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.”

Sheerness Lifeboat stats for 2016

Sheerness LifeboatStatistics from RNLI Sheerness for 2016:

  • Total launches in 2016 for the Sheerness lifeboats were 83.
  • A total of 86 persons were rescued with 4 being deemed as lives saved with casualty care being administered by the crew
  • 7 of the rescues involved persons under 18 years of age with the other 79 being over 18.

Huge wave swamps boat on Medway

On 28 February the Sheerness inshore lifeboat rescued two men in their 6 metre RIB after it was swamped near the Kingsnorth jetty. A spokesman for Sheerness RNLI said, “The men were actually out in the craft for the first time when they were swamped by a wave which caused total electrical and engine failure.” The boat was towed to Queenborough Harbour.

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Medway VTS Update

Peel Ports have issued a notice that while they are upograding the radar and CTV system, from the 25 January 2017 until further notice Medway VTS will be without primary radar coverage in Short Reach, Gillingham Reach and Pinup Reach. CCTV will also be temporarily interrupted in this area during the upgrade period.

NtoM No 08 of 2017 – Medway VTS Update

Interestingly the notice reminds vessels over 40m, with wheelhouse situated aft, that there must be a lookout stationed forward notifying the OOW of other vessel movements.  That’s good to know!

Pirates Cave Christmas Event, Thu 1 Dec

pirates-cave-eventSTOP PRESS: “FLARE AMNESTY”

It’s free on a first come, first served basis, with a minimum purchase of £10, or swap with like for like purchase of new flares.
Maximum 10 per person, with maximum capacity of 150 flares.

Kingsferry Bridge problems return

The MSBA has been made aware of the return of unacceptable practices by the bridge operators in October.

  1. Bridge operator not responding to repeated VHF calls on Ch 10 until contacted by Medway VTS.
  2. Bridge not being raised fully despite assurances given to the MSBA by the previous Senior Regional Operations Manager
  3. Operator calling boats through when ship approaching from opposite direction

We have filed an official complaint with Network Rail, listing dates and times of incidents, but have had an unsatisfactory reply that does not address these points. Network Rail say the bridge is only being lifted fully for commercial, not recreational, vessels and that the bridge will not be raised more than once per hour. Masts are expected to be lowered when possible.

Acorn Shipyard on Fire

This morning the emergency services were called to a major fire at Acorn Shipyard on the Rochester side of the River Medway. There were reports of gas cylinders exploding. The fire was brought under control by 11.30.

Read more at Kent Online…