THE MSBA – WHO ARE WE?
The MSBA includes in its membership over thirty clubs and other organisations with some 4,000 members who regularly use the waters of the Medway and Swale for recreational purposes. Between them these clubs and organisations offer a wide diversity of opportunities for leisure boating on the Medway and Swale ranging from water-skiing, dinghy racing, canoeing and rowing to motor cruising, yacht racing and more!
The object set out in our Constitution is:
“To promote and protect boating on the tidal Medway and Swale.” By boating we mean all waterborne sports and pastimes.
THE MEDWAY AND SWALE
The Medway estuary and the Swale extend from Whitstable on the East Swale past Garrison Point at Sheerness to Allington Lock near Maidstone. Strategically located in North Kent, they provide a wide network of sheltered tidal waters which are ideal for all sorts of water sports, whether competitive events or cruising with the possibility of overnight anchorages in quiet creeks. Above Allington Lock the non-tidal waters of the upper Medway offer excellent motor cruising through the Kent countryside.
In spite of the commercialisation of parts of the estuary, much of the Medway and Swale and their coastline, with their salt marshes and migrating birds, is in conservation terms of European significance.
At the same time the estuary has great cultural and historic interest. Rochester Cathedral dates from 604 and Rochester Castle, one of the finest of its kind, dates from the early years after the Norman Conquest. Rochester was besieged by the Vikings in 885. Further down river Chatham Historic Dockyard is developing as a heritage centre, reminding us of its days as strategic base for the Royal Navy.
The Medway and Swale have good communications by rail and by motorway with most of Kent and involve a journey of perhaps an hour from much of South London. They provide an excellent base from short cruises to various places of interest on the East Coast, while for those who wish to go further afield the coasts of northern France, Belgium and Holland are within reach. Every summer sees cruisers from these countries visiting us.
THE MSBA – WHAT ARE WE THERE FOR?
First and foremost we believe that through the MSBA we should use our best endeavours to encourage greater participation in all types of recreational waterborne activities on the Medway and Swale. We see ourselves as the voice of leisure boating on the Medway and Swale, representing the common interests of all who use our waters for leisure purposes and arguing for the maintenance and enhancement of facilities and opportunities for water sports of all kinds.
We believe that the promotion of responsible and seaman-like conduct among recreational users of the waters of the estuary is a key objective. We believe that those who go afloat should do so in a manner which is safe for themselves and considerate for others and for the environment.
Through the Medway Estuary and Swale Management Plan we have signed up to the principle of ‘sustainable development’. The estuary is a precious resource with many competing demands on it. While wishing to promote the reasonable use of the Medway and Swale for recreational use and to resist unreasonable restrictions on leisure boating, we are recognise the importance of caring for the environment and will work with other agencies to promote its protection. Put simply we are seeking to strike a balance between competing needs.
In achieving these aims we believe that it is preferable to educate, than to regulate. Training is crucial and that through their training programmes as well as other activities, our clubs have a key role.