MSBA prompts Peel Ports rethink on charges

Following a protest by the MSBA to the notified 8.5% increase in charges for moorings and conservancy licences, Peel Ports have reduced this increase to 6%, being the RPI figure for the 12 months to October 2021. We have been told that refunds have now been issued to those who have already paid their 2022 invoices. A meeting is being arranged to discuss the basis for these charges going forward.

Consultation on “discontinuation” of navigation marks

Peel Ports London Medway is planning to discontinue the following navigation marks:
• The Cant – ‘D’ Beacon (unlit) approximately 1nm South of MAC buoys 5/6
• Sheerness Harbour – Grain Light (QW) just South of Grain outfall channel
• Sharfleet Creek (East & Western ends) – Beacons 7&8 (unlit) ex Admiralty beacons
• Loden Hope – West Point Beacon (unlit)
• Swale – Long Reach – Codds Creek Beacon
• Bee Ness Buoy (Fl G 5s).

The above-mentioned proposal will be subject to a consultation period that will run until 7th February 2022.

Comments and queries should be sent to: AllMedwayMarineManagers@peelports.com

Notice to Mariners 13 of 2022 refers. Following the consultation period all comments received will be assessed, the Port of Sheerness (as the Local Lighthouse Authority) will make its decision and any proposed change will be promulgated by a further Notice to Mariners.

Medway Queen homecoming

Photo Mark Colyer

On Thursday the veteran paddle steamer Medway Queen, was towed from Ramsgate to the Medway by the tug Christine. At night she was temporarily moored at the Bullnose Lock at Chatham Docks (see photo) and was moved to her home berth at Gillingham Pier on Friday afternoon.

The MQ is now safely on her berth. There’s a video (by Mark Colyer) of her docking on the MSBA Facebook page.

Here are more photos by Brian Corbett:

Monty to lose masts by June 2022

Photo Margaret Flo McEwan, Maunsell Forts Appreciation Group

The Royal Navy has been brought in to help Briggs Marine with their £5m contract to remove the SS Richard Montgomery’s corroded masts after surveys warned that they could collapse onto the fragile deck and set off the 1400 tons (TNT equivalent) of explosives remaining on board.

Please note there have been many seriously inaccurate reports of this project, even in the quality press. The ship itself is not being touched, just the masts. However these have become a sight to see and their loss will affect the local tourism trade.

More information…

CA Winter Warmer talk, Thu 13 Jan 2022, 7pm

Mandy Bruce from Magellan Yacht Surveys will be talking on the role of the Yacht Surveyor.

Mandy is professionally trained through the International Boatbuilding Training Centre at Lowestoft, with a background of racing and cruising yachts in the Solent, on the North Kent Coast and in the Mediterranean. She is an accredited member of the Yacht Designers and Surveyors Association (YDSA) and a full member of the MSA (Marine Surveyor Associates). This is a group of professionally trained surveyors communicating via a live forum, sharing knowledge and experience on a daily basis. She is a sailor as well as a surveyor and currently owns a Westerly Fulmar which she races around the Swale and has been Racing Commodore at Conyer Cruising Club for the last five years and helps with the Swale Regatta.

These talks start at 7pm and it’s wise to log in a few minutes earlier. Click on this link to join the webinar: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-8M2x9pySeGLw97mqxfrTw

Peel Ports announce “outrageous” increase in charges for 2022

Peel Ports have announced an 8.5% price hike in charges (see notice).

The MSBA has previously objected to their massive annual increases in charges and we have made the point more than once that such price hikes jeopardise the viability of some of our clubs. We obtained an undertaking that the process would be transparent and we would be consulted but this has not taken place.

The MSBA has asked for a detailed breakdown of the justification of this figure and will be pursuing this matter with Peel Ports.

Weather, Tides and Webcams updated for 2022

Happy New Year! Click “Weather” on the menu to see our updated weather, tides and webcam links. This now has 2022 tide tables from the PLA and Peel Ports (Sheerness and Chatham). You can also check real time tides, wind and weather at each of several stations in the Medway from the approach channel to Strood. Also we now include a link to the superb weather station and webcam (updated every 10 minutes) at Lower Halstow Yacht Club.

Faversham Swing Bridge – Latest News

The MSBA supports Faversham Creek Trust in their campaign to restore the swing bridge, which would allow craft such as sailing barges to use the basin at the head of the creek. On Friday 10 December Helen Whately MP met with representatives from Kent County Council, Faversham Town Council, the Faversham Society and the Faversham Creek Trust to discuss progress since their last meeting in June. The Town Council kicked off the meeting with an update on their legal advice. It said the Secretary of State has the power to issue an Abatement Notice under section 43 of the Medway Ports Act 1973 to compel the party with obligations to maintain this bridge, sluice gates and associated works so as to permit navigation again. The Town Council has written to the Secretary of State for Transport asking him to issue this notice. The meeting agreed that supporting the Town Council to achieve this objective was the best way forward. Money currently pledged by Kent County Council, Swale Borough Council, and Faversham Town Council and raised from the community by the Faversham Creek Trust, is not enough to cover the cost of restoring the bridge. We need Peel Ports to play their part to get the bridge back into working order, this would go a long way towards plugging the funding gap for making the creek basin usable again. KCC confirmed that the Faversham community funding is safely held in a separate account except where individual donors have requested and received their donations back. Kent County Council is helping the Town Council to provide the Department of Transport with further information about the bridge and creek. Helen Whately will press the Secretary of State to take this course of action. While this is a positive step forward there is still a long way to go. KCC confirmed that design work on the bridge and sluices is completed and tender documents are ready. Both Helen and KCC have agreed to update residents about progress so far including future designs for the bridge.

Do you have any old photos of the islands, marshes or piers?

Medway Council is in the process of creating a River Strategy which, once completed, will be instrumental in helping to address river user needs, monitor pollution, coastal erosion and secure future funding to protect and enhance river access locations and plan ecological improvements such as salt marsh preservation and creation. To help us understand the changing nature of the estuary and visual history of the river, we are seeking old photos of the following:

  • St Mary’s Island
  • Darnet Island
  • Hoo Salt Marsh
  • St Mary’s Island
  • Oakham Marsh
  • Burntwick Island
  • Greenborough Marsh
  • Rochester Pier
  • Sun Pier
  • Gillingham Pier

If you have any photos of these sites we would be very grateful if you could scan and send them to adam.taylor@medway.gov.uk or alternatively photos can be collected from your address, copies made and then returned to you.

This is a unique opportunity for river users to make the first contributions to the River Strategy. For any photos we use we will credit the person who provided them.

In the meantime, here are two photos: the farmhouse which once stood on Nor Marsh, taken in 1932, and Sun Pier taken in the 1960s, which we hope are of interest to MSBA members.

We look forward to hearing you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

Adam Taylor, Rivers & Paths Manager