Consultation on Proposed Seaplane Operations – UPDATED

An organisation has made a request to operate a private seaplane within Medway Ports. The Port of Sheerness Ltd, as the Statutory Harbour Authority, is required to regulate and manage all types of operations within the Medway and Swale and therefore has produced a consultation document (or here) on this matter, which is available on the Peel Ports website for a period of one month.

Upon completion of the consultation period, the operational requirements will be issued as a Code of Practice for Seaplane Operations. If you have any comments or queries on this matter, please contact Capt Ian Clark at

Proposed seaplane ops areas You may also wish to contact the MSBA via or Reply to this article. Further views are being expressed at the YBW East Coast Forum

UPDATE: Here is a response from Capt Ian Clark of Peel Ports:

“Below is the reply that I put together for people that have made comments.

“We have had considerable feed back about this matter, and it seems that I have perhaps not laid out the situation clearly in my notice. 

“We are not proposing any new operation, seaplanes have operated from the Medway almost since the invention of flight.  This particular seaplane, which is a private aircraft used for leisure, is one of only 5 seaplanes registered in the whole of the UK.

“The aircraft in question has been operating on the Medway for at least the last three years without incident or indeed comment from anybody.  As the port authority we are obliged to keep the port open for anybody who wants to make use of the waters, provided there are no safety or legal concerns.  There is no question of us either ‘allowing’ or ‘licencing’ this operation.  We only have power to regulate it.

This consultation is merely about putting a restriction on where the aircraft can operate so that water users can be aware of where there is the small possibility that they may encounter a seaplane.  For your information, there is no requirement for a surface vessel to give way to a seaplane that is landing or taking off.  The legal obligation is on the aircraft commander to ensure that his landing area is clear and it is safe for him to land there.

“I hope this answers your concerns.”

13 thoughts on “Consultation on Proposed Seaplane Operations – UPDATED

  1. Extremely dangerous operation, too many very un-experienced skippers on small leisure craft, with no real knowledge of navigation. Jet skies operate her!

  2. Agree with Rod Terry to many unexperienced boat and jet skiers as well as yachters as well as detrimental to nature and if that happens then so will boris island

  3. Small boat owners should not be on the river without adequate knowlwdge and equipment. There are plenty of courses to make you safe.

  4. That’s akin to building a runway beside the M20 with no fencing. Any seaplane would be required to taxi across a buoyed shipping lane to reach the areas of operation.

    No thought gone into this one.

  5. If I’m busy on CH16 or another boat to boat channel I will not hear CH14, even if I have a second radio.
    This frightens the life out of me.
    My safety / life should not be dependent on being able to get out of the way from something approaching from the skies.
    A motor boater might not even see of hear one approaching.

  6. what size of plane? is it commercial? what are the timetable of flights? and is this once a day, week, month? most of us are cruising boats and know how to avoid large shipping traffic, so I cannot see any difference in avoiding a large/small flying object. Plus this plane would not take off if it has not got a clear pathway, so small boats would be more of an inconvenient to the plane than it to us. Hence, I cannot see it happening.

    • We are not told but it’s probably the two seater seaplane photographed by Wil Pretty and reported on this website last year. There’s a big difference between a large ship in the buoyed channel, which we can avoid by leaving the chanel, and a plane landing in an area used by many recreational boaters with relatively slow craft and limited VHF monitoring capability.

  7. Small seaplanes have been using the river for years,apparently without being noticed by the river users commenting on this matter.On Rochester Cruising Clubs annual Admirals Cruise in involving some 70 odd boats,we were entertained by a small seaplane doing some touch and goes about a quarter of a mile away..
    You will be amazed to learn that no body died.
    Lighten up,you enjoy your sport and let others enjoy theirs.
    Suspect that the pilots training in the aircraft are far more safety conscious then some of the dinghy sailors cutting directly in front of commercial ships when racing in Upnor Reach..?

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