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Over 1,100 vessels join Olympic 'ID' Scheme

Gatekeeper patrols will operate in Gravesend and between Teddington and Richmond
Gatekeeper patrols will operate in Gravesend and between Teddington and Richmond

Over 1,100 recreational boat users have applied to the Port of London Authority (PLA) for temporary identification (ID) for their vessels when on the tidal Thames during this summer’s Olympics.

The PLA is issuing the IDs to enable the Olympic safety and security organisations on the river to easily confirm the identity of recreational boats, helping to reduce disruption from security checks.

The invitation to apply for the special ID applies to all recreational vessels on the tidal Thames whether resident, visiting, or just transiting through.

Most owners who have applied will already have received a colour-coded waterproof identity document which they will be asked to display in a prominent position on their vessel.  The document contains the vessel’s name, size and type, the name of the owner/master, if visiting and staying - confirmation of London berth or mooring location, and, the vessel’s dates of arrival and departure.  Boat owners should not display the ID until 15 July or from the date they arrive on the Thames.

The PLA scheme is for navigational safety reasons and is being run in conjunction with the two other navigation authorities involved, the Environment Agency and the Canal & River Trust.

PLA harbour master (safety management system), Julian Parkes said:

“We urged all vessel owners using the river during the Olympics to volunteer for this scheme, which will be in operation between mid-July and mid-September and the response has been really pleasing.  This move is about navigational safety and to help boat owners enjoy the river with the minimum of hassle during the Olympics, when security on the river will be intense.”

Gareth Stephens, harbour and waterspace manager for the Canal & River Trust, which cares for West India and Millwall Docks, added:

“The river and docks will really come alive during the Olympic period and provide a wonderful spectacle for visitors and Londoners alike.  For boaters this is an opportunity of a life time and we hope the registration scheme will ensure everyone has as safe and pleasurable an experience as possible.”

Recreational craft owners can continue to apply for an ID, but moorings may be very limited, if indeed any remain available for visiting craft.

Anchoring upriver of Gravesend is not permitted and those arriving without a confirmed mooring and who subsequently are unable to secure a mooring within a day will be asked to leave the area for their own safety, that of other recreational users and commercial traffic.

The PLA will establish gatekeeper patrols in the Gravesend area and between Teddington and Richmond to monitor craft arrivals and transits.

Those wanting to take up this voluntary ID service should complete the relevant form on this website and return it by email or by post to Laura Mitchell, Port of London Authority, London River House, Royal Pier Road, Gravesend, Kent DA12 2BG.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Police will lead an increased maritime security presence on the Thames during the Olympic period. 
  2. It is now doubtful that visiting recreational vessel will be able to secure a mooring on arrival in the tidal Thames during the Olympic period July-September. Moorings are largely confined to marinas, docks and yacht clubs up and down the river.
  3. The tidal Thames is the UK’s second busiest port and busiest inland waterway which cannot accommodate significant numbers of additional, unplanned recreational vessels this summer.
  4. Anchoring in the river upstream of Gravesend is not permitted. And with tidal streams of up to four knots and in places a tidal rise and fall of over seven metres the tidal Thames is no place to be without a mooring to go to.