partner. She works collaboratively as a family lawyer and is an accredited mediator. She is experienced in applying high standards , policies and procedures within an organisation.

Sarah has sailed on dinghies and on yachts for many years and enjoys club racing. She has owned a motor boat and Rib and enjoys being on the water as much as possible. Sarah is looking forward to help shape the future of the Lymington River for the benefit of the community. 

Chris Lisher

Health & Safety / Marine Safety (PMSC)

2nd Term (October 2021 to September 2024)

Chris spent his whole working career in the marine industry. Firstly, at sea as a Deck Officer and Master for several companies in the Merchant Navy, before moving into management in the submarine telecoms cable industry where he undertook roles in operations, project management and human resources, culminating in several years as a Director.

Chris then moved to a role as Chief Executive and Harbour Master at Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, where he worked until he retired from full time employment. During his time in Yarmouth Chris led projects to improve customer service by improving the layout of the harbour, refurbishing the facilities ashore and updating the processes and computer systems as well as renovating the pier. He is an avid bird watcher and is keen to keep the balance between a commercial viable harbour and the environment. Chris has lived in the Lymington area for the last 12 years.

Paul Harrison

IT / Business Development / Personnel

2nd Term (May 2024 to April 2027)

Paul holds a senior sales position for Thule Group. Previously he was Sales Director for Garmin UK and IRE.

His work background is mainly within Sales and General Management as well as time working overseas within the International yachting industry. Paul is passionate in ensuring the waters are open and accessible to all. This passion led him to be a member of the Salterns committee helping to maintaining opportunities for all local children.

Paul grew up in Lymington and now lives here with his wife and two children. Paul has been a regular user of the river from sailing with the 9th Lymington Scouts during the 80’s to regularly competing within the local keel boat events. Paul is proud to be also an active member of the Lymington Lifeboat crew. Paul is also a mooring holder and a member of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club.

Darren Longley


1st Term (1st January 2022 to 31st December 2024)

Darren has been an audit partner at Deloitte LLP for more than 20 years and has worked in London and across the South, including a period as Managing Partner of the Southampton Office. His clients have included businesses across the Marine industry including those involved in boatbuilding, marina development and operations, commercial shipping, cruise lines and fishery operations. He has also worked with a number of not for profit organisations.

Darren is a very experienced sailor, racing both dinghies and yachts. Darren is also a keen powerboater and enjoys nothing more than exploring the ports and creeks of The Solent. He keeps boats within The Haven and is a member of Lymington Town Sailing Club.

Darren is keen to bring his financial and commercial experience and his passion for all things nautical, to help Lymington harbour thrive, for the benefit of both current users, as well as future generations of the harbour’s users.


Mike Bowles

Port and Maritime Operations / Maritime Security

2nd Term (November 2023 to October 2026)

Mike served in the Royal Corps of Transport/Royal Logistic Corps for 34 years. During this time in the Army he specialised in port and maritime operations and was based at Marchwood Military Port for over 15 years in total. He also saw service in Germany, USA, the Falkland Islands and Brazil.

After leaving the Army he worked first in maritime security and then for the last 12 years as a Project and Race Director with Sail Training International, organisers of the Tall Ships Races.

He lists among his pastimes dinghy and offshore sailing. Born in Bournemouth, he and his wife now live in Brockenhurst where they have had a house for the last 30 years. They are both very involved in local organisations and are also members of Keyhaven Yacht Club.


John Morrow (Vice Chair)

Finance / Business

On 14th March 2022, John Morrow succeeded Alison Towler as Vice Chair of the Commissioners.

2nd Term (August 2023 to July 2026)

John is from a Southampton family and has lived in a number of Solent towns.

He studied Naval Architecture and after some time living abroad he moved to Lymington with his family in 1995. He worked in the oil business both internationally and in the U.K. until he retired in 2019, although he remains a non Executive Director of a North Sea oil company and a senior advisor to a number of companies.

John has been on the water from an early age both as a sailor and power-boater. He is a RYA Yacht Master Offshore and has owned a number of dinghies and keel boats over the years. He is a member of both Lymington Town Sailing Club and the Royal Lymington Yacht Club and is strongly committed to contributing to the management of Lymington Harbour and its continued protection and development.


Philip Naylor

Business / Safety

1st Term (January 2022 to January 2025)

Philip has worked in various sectors of the marine industry for over 45 years, initially serving at sea as a deck officer on passenger ships and then ashore where he was responsible for the safe and reliable operation of a fleet of cruise ships.

Philip was previously the Director of Maritime Safety & Standards for the Maritime & Coastguard Agency in Southampton. His role there included advising Ministers about the policy requirements for all areas of maritime safety, pursuing UK national interests through the International Maritime Organisation and promoting growth in the number of ships registered in the UK.

He has lived in the Hythe area for over 25 years and currently works for a leading yacht management company based in London.

In his spare time Philip can often be found walking in the Lymington nature reserve and around the Keyhaven Marshes, where he and his wife enjoy identifying the variety of birds which visit the area through the seasons.


Robert Willows


1st Term (November 2022 to October 2025)

Robert has had a lifelong interest in natural history spending his early years pottering on the shores of N. Wales. During a career of 35 years he has accumulated broad experience of the environment through research and supporting policy development and analysis.

He undertook a PhD in marine ecology in the early 1980's before joining Natural Environment Research Council's (NERC) Plymouth Marine Laboratory where he undertook research on mussel feeding, the effects of pollutants on their growth and the consequent impact on their avian predators (oystercatchers). As a Principle Investigator on NERC's Land-Ocean Interaction Study he researched the impact of estuarine shellfish in the erodibility of muddy estuarine cohesive sediment.

In order to undertake work more directly benefitting the environment he joined the Environment Agency where he led a small, national team managing research and undertaking specialist risk assessments, statistical analysis and modelling of impacts affecting air, land and water quality with consequences for human welfare and ecological health. This work supported environmental policy and the development and implementation of legislation and regulations. He worked closely with colleagues in Government, the European Commission and wider research community. He was the lead author on the UK Government's first (2003) guidance on assessing climate risk and managing adaptation to climate change.

Robert has recently moved to the New Forest area but can sometimes be found sailing dinghies in the waters around the Isles of Scilly. He is a member of the RYA's Planning and Sustainability Policy Committee and a member of Lymington Town Sailing Club.

Copyright Lymington Harbour Commissioners 2019 all rights reserved.