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Port of London Authority's £2 million investment in new patrol boats

Computer-generated image of the PLA's new patrol boat

The Port of London Authority (PLA) has begun a £2 million investment in a fleet of five purpose-built patrol boats that will improve the environmental and operational performance of its patrol vessels on the Thames.

Northumberland boat builder Alnmaritec Limited, has won the contract to build the new catamaran-hulled boats.  The design has been developed so that the boats create the least resistance when they move through the water. As a result, each boat will use far less fuel, produce less carbon dioxide and cause much smaller waves on the river than existing craft – helping protect the riverbank environment.

“We have a presence on the tidal Thames, 24 hours a day, between the estuary and Putney, helping to ensure river users stay safe,” explained PLA Chief Executive, Richard Everitt.

“This investment is about making sure that we maintain this vital presence with the best efficiency.  Once the programme is complete, we will have five boats of the same design, as opposed to the variety of vessels we have now.  This will improve our operation markedly, for both the crews and maintenance teams alike, as well as reducing our environmental footprint.”
With tank tests at Newcastle University on the hull now complete, construction of the first launch is set to start.  The PLA expects to take delivery of the first boat in the spring – around the time of its centenary celebrations.

It will then put the new boat through its paces, trialling it in all the duties that patrol vessels are expected to carry out, so that any minor changes necessary can be identified, before the remaining boats are built by Alnmaritec.

More information from: Martin Garside, Port of London Authority, Tel: 01474 562366. or Email

Notes to Editors:

  • The Port of London Authority (PLA) is responsible for navigational safety and related matters on 150km (95 miles) of the tidal Thames from the sea to Teddington
  • London is one of the top three ports in the UK and handles over 50 million tonnes of cargo each year.
  • The Port comprises over 70 independently owned and operated terminals and port facilities at different locations on the Thames. These handle a wide range of cargoes.
  • 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.