The stretch of shingle beach from which the fishing fleet launches has been known as 'The Stade' (the Saxon term for 'landing place') for over a thousand years. Hastings is one of Britain's oldest fishing ports. Boats have worked from the beach in front of the ancient town for over a thousand years, supplying Hastings with its basic industry and main tourist attraction.
The shingle beach has always been called the Stade. The word dates from before the 1066 battle of Hastings and means " landing place ". The Stade was origenally a small area between today's boating lake and coach park, but the building of the 1887 groyne at Rock-a-Nore and the 1896 harbour stopped shingle moving east along the coast. The result was that the Stade then steadily grew out to seaward, providing new room for the fishing fleet and many amenities.On the Stade is Britain's biggest fleet of beach-launched fishing boats. The boats have to be hauled out of the sea after each trip, which stops them being more than about ten metres long. This means that they can only carry small amounts of gear and travel just a few miles. As a result the fleet has always fished in an ecologically sound way.