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New VHF requirements on tidal Thames

All users of the tidal Thames are advised of a change in VHF equipment requirements.

From 1 September 2006, new General Directions from the Port of London Authority (PLA) come into force making it compulsory for all boats over 13.7metres (45ft) to be equipped with and use VHF radio. Previously this only affected boats over 20metres (65ft).

All users of boats over 13.7m are also reminded of the need to have a valid VHF licence and operators certificate.

Please note it will be possible to apply to the PLA harbourmaster for an exemption for non VHF equipped boats (not just narrow boats)  to be escorted by VHF compliant boats, when navigating upstream of Bow Creek.

The new rules apply to all types of craft throughout the tidal Thames between Teddington and the sea, except as noted above. However, narrow boats specifically travelling in either direction between Brentford and Teddington in west London are exempt.

The Port of London Authority accepts and understands that boat users affected by the new rules may require time to equip their craft with VHF equipment and to acquire a valid VHF licence and operators certificate. Consequently, there will be a transition period from September 2006 until 1 April 2007 in order for users to meet the new requirements. During that time, PLA harbourmasters and patrols will offer guidance and advice to users who have not yet been able to implement the new Direction.

·          If you require advice / guidance, contact the Port of London Authority on 020 7743 7912.

·          For more information about all safety rules on the tidal Thames visit www.pla.co.uk

·          For more information on all aspects of the new General Directions go to http://www.pla.co.uk/notice2mariners/index.cfm/flag/2/id/2615/site/navigation

·          For the full text of the new General Directions go to http://www.pla.co.uk/pdfs/maritime/General_Directions_2006_-_printers_copy1.pdf