Medway River Festival, 4 July 2015

Classic boats Excitement is reaching fever pitch in anticipation of the annual festival, run by Medway Council. The MSBA will have a stand at Chatham waterside for those who want to come and find out about any aspect of boating on the Medway and Swale. On the water there will be a Sail Past at 4.30pm with a variety of classic leisure and working craft. If you have such a boat and wish to take part, please call Brian Corbett on 07860 891395.

Sheerness Lifeboat in dramatic rescue in Medway

From Vic Booth, RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer (Sheerness), 21 June 2015:

Multi agency crews worked together to rescue three persons stranded off the Isle of Grain after escorting a complete novice sailor to safety. The drama began at 7.10pm when the volunteer crew of the Sheerness all weather lifeboat (ALB) the ‘George and Ivy Swanson’ was called to the assistance of a 30 foot cabin cruiser ‘Attila’s Glory’ with one male person on board. The boat had been recently purchased by the occupant and was travelling from Lowestoft to Rochester. Having had little or no experience of boats or sea conditions the occupant had become disorientated off the Essex coast and called on the services of the Southend lifeboat to help him across the Thames Estuary. He was duly taken under tow to be met in the Medway Estuary by the Sheerness ALB who took over the tow. The boat and it’s occupant were towed to Queenborough Harbour whereupon the ‘new sailor’ decided this was not where he wanted to be and said he would continue his journey up the Medway to Rochester. It was decided by the crew of the ALB that it would be safer to escort the cabin cruiser up river to its destination at Strood Marina.

Whilst escorting the cabin cruiser, at approximately 9.30pm, an upturned dinghy was found drifting in the river off the Isle of Grain at Saltpan Reach. The dinghy was secured and righted, a crew member was put on board and managed to secure it to a mooring buoy. A search of the area was made but nothing untoward was found so the ALB continued up river to Strood Marina where the cabin cruiser was moored and made secure.

At 11.50pm whilst on the way back to station the ALB was called by the Thames Coastguard to reports of cries for help being heard in the area of Stoke Creek. Due to the low tide the ALB could not get into the creek so the Sheerness Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) was called to assist. On arrival at the scene the ILB crew found three persons,two male and one female, in difficulty and it was confirmed that they had been aboard the previously found dinghy which had floundered and tipped them in to the river. The two males then managed to swim and clamber on to the old Bee Ness Jetty at Thamesport. The female tried to make it to the shore but became stuck in the mud and unable to move.

A crew from the Medway Coastguard was now on scene along with the two Sheerness lifeboats. The Royal Navy search and rescue helicopter from RAF Wattisham and the RNLI Hovercraft from Southend were called to assist. The helicopter was guided in to rescue the female casualty by the crew of the ILB using the lifeboat onboard searchlights whilst the Hovercraft rescued the two males from the old jetty and then passed them to the waiting Sheerness ALB which then took them to the Sheerness Lifeboat Station where they were transferred to a waiting ambulance. In the mean time the helicopter had landed the rescued female on the New Road, Sheerness, playing fields where she was also transferred to a waiting ambulance.

All three were taken to Medway Hospital. The Sheerness Lifeboats returned to station at 0158 am.

New Marine Manager at Peel Ports

At Wednesday’s MSBA business meeting, held at Medway Cruising Club, we had an oportunity to meet Captain Ian Clark in his new role as Marine Manager. Ian is a master mariner with forty years experience at sea including five years with the Royal Navy. He is an RYA yachtmaster and safety boat instructor and was a Sea Cadet officer for twenty years. In addition to many other duties he takes over responsibility for leisure boating from former Deputy Harbourmaster Max Taylor. Max continues to have a role in the marine management team along with other Medway River Pilots.

Sun Pier open at last!

Sun PierHayley Taylor at Medway Council is responsible for Rochester, Sun and Gillingham Piers. She has advised us yesterday that the pontoon at Sun Pier is now fully operational.  Though it should be fairly straight forward she has produced these Sun Pier Pontoon Usage Instructions. Tokens cost £1 and are only available from the machine before you exit from the pontoon.

Please make good use of Sun Pier with consideration for others who want to use it!Overnight mooring is not allowed on Rochester and Sun Piers.

Paddleboarder provokes controversy

Paddleboarder touches Montgomery WreckPaddleboarder Shane Skinner has provoked controversy by taking advantage of calm weather and a low tide to pose touching one of the masts of the WW2 munitions ship SS Richard Montgomery, which still contains thousands of tons of explosives. A sign, clearly visible in the photo, says “DANGER. Unexploded ammunition. Do not approroach or board this wreck.” The wreck, which lies only a few yards from the Medway approach channel, used by massive gas tankers and container ships, is surrounded by yellow buoys indicating a prohibited area. An online poll at Kent Online shows that the majority of readers consider Mr Skinner to be irresponsible. Others wonder what the fuss is about…

Yachtsman rescued from waist-deep mud at Queenborough

A 74-year-old sailor was pulled from waist-deep mud in a dramatic late-night rescue yesterday. After his yacht had gone aground, the man had left his boat to set his anchor when the vessel started listing and he was unable to climb back on-board. The Kent Fire and Rescue crew and the RNLI hovercraft from Southend were called to the incident, which happened around 500 metres from Queenborough Harbour. A SECAmb HART paramedic used inflatable mud paths to reach him in a rescue operation that took more than four hours. Photos and more at Kent Online.