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Award-Winning Harbour Patrol Boats Named

The Port of London Authority's award-winning new harbour patrol boats have been officially named at a special ceremony on the Thames.

PLA Chairman Simon Sherrard with the MP'sThe catamarans Richmond and Chelsea, which work on the river between Putney and Teddington, were named by local MPs, Susan KramerPutney MP Justine Greening names the Chelsea and Justine Greening. The boats have been designed with the area's focus as a centre for rowing, sailing and other leisure pursuits in mind. An important improvement is the vessels' super slim, twin hulls which generate very little 'wash', the waves that can unsettle rowing and other boats.

Speaking at the event at Richmond Lock and Weir, PLA chief executive, Richard Everitt said:

"The official naming these two launches marks another stage in the transformation of our operation on this part of Thames. We started this change four years ago, in every case going back to basics and seeing what was best for river users' safety before seeing how it could delivered. As a result today we have a set-up which enables staff to be more approachable 'on the ground', more relevant rules, purpose-built patrol boats and improved environmental performance".

Richmond Park MP Susan Kramer names the RichmondGuests at the event included Professor Philip Wilson, who led the research into the optimum hull shape for shallower waters at the University of Southampton, and Henry Mayhew, whose company EcoCats designed and built the boats. In partnership with the PLA they have delivered a design that causes less disturbance on the water, reduced impact on other river users like rowers, and a better environmental performance than conventional patrol boats. The slimmer, twin-hull shape needs just a third of the power and fuel to push it through the water than conventional patrol boats.

Chelsea and Richmond are familiar sights on this part of the Thames, patrolling every day to oversee safety and provide emergency support for river users. They also play an important role in major sporting events on the river, such as the University Boat Race and London's own waterborne marathon, the Great River Race.

Putney MP, Justine Greening said:

"It is great to see an organisation making the most of the expertise in this country to design and build a better boat that really serves the needs of river users. With the Thames around Putney an internationally renowned centre of excellence for rowing this development has to be good news and I welcome it whole heartedly."

The groundbreaking design of the boats was recognised earlier this year when PLA, the University of Southampton and EcoCats received the annual Ship Safety Award from Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) and Lloyd’s Register of Shipping.

"As someone who has taken part in the Great River Race the naming of these new boats is particularly exciting", said Susan Kramer, MP for Richmond Park. "I am really pleased that we now have river patrol boats that are not just fit for purpose, but also right for the environment on this part of the river."

Contact: Martin Garside, Port of London Authority, Tel: 01474 562366.

Notes to Editors:

  • The Port of London Authority (PLA) is responsible for navigational safety and related matters on 150km (95 miles) of the tidal Thames from the sea to Teddington in west London
  • The PLA provides navigational, pilotage and other services for users of the Thames
  • London is one of the top three ports in the UK and handles over 50 million tonnes of cargo each year. The Port comprises over 70 independently owned and operated terminals and port facilities at different locations on the Thames. These handle a wide range of cargoes
  • London also has a busy passenger boat trade for tourists and commuters and is a popular destination for international passenger cruise ships.
  • The tidal Thames is also used widely by those with small recreational craft of many types

Photos available on request from Martin Garside, PLA. Tel: 01474 562366.