Jet ski crashes into Sheppey beach

Following the recent spate of incidents of irresponsible and illegal behaviour by users of PWCs, Tim Bell has sent us this video of two lads crashing onto a beach at Minster after losing control of their jet ski. The Medway Ports by-laws have strict limits on speed and where personal watercraft can be used on the Medway and Swale. Video by Denis Gordo.

Anger at boats anchoring overnight

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:

£5m to cut the masts off the Monty

The Ministry of Defence is offering £5 million to have the masts removed from the wreck of the Richard Montgomery, an American liberty ship that broke her back and sank off Sheerness in August 1944, with 1400 tons (net explosive quantity of TNT) of explosives still on board. Tim Bell from Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club said, “I can see the sense in cutting the masts down because they are starting to collapse and rust and could fall onto the deck below where there are still 2,000 cases of cluster bombs.” More at KentOnline. Also see Tim Bell’s reply to this article. And the BBC website…

It’s Official: Return to boating from today!

The UK government now allows unlimited outdoor activities, including all watersports, in England from 13 May. Also there is no limit on car travel to enjoy these activities.

However only members of one household can be together. Also we must continue to observe hygiene and social distancing rules and be very careful to mitigate any risk to the emergency services. Boating is the safest outdoor activity (or “sport” if you prefer) for social distancing and many of us rely on it for our mental and physical well-being. However incidents of irresponsible boating behaviour risk jeopardising our new found freedom, so let’s take care!

Unlike other harbour authorities, Peel Ports have resisted the temptation to add to the confusion by imposing restrictions on recreational boating on the Medway and Swale. However clubs and marinas have been advised to carry out risk assessments and document procedures, so we should not rush back to our boats until these measures are in place.

RYA updated Covid-19 guidance for affiliated clubs.

British Marine Coronavirus Hub

Obstruction in Bridge Reach (Updated 28 May) – GONE

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.”

Buoys marking the wreck

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.

UPDATED 28.5.2020

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.

UPDATED 01.6.2020

The 7 metre powerboat with outboard still attached has now been lifted and the warning buoys removed.

RYA lobbies government on Coronavirus measures

The RYA has written to members after approaching the government on behalf of boaters who need to access their boats whilst respecting Covid-19 guidelines: “We believe there are measures that could be permitted within the existing Government guidance to allow access for essential maintenance – and this applies not just to marinas, but also to club dinghy parks and boats on moorings. … With all sports now beginning to consider recovery, our plans are now well advanced on our ‘return to boating strategy’ in collaboration with the Sport and Recreation Alliance and their representations to Cabinet Office, as well as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. We are looking forward to supporting a safe and appropriate return to the water and we will be getting the message over that there is a very strong case for boating to be one of the first activities that could be resumed safely within any necessary parameters for social distancing, once we start to see a relaxation of the current restrictions.”

Keep updated on the Coronavirus section of the RYA website…

Access to boats in marinas

The Coronavirus advice section of the RYA’s website mentions the following regarding access to boats in marinas, and presumably clubs with moorings:

The RYA is making representations to Government and the marinas sector trade body, The Yacht Harbour Association (TYHA) regarding the issues for boat owners arising out of the closure of marinas. This reflects the concerns of members who have contacted us about their inability to access their boats and protect their assets. We are acutely aware that worries about boat security, maintenance and the impact on insurance cover are all are creating anxiety and stress for boat owners at this time.

We are also making the case that there are many people who could visit their boat while adhering strictly to Government guidelines on hygiene and social distancing. For many, the opportunity to spend time on their boat and possibly do some simple maintenance or cleaning would greatly enhance their well-being and provide peace of mind in respect of the issues of concern.