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New Patrol Boat begins work on the Thames

People living and working near the Thames between Putney and Teddington will be seeing a new type of patrol boat purpose-built for Port of London Authority (PLA) operations on this section of the river.

PLA Patrol Vessel 'Chelsea'PLA launches patrol the river every day, helping ensure safety on the Thames; overseeing events; and providing emergency support.  The new boat – Chelsea - is the first of two that the PLA has ordered. It has been specially designed for operations on the 10 – mile stretch of river, which is a nationally important centre for rowing, sailing and other leisure activities. It is capable of routine patrolling and, when necessary, high speed response.

Features of the new boat include a big reduction in ‘wash’ waves, which can be a hazard for small recreational craft such as rowing boats and also have an adverse impact on the river banks. The deck of the new launches is also lower, making it easier for PLA crew to talk with rowers and other leisure craft on the river.  

Alan Cartwright, PLA marine engineer, who oversaw the development of the design for the new boats said:

“We spent more than a year working on the design concept for these boats with experts at Southampton University and a number of boat building specialists. Our aim was to create a hull form that generated far less wash than our old patrol boats. That led to the new ‘twin-hull’ shape which people who see Chelsea will notice as the main change.

“The new boat provides a good balance of capabilities for operations in this particularly sensitive part of the river, enabling us to serve all river users better and to protect the environment of the river. So far we have been really pleased with the feedback from river users, especially the rowers who value the reduced wash.”

The PLA made environmental performance a real focus for the design of the new launches. Apart from the low wash, the sleek catamaran hull combined with smaller, more efficient engines means they use less than one third of the fuel of the previous launches, cutting CO2 emissions. The boat is also fitted with solar panels which provide electric power for battery charging and key on-board systems.

The new launches are being built for the PLA by Ecocats Limited of Cornwall. The second boat will be delivered and commissioned in the spring, when the two boats will be officially named.

Contact: Martin Garside, Port of London Authority. Tel: 01474 562366. Email: martin.garside@pla.co.uk

Notes to Editors:

·          The Port of London Authority is responsible for safety and related matters on 150km (95 miles) of the tidal Thames from the sea to Teddington.

·          For more information on the Ecocat design, contact Henry Mayhew at Ecocats Limited. Tel:  020 7362 5089. Email: henry.mayhew@ecocats.com

·          Photographs of the new boat patrolling the Thames are available on request from Martin Garside, PLA. Tel: 01474 562366