Porpoises visit the Medway

David Metcalfe of Lower Halstow Yacht Club saw a pair of harbour porpoises in the mouth of the Medway yesterday. Here’s one of them!

Admiral’s Cruise, 23+24 June 2018

The flotilla rounding the Montgomery wreck on Day Two. Photos and article by Fred Trice.

Once a year, rain or shine, a very mixed group of Medway leisure craft led by local fishing boats, accompanied by police RIBs and sometimes the Sheerness lifeboat, makes its way up and down the Medway. Held over two days on an early summer weekend, the flotilla Beats the Bounds of the Rochester Oyster & Floating Fishery.

ROFF, a very ancient organisation indeed, can trace its roots back to a charter granted by Henry III to the City of Rochester and another by Henry VI giving the local fishermen rights to harvest fish and oysters from the river. The charter was given further weight in 1729 when George II passed an Act of Parliament allowing management of the river to be organised and policed  by ROFF.

Day One

The Admiral’s Court in Rochester Guildhall

Each year, Saturday starts early with the Mayor, as Admiral of The River, holding court in the Rochester Guildhall, listening to reports from the Chamberlain of the Fishery, as to how the year has gone. The health of the fishery is noted; poaching has been a problem in the past.

The Beadle leads the procession. Can you spot the local MP who is also MSBA Patron?

After the court the Mayor led by the Beadle makes his way round the corner to Rochester Cruising Club where a boat has been allocated as his Barge for the Day.

Hawkwood Stone, the upstream limit for the Rochester Oyster & Floating Fishery

The flotilla then heads upstream to the upper limit of the fishery with members of the great and good aboard. Then it’s back down the river for refreshments.

Day Two

Once again the fleet sets off following the ROFF fishing boats, this time heading downstream, frequently picking up vessels from some of the clubs and marinas as we pass. It is traditional that we fire a cannon at all the various clubs  we pass and they answer in the same manner.

The historic tug Touchstone laying a wreath over the wreck of HMS Bulwark

First “hove to” is the war grave of HMS Bulwark where a vessel is stationed  for a wreath laying with local sea scouts and piper aboard. Then it’s off out past Garrision Point, sometimes with a water display from the Sheerness tugs and on to the SS Richard Montgomery

One of the Sheerness tugs saluting the Admiral with  fire hoses

Again a “hove to” for a wreath laying and the Last Post before returning into Queenborough at the invitation of the Mayor of Queenborough and his good lady. Over 70 boats have been known to attend.

Boat Sales Fraud Warning

It has come to our attention that a fraudulent boat sales website is currently active, similar to one taken down by ActionFraud earlier this year. This new website (www.dqboats.co.uk) is very convincing as it uses the VAT number of DQ Boats Ltd. DQ Boats Ltd are a genuine, respected limited company that does not actually sell boats, has no web presence and is not involved with the scam.

Some pictures and information of a number of Clarke & Carter’s current and past brokerage listings can be found on this website, together with boats from many other genuine UK brokers and boat sales companies. Nearly all are priced very cheaply so the old saying ‘if it looks too good to be true, it probably is’ definitely applies. However, the scammers come up with convincing stories as to why they are so cheap such as non-payment of bills and estate sales. Offering free delivery, a 48hr period to check the vessel over/reject and a 6mth warranty it could sound very tempting. We believe a number of people may have already been victims of this scam, see below for a few of our tips to help keep you safe when buying a boat:

1. Wherever possible, do not part with any money until you have viewed the boat you are interested in, you may occasionally miss a bargain but are more likely to avoid scam sellers!

2. Most brokers and boat sales companies will be willing to hold a boat on good faith for a day or so to allow you to travel, if they are asking for a deposit check this is refundable, if any conditions apply and that you are definitely dealing with the right person – if in doubt, walk away

3. Buy through an established broker or boat sales company, ideally ABYA or BMF members (check online)

4. If buying privately, ask to use a broker you trust as an intermediary to draw up contracts, check title and hold funds – most will do this for a reasonable fixed fee that could save you money. Even if you have seen the boat, having the correct title documents and knowing the person is the legal owner is very important!

5. Ask to have a survey and/or an independent drivetrain inspection, this can often highlight potential problems and will usually make fraudulent sellers nervous so they will often cease contact with you

6. Direct bank transfer is usually a safe way to buy or sell a boat but you need to be sure that your money is going to the right place – don’t send money unless you are sure about who you are dealing with and, even if you have seen the boat, checking bank details verbally with the broker or boat sales company if they have been sent electronically is very important as interception fraud can occur

If you have any information on this please file a report with ActionFraud so the impact and scale of the problem can be recorded.

Temporary closure of non-tidal Medway, 17 April

The Hampstead Lock to Sluice Weir Lock reach of the Upper Medway Navigation will be temporarily lowered on or after 17 April 2018. This is due to an unforeseen issue with the operation of Anchor Sluice which requires urgent attention. The EA do not anticipate that the work will take more than one day and they will reopen the river as soon as possible.

During this time no navigation will be possible in this pen and the EA will be temporarily closing Hampstead Lock and Sluice Weir Lock. The river level lowering will be subject to suitable river and weather conditions, and may be postponed if the conditions are not suitable. For further information please contact Allington Lock on 01622 752864.

Pirates Cave Event, Sat 14 April

Pirates Cave

Also free lifejacket checks with the RNLI, expert advice from manufacturers, special deals on liferaft servicing. See the video…

Do you recognise this boat?

Kevin Duvall of Kent Wildlife Trust has contacted the MSBA because no-one else was able to help trace this boat. For several weeks a blue cabin cruiser has been stranded on the shingle bank at Castle Coote between Whitstable and Faversham. There are no identification marks on the boat to enable tracing of the owner. Worryingly, it is very close to a nesting site for little terns, a bird almost extinct as a breeding species in Kent.

If you have any information please email info@msba.org.uk and we will pass it on.