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New Thames Safety Code Launched

A new code which sets out best practice for safety of passenger boat operations on the tidal Thames was formally launched today (19 May 2009).

The 'Passenger Boat Code' was developed in just ten months by the Port of London Authority (PLA) in collaborative work with the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, London River Services, the Marine Policing Unit, the Company of Watermen and Lightermen, the Passenger Boat Association, several Class V passenger vessel and high speed craft operators and other river users. 

The Code brings together in one place practical advice and an interpretation of regulations that represent best practice for passenger boat operations.  Its development is aimed at maintaining and improving safety aboard passenger vessels on the river. 

Chris Livett, Philip Maylor and David Snelson with the new Code
Chris Livett, Philip Naylor and David Snelson with the new Code of Practice
(click on image to enlarge)

The launch was held onboard HQS Wellington, a vessel which is home to the Honourable Company of Master Mariners and is permanently moored on the north bank of the Thames.

Speaking at the event Chris Livett, deputy chairman of the Passenger Boat Association and owner of Thames boat company, Livetts Launches, said:

"River trips and commuting on the Thames have rarely been as popular as they are today.  We give people the chance to see London from a unique and magical perspective.  It's essential that they know they can travel on the river in safety.  The development and introduction of this Code underlines our undiminished commitment to safety and we hope will give re-assurance to commuters and tourists alike."

PLA chief harbour master, David Snelson, commented:

"The development of the Code is an important signal that the river community is not complacent about safety.  In the twenty years since the Marchioness tragedy many improvements have been made, for example the electronic location system specially developed by us for vessels working on the river Thames in the centre of the city.  This latest initiative shows the commitment of the river community to constantly improve what we do; something that is vital as the use and popularity of the river for transport continues to grow."

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s new Director of Maritime Services, Philip Naylor added:

"It is great to see an industry-generated initiative like this brought to a prompt and successful conclusion. This Code won't gather dust on people's shelves; it's a practical guide which will be kept current by regular reviews by the group."

Copies of the Passenger Boat Code are available from the PLA by calling 01474-562364 or by clicking here

Notes to Editors:

  • The Port of London Authority (PLA) is responsible for navigational safety and related matters on 95 miles of the tidal Thames from the sea to Teddington in west London
  • The PLA provides navigational, pilotage and other services for users of the Thames
  • London is the UK's second largest port, handling over 50 million tonnes of cargo each year.
  • London also has a busy passenger boat trade for tourists and commuters and is a popular destination for international passenger cruise ships.
  • The tidal Thames is also used widely by those with small recreational craft of many types.


PLA Corporate Affairs, Tel: 01474-562364