PLA and BMF Agree Requirements for Hired Narrowboats on Tidal Thames

PLA and BMF Agree Requirements for Hired Narrowboats on Tidal Thames

16 March 2015

Following a Port of London Authority (PLA) investigation into an accident that involved a hired narrowboat on the tidal Thames, PLA and representatives from British Marine Federation (BMF) and Association of Pleasure Craft Operators (APCO) have together addressed the safety issues related to hire narrowboats on the tidal Thames.

The group intends to agree clear and practical rules and guidelines for hire narrowboats that wish to transit the tidal Thames. To date, PLA and BMF have agreed a set of requirements for narrowboats that want to transit the tidal Thames between Brentford and Teddington Lock. Guidance documents for boat operators that will outline these requirements are expected to be published by the end of April. This follows IWA’s enquiry, at the end of 2014, that asked PLA to explain why it believed its request that hire companies ceased operations on the tidal Thames was appropriate, and in what way it would contribute to better safety on the tidal Thames.

PLA and BMF have stated that requirements will be based on existing safety certification with additional measures introduced to reduce the likelihood of hire narrowboats flooding on the tidal Thames. There are also plans for the documentation provided and existing handover procedures between the operator and the hirer or charterer to be improved.

Potential requirements for hire narrowboats that want to navigate the more complex tideway conditions between Limehouse and Brentford are still under discussion.

More information is available at British Marine Federation’s website.

Photo: Narrowboat enroute along the River Thames from Teddington to Limehouse (photo by Andy Clarke)

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