River Medway – Oil Spills

As members are aware there have been a couple oil spills spotted on the surface of the River Medway between Gillingham and Chatham Marinas. Unfortunately, when Peel Ports have despatched the appropriately equipped vessel to investigate the surface-based oil slicks have disappeared.

Can we please ask that if anyone spots an oil spillage that you email the information, and ideally any photos, directly to the Peel Ports Operations Team or notify Peel Ports via Channel 74 .

If you can also forward details including date, time and location of the incident and any photos to secretary@msba.org.uk we will start to maintain a log to see if there are any patterns to these incidents.

The MSBA would like to thank all river users you for your assistance. 

Any questions please let me know.  Thank you 

Kind regards

Peter Norris, Fellow ABYA


Medway and Swale Boating Association

 E: chairman@msba.org.uk   W: www.msba.org.uk

Medway Swale Estuary Partnership

Dear All

The  Medway Swale Estuary Partnership have now produced a very short questionnaire that they would love to get as many responses as possible from boat users in the Medway and Swale.

The general aim is to understand what boat users knowledge and gauge the interest in invasives species control. Can we please ask you to share the following link with your members and ask them to respond as soon as possible. 

Please find a link below.


Kind regards

Peter Norris, Fellow ABYA


Medway and Swale Boating Association

  E: chairman@msba.org.uk   W: www.msba.org.uk


EA news: Medway estuary and Swale Strategy

Over the summer the Medway estuary and Swale (MEAS) programme team has been busy working on the contracts for the 3 pieces of work which we will start with: the programme-wide enabling activities, and the 2 schemes (Elmley and South Sheppey, and Sheerness and Queenborough). This means that we can start commissioning work and developing options. 

See below our latest briefing note which introduces the MEAS programme and sets out why we wish to work with partners from across the strategy area.   

As we start this significant programme of works, we know that there is a lot that we don’t know, and that there will be great opportunities for us to achieve more by working with others. We’ll need help from partners working across the area to put the recommendations of the strategy into action, and hopefully achieve even more for people and the environment whilst doing so. 

Please do get in touch with the MEAS team if you have any ideas, risks or opportunities that might interact with the programme: MEASS@environment-agency.gov.uk 

Volunteers needed to sample water quality

The problem of “black water” (sewage) pollution in our estuary is of increasing concern to boaters and conservationists. The Zoological Society of London and the Medway Swale Estuary Partnership are setting up a community-based estuary-wide water sampling strategy across the Medway and Swale Estuary to understand water quality across the estuary and pin-point potential areas of pollution release. They are currently designing the strategy with water quality experts and members of the community and hope to be recruiting volunteers to help us in May 2023. Watch this space!

More info from MSEP…

MSEP Water Quality Workshops, 1 March

One of the issues that the MSBA has been campaigning on for years is sewage from water company outfalls and houseboats, particularly where the latter are in large concentrations close to sailing clubs, such as at Hoo. If you share this concern this is your chance to make a difference by working with our partner, the Medway Swale Estuary Partnership.

2023 Official Sheerness and Chatham Tide Tables

Peel Ports have published official 2023 tide tables for Sheerness and Chatham online. You can access them via the links on our Tides, Weather & Cams page

The same page also has real-time tides and wind for Tripod, Garrison Point, Chatham and Strood. The page serves as a portal to the many webcams and weather stations hosted at clubs along the Medway.

The excellent Peel Ports tide table booklet for 2023 should now be available from all good local chandlers, marinas and clubs. You will also get a copy with your conservancy licence when you renew. It contains much useful information about safely navigating the tidal Medway and Swale.

Don’t forget to add an hour for British Summer Time when appropriate.

MSBA Talk: Medway Islands by Adam Taylor, Fri 13 Jan, 7 for 8pm

For the second in our new series of monthly winter talks, Adam Taylor will give a fascinating presentation on the Medway Islands. Well known to the MSBA, Adam is a keen canoeist with 15 years experience of paddling a fourteen foot, Canadian (open) canoe. He has canoed in many places including the back country of Ontario, the lakes of Finland and Sweden and beautiful places here in the UK, but it is the islands and marshes of the Medway estuary where his heart is.

Adam’s presentation draws on many sources: census records, photos, Victorian technical plans, personal experience and several trips to the National Archives – to illustrate who lived on these islands, how the twin forts of Hoo and Darnet were built, the story of the pub which stood on an island in the middle of the estuary, how a WW1 German submarine ended up were it is now and a bit more.

We will also take a close up look at some of the flora and fauna of this huge, beautiful wilderness that is Medway estuary.

Rochester Cruising Club will be hosting the event. The club is easy to find on the Esplanade at the foot of Rochester Castle, postcode ME1 1QN. There is ample parking at the club and on the road outside. The bar will be open and a professionally prepared meal will be available at 7pm if you pre-order.

We will be having an “MSBA Special” of ham, egg and chips or sausage, egg and chips,or curry for £6 on the night. Desserts will also be available and the bar will be open. Please email info@msba.org.uk to order your meal.

Adam’s talk will start at 8pm. Non-RCC members are asked to contribute £3 at the door and sign the visitors’ book.

HMS Challenger, 150 years on

Exactly 150 years ago today, HMS Challenger departed from Sheerness on a quest to explore the world’s oceans. Three and a half years later the ship returned, bringing with it the largest collection of examples of life from the deep sea.

Challenger’s circumnavigation encompassed nearly 70,000 nautical miles across the Pacific, Atlantic and Southern Oceans, and traversed the Antarctic Circle. During the voyage, the expedition carried out oceanographic experiments at over 500 stations, observing currents, water temperatures, weather and surface ocean conditions.

The ocean floor beyond the continental shelf was shown not to be a featureless expanse, as many had previously assumed, but instead was characterised by underwater mountain ranges, abyssal trenches and extended plains. The ocean itself consisted of warm and cold water zones, a finding that added to the understanding of ocean currents and the distribution of marine life.

Read more about HMS Challenger…

Red2Red clears Rochester shore with new zero emissions vessel

The Red2Red team with their new zero emissions vessel spent the week clearing litter and generally tidying up the Rochester shoreline supported by Rochester Bridge Trust and Rochester Cruising Club. The rubbish was lifted out by Gillingham Marina and taken offsite for sorting and recycling. A great team effort from organisations with a real care for the river.

CA talk, Living River Foundation, Thu 8 Dec

Thursday 8th December 2022 at 20.00 –  Engaging with the wild world of the tidal Medway – the work of the Living River Foundation by Tanya Ferry

The foundation is working to reconnect communities with estuaries. The estuaries are improving despite their characteristic brown colour in the South East of England, but the colour makes it difficult to perceive the important animals that live in it. The foundation runs programmes to allow people to explore different aspects of the estuary, tackling litter, eliminating single use items, sampling microplastics, and giving talks.

Venue: The Dog and Bear Hotel Lenham ME17 2PG

To book and pay the £3.00 per person fee please click on the link here:   [BOOK VENUE]

All enquiries to kent@theca.org.uk