“Bob” goes over board

MOB drillThe MSBA has purchased a life-sized inflatable doll for use of our members. He’s called B-OB (or just Bob for short); you fill him with water and chuck him over the side to practise your person overboard drill. As water has a similar density to a human body, this is far more realistic than the bucket-and-fender that you have may have used for MOB training. It’s surprisingly hard to get Bob, or a real person, back onto your boat so take this opportunity to try out the recovery techniques that you may have to rely on for real one day. Some of the ones you read in magazines just don’t work!

Bob is in the custody of Mark Evans, the Harbour Controller at Queenborough. If your club would like to run a practice session, email Mark at operations(at)queenborough-harbour.co.uk to arrange a mutually convenient collection.

Oyster trestles obstruct navigation at Whitstable

Following a complaint by Whitstable Yacht Club, a report published on the Marine Management Organisation’s website acknowledges that the presence of oyster trestles causes or is likely to cause obstruction or danger to navigation, whilst concluding that the farm’s operations are nevertheless acceptable as a low risk to marine navigation.

In response, the RYA has formally written to the Director of Marine Licensing at the MMO setting out their concerns with the report and arguing that the measures put in place since the investigation started do not negate the need for a marine licence. The RYA considers that these trestles require a full marine licence on the basis that they could cause obstruction or danger to navigation.

Read more on RYA website…

Huge Fire at Iron Wharf, Faversham

Fire at Faversham

Photo Dan Salter

In the early hours of this morning, a huge blaze has destroyed eight boats, three cabins and a workshop at Iron Wharf, Faversham.

UPDATE: A 30 year old man has been arrested on suspicion of arson.

Read more at Kent Online…

CA Relaunches Lobster Pot Campaign

Poorly marked lobster pots and fishing gear are the most difficult and unpredictable hazard facing coastal cruising people. Fishermen, too, report the loss of expensive gear as a result of entanglements. These encounters could even be life-threatening. In one year alone the RNLI dealt with 295 incidents of fouled propellers. Most Cruising Association members say they would try to sort the problem out themselves so this could be a fraction of the actual number. One lifeboat station said 25% of their call-outs were purely from boats caught up in fishing gear.

Sign the Government petition here

Lower Halstow YC to feature in TV series about the RNLI

The Sheerness Inshore Lifeboat carrying out a rescue at Lower Halstow YC will feature in a TV series on BBC2 starting on Wednesday 16 August at 8pm. Saving Lives At Sea tells the story of the volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards of the RNLI who rescue thousands of people and save hundreds of lives around our coastline and on the River Thames every year.

Rochester Pier closures, 15 and 21 July

On Sat 15 July and Fri 21 July Medway Council will be using Rochester Pier for fireworks: 15 July for Castle Concert Proms, 21 July for Medway Mile. For safety reasons access will not be allowed from 10am each morning for a 24hr period.

Garrison Point Traffic Warning Light no longer working

Peel Ports advise that the Traffic Warning Light on top of the Garrison Point Fort is no longer operative. It was a bright white light that flashed every seven seconds by day and night to warn of large (>130 metres LOA) vessels underway in the buoyed channel as follows:

  • When such a vessel was inward bound between the Medway Buoy and Darnett Ness the light shone in an upriver direction.
  • When such a vessel was outward bound between Darnett Ness and the Medway Buoy the light shone in a seaward direction.

“Medway in Flames” Exclusion Zone, 17 June

Medway on Fire exclusion zoneOn the evening of 17 June from 21.40 to 22.40, a Temporary Exclusion Zone will be established from a line drawn perpendicularly across the river from Upnor Jetty (51°24.56´N 000°31.80´E) to a line drawn perpendicularly across the river at Whitewall Creek (51°23.90´N 000°31.40´E) as shown on the chartlet (left).

Between these times no vessel shall navigate, anchor or be secured to a mooring buoy, within the area, without the express permission of the Harbour Master.

The Temporary Exclusion Zone will be in place to facilitate the safe conduct of a firework and water screen display (“Medway In Flames”). Six barges will be positioned in the following locations:

  • 51° 24.22´ N 000° 31.82´ E
  • 51° 24.38´ N 000° 31.88´ E
  • 51° 24.06´ N 000° 31.72´ E
  • 51° 24.08´ N 000° 31.59´ E
  • 51° 24.20´ N 000° 31.64´ E
  • 51° 24.32´ N 000° 31.68´ E

Pontoons will run between the barges positioned on the west side of the river. Medway VTS will broadcast the start and completion of the exclusion zone on VHF 74. Mariners are reminded that no vessel shall navigate at a speed above 6 knots through the water Westwards of Folly Point.

New Sheppey inshore lifeboat

RNLI ILB BusterSheppey’s new inshore lifeboat has been named Buster after a 99-year-old man who loved “messing about in boats”. The D-class rigid inflatable, with a top speed of 25 knots, was delivered to Sheerness on August 11 and has already been on 34 call-outs. On Sunday, more than 100 volunteer crew, supporters and friends of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute gathered in Queenborough’s Elephant Park to give the 5m-long rescue boat its name. Brian Mills, Buster’s son who sprayed champagne over the bows of the £52,000 boat, said: “It was a very proud moment for me to name the boat after my late father.

Speeding PWC causes crew to fall from mast in Gillingham Reach

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.”