Jet skiers successfully prosecuted by PLA

A jet skier who flouted speed limit and safety rules on the tidal Thames has been fined, following a successful prosecution by the Port of London Authority. Kestutis Abramavicius, 36, was captured on video by a member of the public as he sped along the river near Benfleet Creek, Canvey Island, Essex. Westminster Magistrates Court heard how the offence took place in October last year. Abramavicius, of Dukes Avenue, Grays, admitted “navigation without due care and attention” under Section 108 of the Port of London Act. He was fined £750 and ordered to pay costs of more than £3,000. The court was told that there is an eight-knot speed limit throughout the Canvey Island area, which is in place to protect river users and the environment. He was identified with the help of Essex Police by the checking of launching records at a local slipway which matched the description of his distinctively coloured jet ski. Benfleet Creek is an environmentally protected area for its habitats and vegetation. Wash generated by the jet ski had the potential to affect this sensitive environment, the court was told yesterday (Wednesday 8 May). The prosecution comes in the wake of a similar incident, where Lee Martin, 31, from Gravesend was last month fined £2,750 and ordered to pay costs of more than £3,500 for ignoring a ban on jet skiing on the river in central London. After the hearing, PLA chief harbour master Bob Baker said: “We think this prosecution, following on from last month’s jet ski case, will again serve as a warning to river users. If you break the rules, we will take action. “We are also very grateful to the member of the public who recorded the offender committing the offence. Their help was vital to this prosecution and it demonstrates just how concerned people are about safety on the river and its environment.”

Beware of sunken barge at Lower Halstow

Peel Ports advise that the floating dock/converted barge Westmoreland, that has been moored between two large yellow mooring buoys to the north of the Lower Halstow Yacht Club moorings, has sunk. It is still made fast to the two yellow marker buoys fore and aft but is covered at high water. The centre of the barge between the two yellow buoys is marked by floating pellet buoys. Mariners should navigate with caution due to this submerged danger to navigation. Approximate position 51 23.00N 000 40.60E. The owner is aware and will be dealing with the situation.

Garrison Point traffic warning light reinstated

Peel Ports have issued a notice that the flashing white warning light on top of Garrison Point for big ships going in or out of the Medway is now working again.

The Traffic Warning Light is positioned to assist vessels in complying with General Direction No. 10, Navigation of Vessels of more Than 130 Metres length Overall Between Sunset and Sunrise and in Restricted Visibility. The Traffic Warning Light is a white light that flashes every seven seconds and is normally exhibited by day and by night as follows;
• When an inward bound vessel of more than 130 metres Length Overall is underway in the buoyed channel between the Medway Buoy and Darnett Ness the lights are exhibited in an upriver direction.
• When an outward bound vessel of more than 130 metres Length Overall is underway in the buoyed channel between Darnett Ness and the Medway Buoy the lights are exhibited in a seaward direction.
Further information may be obtained from Medway VTS on VHF Channel 74, call sign “Medway VTS” or telephone 0151 949 6148 or 0151 949 6650.

Medway and Thames 2019 tide tables now online

Thanks to Roger Clark for sharing this information.

Sheerness tides: https://www.peelports.com/media/4134…ess_2019_p.pdf

Chatham tides: https://www.peelports.com/media/4133/chatham_2019_p.pdf

PLA tides: http://www.pla.co.uk/assets/pla-tide-tables-2019.pdf (loads of useful info – distances, bridge heights, barrier information etc as well as tides for Walton, Margate, Shivering Sands, Southend, Tilbury etc) 

Annual Leisure Craft Conservancy Charges

Peel Ports Medway have made some alterations to the season for the collection of Annual Leisure Craft Conservancy and Yacht Mooring charges. Historically the Annual Leisure Craft Conservancy and Yacht Mooring Charges have been charged for the season 1st April – 31st March yearly.

In the future, as from April 2019, the Annual Leisure Craft Conservancy and Yacht Mooring charges will be charged for the period 1st January – 31st December yearly. Therefore the 2019 charges will be pro-rated to reflect this change and the charge will show a nine months pro-rated charge from 1st April 2019- 31st December 2019.

The new rates also include an increase of 3.3% as per the RPI guidelines. Therefore the 9 months pro-rata charges 1st Apr-31st Dec 2019 are as follows:

  •            Yacht Club Leisure Craft Conservancy charge = £ 52.07 (VAT Inc.)
  •            Yacht Club Yacht Mooring charge = £73.81 (VAT EX)

Going forward the charges shall be levied on the 1st January each year for the season starting 1st January 2020- 31st December 2020. If you need further assistance in the explanation of the new changes of the Medway tariff please do not hesitate to contact pauline.pardoe@peelports.com  or telephone 01795 596444.

It’s getting worse! Please report all PWC incidents

Although many owners of personal watercraft (PWCs or jetskis) are responsible, anyone can see reckless and irresponsible behaviour almost any day on the Medway and the Swale. These craft are usually launched from Commodore’s Hard at Gillingham, where the MSBA has installed a high definition camera (see video above), or near Kingsferry Bridge on the Swale, where jetskiers have regularly tried to sink small craft on the boat club moorings presumably for fun. There have been several life-threatening incidents but the perpetrators are invariably abusive when challenged. At Gillingham the Medway Watersports Centre has had to cancel youth activities because of the jetskiers’ apparently drunken and dangerous behaviour. Peel Ports, as the statutory harbour authority, have a duty to enforce the bye-laws but will not do so unless we report all incidents. Please download the form below and use it to report ALL incidents to the MSBA and we will pass them on to Peel Ports.  Email your reports to secretary@msba.org.uk

Peel Ports PWC incident form

Keep 800 yards NW of Montgomery wreck buoys

To clarify the previous article on our website, Peel Ports Notice to Mariners No 20 of 2018 warns us to stay at least 4 cables (approx 800 yards) to the north west of the restricted area marked by the yellow danger buoys around the Montomery wreck until 1st June 2019 (i.e. next year), as shown on this chartlet. The red star shows the location of the oceanographic recording equipment, which is only marked by three small red floats.

Clubs and organisations which hold races and other events that go round the wreck, such as the Admiral’s Cruise, may need to find an alternative turning mark.

Avoid Montgomery wreck

From 23 May 2018 to 1June 2019 oceanographic recording equipment will be placed on the seabed just NW of the Wreck Exclusion Zone.

The equipment consists of a seabed Lander marked by 3 red buoys and deployed NW of the Wreck Exclusion Zone for the entire period.

Mariners are requested to keep a minimum of 4 cables clear of the exclusion zone marked by the permanent yellow buoys.

Police chase PWCs

John Wall took a video of the police RIB chasing the PWCs up the Medway on 28 April. There is a 6 knot speed limit upstream of Folly Point and the wash from speeding vessels is a danger to boaters in dinghies going to their moorings. The MSBA has a CCTV camera at Gillingham Strand, where the PWCs are usually launched, to monitor antisocial and irresponsible activities on the river.