The MSBA is saddened and shocked that local author, Nick “ditch crawler” Ardley, has received a threat to burn his beloved wooden yacht following his expression of anger at boats anchoring overnight in Stangate Creek. Apparently someone believes Nick has “dobbed” them to the police. On his Facebook page, Nick has made it clear that he did not identify any individual or vessel, though at least two dozen were displaying their boat name on AIS on the late May bank holiday, thus incriminating themselves. Many boaters from both the Essex and Kent side of the Estuary have expressed support for Nick and advised him to take the matter to the police immediately. Whatever our views on the practicalities of the current coronavirus laws, such a threat is a serious criminal matter and cannot possibly be condoned.
|Imray Live with Dick Holness, Friday 5 June 1800 BST|
Dick Holness, co-author of East Coast Pilot, will talk you through the founding of this well loved guide to the waters of England’s east coast from Great Yarmouth to Ramsgate. You’ll hear about what’s involved with putting it together, the update process and the running of the website. And you’ll find out who John Goode is too!
Join the Q&A and share your thoughts, questions and feedback in the Comments section.
Visit Imray’s Facebook page for more details and to join the event
Local “ditch crawler” Nick Ardley has expressed anger at the two dozen boats anchored overnight in Stangate Creek at the bank holiday weekend and has written to Kelly Tolhurst, the Shipping Minister and MSBA Patron. He points out that the current law is clear that we must all return to our homes overnight and not stay in caravans, second home or boats. He concedes that, while being in a boat is a perfect way to self isolate, the law is clear. The RYA has published a guide to help us understand how it applies to boating:
Peel Ports have issued a notice to mariners warning of an obstruction with only a foot of water over it, right in the middle of the river by the Russian submarine. The survey team and divers say it seems to be a sunken boat.
“During a recent hydrographic survey of the Port of Rochester an unknown obstruction, possibly a wreck, has been identified in Bridge Reach. The obstruction is marked with an unlit, yellow ‘can’ buoy denoted “Wreck”. The depth above the obstruction at chart datum is approx. 0.3m. Mariners transiting Bridge Reach should navigate with extreme caution. When available, divers will be deployed to ascertain the nature of the object which will assist with the Port Authority’s subsequent actions.”
UPDATE: 7.5.2020 (Notice to Mariners 23/2020)
“Diving operations are due to take place in Bridge Reach, Port of Rochester to ascertain the nature of an unknown submerged obstruction. Dive works are planned for Wednesday 13th May 2020 will be carried out over the morning low water period. The dive team will be working from the Briggs Marine vessel “Forth Linesman”, who will be monitoring VHF Channel 74 at all times. All passing vessels are required to navigate with extreme caution and minimise their wash. Diving is expected to be concentrated around the following approximate position: 51 23’.72 N – 000 30’.34 E”
UPDATE 22.5.2020 (Notice to Mariners 23/2020)
Diving operations are due to take place in Bridge Reach, Port of Rochester to remove a submerged obstruction confirmed during previous dive ops. Dive works are planned for Thursday and Friday 28th / 29th May 2020 and will be carried out over the late morning low water periods. The dive team will be working from the Briggs Marine vessel “Forth Linesman”, who will be monitoring VHF Channel 74 at all times. All passing vessels are required to navigate with extreme caution and minimise their wash.
Due to technical issues with salvage craft the planned diving operation detailed above is postponed until further notice. An update to this notice will be issued as soon as new dates are confirmed.
The 7 metre powerboat with outboard still attached has now been lifted and the warning buoys removed.
The bridge continues to be non-operational for leisure traffic due to the failure of Network Rail to replace the ancient motors. A temporary generator is only being used to lift for commercial traffic. Network Rail have told the MSBA that Kingsferry Bridge may not be fully operational until 25 April or potentially the middle of May.
Please advise Peter Norris (email@example.com), of any rallies or events that are scheduled to take place between now and the end of May, which require passage through Kingsferry bridge, as he is working with Network Rail to find a solution so that the bridge can be navigated at weekends and Bank Holidays.
Despite the Royal Navy’s proud 400-year association with Chatham, the RNSA has been given its marching orders from its modest base at the Historic Dockyard to make way for yet another housing development. The Sea Cadets and Sea Scouts who share the slipway and shore facilities will also have to go.
Network Rail have told us that, while work is being carried out to reinstate the power at Kingsferry Bridge, the bridge can only be lifted when there is a fitter on site, which is usually from 6am to 6pm Monday to Friday. Outside these hours, leisure craft will only be allowed through with commercial vessels. Because of the compromised state of the equipment at the bridge, the risk of failure is higher than normal. Failure would result in the closure of the bridge to trains, road vehicles and prevent it being lifted. If a fitter is on site, it can be reinstated quicker than if an on-call fitter must be called in.
Effectively then, Kingsferry Bridge will be out of action for the next three weekends and only available from 06:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday.
Following a recent report of the bridge operator refusing to lift for a yacht returning from Conyer to the Medway, the MSBA has sought clarification from Peel Ports. The bridge still has a problem with the main switch gear requiring a generator to be stationed on the A249 to enable lifts. Railtrack say they are “working hard” to source new parts to fix it, which is proving difficult. They have reduced the number of lifts to a minimum and are only allowing yachts through when there are shipping movements. We are told that commercial shipping takes priority.
UPDATE 6.2.2020: Network Rail expect to have the replacement switch gear in place within six weeks, possibly even sooner, so the emergency generator will no longer be needed. In the meantime boaters should check with the bridge operator on VHF channel 10, or Medway VTS on Channel 74, when the next bridge lift is expected to take place.
With small inflatable boats making their way across the English Channel we will get an insight as to how the UK Border Force deal with this problem and how we can help them.
We are all invited to these excellent Kent Cruising Association talks, which are held at 8pm at the Dog and Bear, Lenham, near Maidstone. It’s a good idea to book a meal (by 5pm please) on 01622 858219 for 7pm, before the talk. A special CA menu is available.
Helen Hofmann, Chair of the RYA London and South East region, says it’s not too late to grab a place at this Sunday’s cruising and racing conference at Eastbourne. More details...