Monstrosity departs at last

This morning the huge, rather unprepossessing “accommodation barge” that has graced Rochester riverside for 8 years was towed away by GPS Marine to Upnor where it will be refitted. KentOnline reported that the vessel will be transformed into 400 “luxury” holiday apartments in Gibraltar by a mystery businessman.

Apparently, and not a lot of people know this, the barge is known as “Hillside” and was originally built for the Dutch navy. GPS has been maintaining the vessel since it arrived from Portsmouth where it was used by the Royal Navy for crews in the process of changing ships. It has three decks with air-conditioned rooms plus leisure and communal areas, including a bar, dance floor and had a cinema or lecture theatre.

Read more at KentOnline…

Active Thames Fund offers £5K grant for watersports development

Active Thames is a partnership programme to support the development of watersports on the tidal Thames and inland waterways in London, Kent and Essex.

The Active Thames Grant Fund, running from 20 September 2021-31 October 2022, is provided in response to findings from the recent Active Thames survey. We do not wish to be too prescriptive about sport, location or delivery, but the application should link to at least one of the objectives below:

  • Improve diversity of participation, particularly among under-represented groups including:
    • People with disabilities;
    • People with long term health conditions;
    • People from lower socio-economic groups;
    • Ethnically diverse communities.
  • Develop the workforce (coaches, volunteers and administrative support);
  • Provide new opportunities; perhaps funding the addition of a new sport, working with new audiences, or supporting a pilot programme.

Closing date for applications is 31 October 2021. For more information and how to apply, click here…

RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference, 21 Nov, Maidstone

This year’s RYA Affiliated Clubs Conferences will be exploring the theme of ‘planning for a successful future’. Whether your club has been able to capitalise on the staycation trend or is struggling to resume activities, this is the event to help you move forward. These conferences are ideal for anyone involved in managing your club or its activities: flag officers, committee members, staff and volunteers. 

These events also include a programme of club development sessions led by experts that will explore the following areas:

  • How can we recruit and retain more volunteers?
  • How can we develop or replace our facility?
  • How can we recruit and retain more members and participants?
  • What advice is there for the governance and legal challenges our club is facing?

All the events will be free to delegates from RYA Affiliated Clubs.

London & South East: 21 November 2021 – New Line Learning Academy, Boughton Lane, Maidstone, Kent, ME15 9QL

There will also be an Online Conference on Monday 8 November, 7.30 – 9.30pm. However, the content will be available for a month after the event, so you can catch up at a time to suit you to watch a recording.

For more information and to register click here…

Peel Ports dealing with abandoned vessels

Whitstable Marine on behalf of Peel Ports lifted this sunken vessel yesterday at Rochester Pier. The wreck was moved to the Strood side of the river where it will be broken up and disposed of. If you have any information about the boat or its owner please contact adam.taylor@medway.gov.uk

Furthermore the obstruction near Sun Pier (at only 0.7m depth) has now been marked with an orange pellet buoy which says “wreck.”

We are pleased to see Peel Ports and Medway Council acting together to clear such abandoned boats which are an increasing nuisance on our river.

Mystery boat sunk on Rochester Pier

A vessel moored at Rochester Pier without permission, sank on Thursday 9th September.

We believe the boat was a liveaboard and would like to contact the owners.

If you have any information, please contact adam.taylor@medway.gov.uk

UPDATE 16.09.2021: The vessel was lifted yesterday by Peel Ports and moved across the river to the Strood side, where it will be broken up and disposed of.

Isle of Sheppey RTI Race, 5 Sept 2021

  • A 40-mile clockwise circumnavigation of the Isle Of Sheppey
    in north Kent organised by IOS Sailing Club
  • The UK’s longest annual dinghy, cat & board race!
  • Established since 1959 as an endurance event
  • Open to all classes of dinghy, catamaran & sailboard
  • Sea, river & estuary sailing with tidal conditions
  • In popular years 100-300 competitors have taken part
  • Every competitor successfully completing the course receives a circumnavigation certificate signed by the Commodore
  • SailRacer Live GPS Tracking
  • Part of the2021 Allen Endurance Series

More information…

PLA Harbour Revision Order Consultation

On 18 August the Marine Management Organisation started a 56-day consultation on the PLA’s application for a Harbour Revision Order (HRO). The PLA is seeking the HRO to update the provisions of the Port of London Act under which they operate, and they are required to promote the consultation along the length of their jurisdiction.

Among the miscellaneous changes are “modifying limitations on the exercise of the PLA’s powers in relation to the Medway approach and areas off Southend-on-Sea and Sheerness.”

For more information visit:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/port-of-london-authority-harbour-revision-order.

Queenborough Classic Boat Show, 11-12 Sept

Step aboard a variety of historic tugs, sailing barges and sailing yachts. Free entry.

Queenborough Harbour is conveniently situated in North Kent where the Swale, Medway & Thames meet and an ideal base for cruising. Queenborough Harbour Trust is a not-for-profit organisation representing the interests of the local community and maritime users both resident and from further afield. Trust members are drawn from local boating and civic interest groups such as the Queenborough Yacht Club, Queenborough Rowing Club and the Queenborough Society. Queenborough Harbour is the primary boating refuge on the Swale providing valuable mooring facilities for local yachtsmen, fishermen and visitors alike drawn by the exceptional natural beauty and wildlife of the area, its fascinating maritime history, the convenience of the all tide landing and its strategic positioning as a safe haven between London and Ramsgate.

Rochester Pier still closed but there’s hope

Adam Taylor of Medway Council advises that Rochester Pier remains closed to all river users, please do not attempt access via the brow (walkway between the pontoon and main pier).

Medway Council are working hard to secure resources to repair the pier and bring it back into full use, more updates will follow.

The MSBA understands that the pontoon is safe to moor on and this is allowed for short stays (no overnight mooring) but you must not attempt to go ashore via the brow.

Fingers crossed for funding!

Festival of Chatham Reach, 18-19 Sept

A country fayre atmosphere, with a focus on the heritage of the river and river vessels, we’ll be remembering the history of Sun Pier as a hub of river life coinciding with the second weekend of Heritage Open Days. Located alongside and on Sun Pier in Chatham – currently the only available public river access point in Medway – we will celebrate with historic vessels open to explore, free have-a-go stalls, history walks, and interactive activities to entertain and educate all ages.

In the days leading up to the festival a free sail will take place offering community groups and organisations who would never usually experience life on the river the chance to take the helm and have a go at steering the ship. Haul a sail, wind a winch, learn the history of the area and enjoy the peace of being on the river, all under sail on a 115-year wooden sailing barge (pre booking required). Seeing Medway from the river is without doubt its most beautiful viewpoint. These sailings will need to be booked in advance.

This event is organised by Medway Council in partnership with Sun Pier House and Tiller and Wheel.