Vessel Licensing - Coaching Launches
Coaching Launches - Wash Testing
Wash, and the effects of wash, can be a major danger on the tidal Thames, especially in the main rowing and leisure section above Wandsworth Bridge. This area is subject to a strict eight-knot speed limit, which applies to all powered craft.
However, under the Port of London Thames Byelaws, rowing coaching launches are permitted to exceed this speed limit when escorting a rowing vessel for training purposes or during a boat race or regatta.
Anyone wishing to operate a coaching launch for these purposes, and where the craft will carry more than two people, must first undertake a PLA Wash Test. This ensures that any such vessel does not produce excessive and potentially dangerous wash when exceeding the eight-knot speed limit.
The PLA Wash Tests are subject to a moderate administration charge of £20 per vessel and will check the vessel's wash at varying speeds. We would encourage you to contact the Port of London Authority (PLA) Marine River Inspector to arrange a mutually convenient time. Requests for assessment are to be made by telephone to 07711 640 095 (08:00 hours to 17:00 hours) or by email: HarbourServiceUpper.District@pla.co.uk.
Once approved the wash assessments will remain valid for the life of the vessel or until the vessel is subject to a major modification, such as the installation of a different outboard engine. In the event of a proven case of excessive wash against a coaching launch, the wash approval may be withdrawn at the discretion of the Harbour Master.
Filming from Coaching Launches
Any and all professional filming or photography on the water with a professional or commercial film/tv/camera crew/ photographer requires a PLA filming licence (whether or not a financial transaction occurs).
Boats owned by clubs (including coaching boats, safety boats and tinfish etc) should NEVER be used for professional/commercial filming UNLESS the vessel is licensed by the PLA as a passenger vessel.
A very cautious approach needs to be taken with any filming on the River Thames. This includes any filming by a club for training/analysis purposes etc. However, ‘training filming’ by an appropriate person directly attached to a rowing club – eg using a GoPro to be used for technique/training purposes would not normally need a filming licence. It must be emphasised that:
• filming should never impede the ability of the person at the helm to navigate or to keep a good lookout at all times (in other words it would be considered similar to using a phone whilst driving!)
• therefore filming should be done, either:
i. by a second appropriate person, who is a member of the rowing club, or
ii. from a GoPro rig or similar attached to the boat/appropriate clothing, or
iii. safely from the shore and/or safely from bridges over the river, etc.