PLA Safety Bulletin - Keep a Proper Lookout

PLA Safety Bulletin - Keep a Proper Lookout

29 October 2013

The Port of London Authority (PLA) has appealed to all boaters to keep a proper look out whilst on the Tidal Thames, following a number of incidents where damage or injury was caused due to failure to keep a proper look out.  The PLA says this safety message is relevant to all river users as past incidents include rowers colliding with objects and capsizing, a vessel colliding with a narrow boat causing damage to the narrow boat’s stern and a vessel colliding with a mooring buoy.  These incidents all happened because the crew did not see the object or other vessel in the river.

To avoid such incidents PLA recommends that boaters:

  • Keep a proper lookout – if visibility is obscured use other members of the crew to help keep a proper lookout; if travelling at night use appropriate lighting.  Avoid distraction to maintain a constant look out.
  • Maintain situational awareness – be mindful of the known fixed objects in and geography of the area you are navigating.
  • Understand the tidal conditions – the tidal Thames is a fast flowing river with strong tidal sets and currents, be aware of these to avoid being swept into objects.

The Tidal Thames is one of the country's busiest rivers, with strong currents, a susbstantial tide range, numerous obstructions for boaters, and with large and fast moving boats involved in commercial operations often oblivious to transiting recreational boaters.  Visitors to the Tidal Thames therefore need to take extra care and carefully adhere to the rules and guidelines set out by the PLA.

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