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.

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…

Adam says thank you

Adam Taylor of Medway Council says, “We had an excellent response from River Medway users to our request for retrieving lost life rings, in particular the ones trapped under Sun Pier. Sincerest thanks to Pete, Rob, John, Tony and the Maritime Volunteer Service. Each lost life ring costs taxpayers £50 and we are grateful for your help.”

Medway sailor dies after fall from boat

A local yachtsman died on Sunday morning after falling into the mud from his boat at Lower Halstow Yacht Club.

A LHYC spokesman said: “We can confirm a club member who had been staying overnight on his boat, which was on its mooring just off the club’s jetty and slipway, fell from his boat on to the soft mud of Halstow Creek. We understand a local resident heard shouting and alerted the police at around 2am. At the time the tide would have been approaching the moored yacht.

“We understand the police recovered him from the water some time later using a dinghy from the club. Both Sheppey Coastguard and Sheerness lifeboat were tasked at around 3.30am, some one-and-a-half hours after the initial report to the police. The casualty was a well-respected member and experienced sailor. Our thoughts go out to his wife and family.”

More information at Kent Online…

LNG Terminal exclusion zone reminder

Peel Ports says: The relaxation of COVID restrictions has seen boating activities resume which is good to see. However, within the last week numerous incursions into the LNG exclusion zone whilst ships are alongside have been reported by the guard tug. LNG berth exclusion zone infringements will not be tolerated and Peel Ports will act on all reports, can clubs and marinas please remind all members of the regulations when passing the LNG Terminal.

Notice to Mariners No 2 of 2021 – Isle Of Grain LNG Jetties 8 & 10 Exclusion Zone + Chart (236Kb)

Notice to Mariners No 3 of 2021 – LNG Vessel Transit And Manoeuvres (305Kb)

Why use a helicopter rather than a hovercraft?

Gavin Parson writes: Last night a rescue helicopter plucked a person from a dinghy stuck on the mud outside Gillingham Marina. Mark Colyer who keeps his hovercraft at the marina witnessed this complete waste of money and resources and subsequently went out in his hovercraft to recover the dinghy.  The whole rescue could have been done in minutes and for £2 in fuel with the hovercraft rather than the thousands it no doubt cost for the helicopter. Perhaps there is now a validation for a volunteer rescue hovercraft service on the Medway.

New signage for PWCs

This is a sample of one of the new signs designed in partnership with the Personal Watercraft Partnership (PWP) and local authorities. The signs will be set up at known launching sites for jet skis (PWCs). Most PWC users are responsible boaters but an irresponsible minority spoil it for everyone else and will be liable to prosecution. Peel Ports will increase the number of patrols using a harbour launch or RIB, including holidays, weekends, and during heatwaves. The patrol personnel will be equipped with body cams.

Speed limits

This chart shows the zones where there are speed limits, yellow for 6 knots and red for 8 knots. The purple zone from Cuxton to Wouldham is where members of the Kent Boat and Ski club have exclusive permission to water ski.

Peel Ports gets tough on dangerous boaters

Peel Ports have issued the following statement: “On the 26th of April 2020 a water craft collided with another vessel causing it to sink and causing serious injury to one of the occupants. Police attended the scene and the defendant was breathalysed and found to have a levels of alcohol in his system exceeding the amount permissible for driving a vehicle on the road, resulting in his arrest. The injured party maintained that the defendant had been performing ‘doughnut’ turns around her vessel but had lost control of his vessel causing it to collide with hers.

“The Port of Sheerness Ltd brought prosecution proceedings against the defendant pursuant to the Port Byelaws alleging that the defendant had failed to navigate his vessel with the requisite level of care and that he had been in charge of his vessel whilst unfit by reason of drink, contrary to byelaws 22 and 33 respectively. The defendant was summoned to appear before magistrates sitting at Medway on the 10th of December 2020. At this hearing the defendant pleaded guilty to both allegations and was ordered to pay fines, compensation and costs totalling £3,950.”

UPDATE: The “water craft” referred to in the Peel Ports Notice was a small motor cruiser, not a PWC (jet ski). The other vessel was a dinghy.

IMPORTANT: LNG Vessel Transit and Manoeuvres

Peel Ports have asked us to notify boaters that a recent near miss incident involving a small fishing boat and an LNG vessel has highlighted an issue surrounding the movement of such ships and the proximity of small boats. LNG vessel movements are extremely sensitive for a number of reasons; the size of the vessel, the level of tug assistance required, the complexity of the berthing/unberthing manoeuvre and the very nature of the cargo they carry. When an LNG ship is transiting the River Medway or in the process of manoeuvring on/off the berth at Isle of Grain all vessels are required to keep well clear and maintain a safe distance.

The chart above shows the potential turning circle of an LNG ship and indicates the amount of sea room that needs to be kept clear for the turning manoeuvre. The area highlighted may alter depending on the size of the vessel and if the adjacent LNG berth is occupied by another ship, however, the zone marked is based on the largest LNG vessels expected (345m). When the ship is fast alongside the established LNG berth exclusion zone and associated rules apply to all craft as per Medway NtoM 02 of 2020.