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Maintenance Message to Owners of Powered Leisure Vessels from PLA

Image of Safety Bulletin 3 of 2014The Port of London Authority (PLA) is asking skippers and crews of powered leisure vessels to carry out routine inspections before they embark on trips on the Thames.

The call comes after a rise in the number of powered leisure vessels suffering mechanical breakdowns. In the six weeks since the beginning of April, there have been 11 incidents on the Thames in central London where vessels have needed assistance. This is almost two incidents a week. The incidents could have been prevented, if adequate checks had been carried out prior to setting off.

PLA assistant harbour master (recreational) Darren Knight explains:

“The Thames through London can be challenging for navigators, with tidal flows of up to four knots and waves which can be over one metre in height. Owners need to be sure that their vessel is in a reliable condition and able to cope with these demands, where engines will have to work much harder than normal.

“They also need to pause and think carefully as to whether their vessel is suitable to navigate on the tidal Thames,” he added.

The safety advice has been issued in the form of the PLA’s seventh safety bulletin since they were introduced in 2012. Contained within the latest safety bulletin is practical advice including a list of specific checks to carry out, including guidance on routine maintenance and deploying of an anchor, if propulsion is lost.

The PLA issues safety bulletins very sparingly and are only released when we notice a trend that could improve river users’ safety. At the time of writing, only three Safety Bulletins have been issued by the PLA in 2014. PLA stakeholders took great interest in the case of Safety Bulletin 1 of 2014 warning of very high fluvial flows which hit 1,600 click-throughs in a matter of days. It even attracted the attention of Olympic Gold medallist for rowing Matthew Pinsent, who tweeted the Safety Bulletin to his 55,000 followers.

Safety Bulletin 3 of 2014 can be downloaded using this link http://bit.ly/SnM0Ax

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Notes to Editors:

1. The PLA oversees navigational safety on 95 miles of the tidal Thames, from Teddington Lock to the North Sea. The river is home to the second biggest port in the UK, the busiest inland waterway for freight, passengers and a centre for sporting events

2. PLA Safety Bulletins are currently hosted on the PLA recreational and leisure site: http://www.boatingonthethames.co.uk/Safety-Bulletins
Safety Bulletins will be relocated to PLA’s main website www.pla.co.uk in the future.

3. Inland waterway Category C - tidal rivers, estuaries and large, deep lakes and lochs where the significant wave height could not be expected to exceed 1.2 metres at any time.
More info: https://www.gov.uk/inland-waterways-and-categorisation-of-waters

Port of London Authority | +44 (0)1474 562200 | webenquiries@pla.co.uk