The PLA and BMF agree requirements for hired narrowboats on tidal Thames
As a result of the lessons identified from a PLA investigation into an accident involving a hired narrowboat on the tidal Thames, the Port of London Authority (PLA) and representatives from the British Marine Federation (BMF) and the Association of Pleasure Craft Operators (APCO) have worked together to address the key safety and technical issues.
The aim of this working group is to agree clear, safe and practical rules and guidelines to make it safe for hire narrowboats to transit the tidal Thames.
Consequently, the PLA and BMF have agreed construction and operational requirements for narrowboats transiting the tidal Thames in the west of London between Brentford and Teddington Lock; the section of the tidal Thames most used by hire narrowboats.
The PLA and BMF are now working on the detail of the relevant guidance documents for boat operators, which are expected to be published by the end of April.
The construction requirements will be based on existing safety certification, plus additional measures to reduce the likelihood of a hire narrowboat flooding while navigating through tidal waters. There will also be enhancements to the documentation provided and the existing handover procedures between the operator and the hirer or charterer.
We expect that hire narrowboat operators will be able to prepare their vessels to meet the additional requirements for transits between Brentford and Teddington, in preparation for the 2015 season.
Discussions are continuing for hire narrowboats seeking to navigate the considerably more complex and challenging tideway conditions between Limehouse and Brentford.
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