Will your club exist in ten years’ time? Our 2019 conference will focus on the future of our local clubs, which still form the core of active boating on the Medway and Swale. A major report has highlighted a decline in participation in most but not all watersports. Sailing in particular is in free fall. So what exactly is going wrong and what are we going to do about it? Key speakers Liz Rushall and Dave Selby will present different views on how our clubs can adapt to a changing world. Other speakers will present how local clubs are successfully dealing with ageing membership and new styles of boating. Get your earlybird ticket here…
Boaters on the non-tidal Medway and Thames are to be hit by inflation-busting increases in fees from next year. If boaters abandon these waterways the result will be counter-productive for the Environment Agency.
The public consultation on the EA’s proposed navigation charge increases for 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021 is now live here.
Please respond using this online tool which will enable the EA to manage their comments more effectively. However, if you prefer to respond by email or post, you can email email@example.com using ‘Navigation charge proposals 2019 to 2021’ in the title. You will get the consultation documents and a form in the post to complete. All responses must be received by Thursday 30 August 2018.
Some excellent news from the Medway River Users Association: The Environment Agency has announced that the proposals from the Canals and Rivers Trust to take over the running and responsibility for the Medway, Thames and Anglia have been rejected. So for now the EA will continue to manage the navigation of the non-tidal Medway for the foreseeable future.
On Sunday afternoon, 9 April, a man fell about 10 feet onto another crew member from the mast of a yacht moored in Gillingham Reach. While the injured man was given oxygen, the Sheerness Inshore Lifeboat fetched a paramedic from an ambulance waiting at Gillingham Marina and then transferred him ashore. We understand the man suffered broken ribs.
There were two jet skis and eight personal watercraft (PWCs) in the area at the time and some of these were creating a lot of wash which was a nuisance and hazard to youngsters being trained in dinghy sailing at the Strand. The speed limit here is 6 knots (approx 7mph). Trevor Peen, a director of Medway Watersports, radioed Medway VTS to report this activity but could not get a response. When he called by phone he was told there was nothing they could do.
Mr Peen said, “I have campaigned for several years for parties to manage this situation, which gets worse every year to the point that these PWCs can achieve speeds in excess of 50 mph. During the afternoon I overheard a call on the VHF that there was an incident 1 mile east of the marina. It just so happens that I also belong to the Medway Cruising Club where these moorings are, so I know the area well. I went down to slow traffic down in the river as someone had fallen from a mast, I was told by the people on the boat that three speeding PWCs had created so much wash that the guy fell from the mast.”
Mr Peen added, “Three years ago when there was an incident that involved these craft on a jetty at Gillingham Marina, I was interviewed by BBC South east. I said that until someone dies here then nothing will be done. I have reported these incidents so often including photos. Please don’t let someone’s son or daughter die at the Strand.”
Our three local MPs show us how it should be done today at the Medway Watersports Trust Open Day: (left to right) Kelly Tolhurst, Tracey Crouch and Rehman Chishti. Kelly is Patron of the MSBA and Tracey is Sports Minister. Tracey unveiled a new mural by Sharmaine Kwan. To the left you can see the parlous state of Medway’s only public slipway, known as Commodore’s Hard. The MSBA is campaigning for better public acess to the river.
Emergency services were called out last night after the family of a 46-year-old Londoner reported him missing and an empty kayak was found by the inshore lifeboat drifting on the River Medway. A Coastguard spokesman said: “Despite an intensive search from Rochester to the Kingsnorth Power Station we have been unable to locate the missing kayaker.”
FURTHER UPDATE: The kayaker has been named as Dale Vivian, general manager of a company based on the Medway City Estate. A post portem revealed he died of natural causes.
Those of us who venture up to the non-tidal Medway will be relieved to learn that the long awaited toilet and shower block at Yalding is now open. The facilities block has been built with volunteer labour and materials donated by generous sponsors.
Pictured here is Medway River Users Association chairman Mark Smurthwaite and the Head of the EA at the opening ceremony. Pictures of what followed are too graphic to show…