Outboard thieves foiled at Queenborough

Recovering the stolen outboard from the Swale mud

Harbour Manager Emma Crompton tells us what happened. On the afternoon of 25 June, an alert mooring holder at Queenborough Harbour spotted three chaps in an inflatable dinghy removing an outboard from another boat. The harbour team quickly came over in the trot boat while the police were called. One of the thieves disembarked with the outboard in the mud by the coal washer, only to drop it in his struggle to get ashore. The other two went back to the slipway but when they saw the police they headed back to the coal washer area where they abandoned the dinghy. Their two vehicles contained marine equipment stolen from Devon the night before, though the three suspects, who were subequently arrested, were from Kent, though not local. The inflatable dinghy had been stolen from the tender park in March! Emma and some helpers managed to recover the outboard from the mud before the tide claimed it – see photo.

This just shows how brazen the thieves are and how important it is to be alert to suspicious activity.

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

Look out for Stolen Dinghy and Outboard

We have heard of more thefts recently from boats on the Medway. The latest is a report from Chrissie Peters of Segas SC:

“Our dinghy and outboard was stolen during the night while we were on board our boat. Please be aware there are thieves operating on the Medway.  The dinghy is a 12 foot dark green plastic Pioner tender, which we would love back if anyone sees it. The outboard is a Tohatsu 6hp, we don’t expect we will see it again. Stolen from moorings opposite Segas and Gillingham Strand, on Hoo side.
Please look out for the dinghy.”

This is similar to a theft a year ago from the HNYC moorings, when the dinghy was found abandoned without the motor. It seems many of these thefts are not reported to the police, so please email us at info@msba.org.uk with any information.

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.

MSBA launches CCTV to monitor rogue jetskis

Here’s some terrifying video from the new CCTV camera sponsored by the MSBA and hosted at Medway Cruising Club, giving a good view of Commodore’s Hard and Gillingham Reach. The antisocial and dangerous behaviour of some PWC/jetski users (and other speeding vessels) has been a safety issue for many years but neither the harbour authority nor the police have been able or willing to put a stop to it, despite the 6 knot speed limit. Gavin Parson, MSBA committee member and acting Secretary, hopes to provide live access to our camera via this website soon. As they say, watch this space…

Stolen hovercraft now found

stolen hovercraftThis 2013 BHC Marlin II ‘Extreme’ was stolen over the weekend of 17 June from Broadstairs in Kent. It’s very distinctive in being one of only three in this colour scheme – black hull and red trim. It’s fitted with an upgraded ‘Rampage’ engine and was taken on its trailer, so could very well be launched on the Medway or Swale.

UPDATE: The stolen hovercraft was found by police in a Ramsgate yard, severely damaged by attempts to disguise it. Read more…

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.”