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Displaying items by tag: Thames

Boaters looking to cruise the inland waterways of Scotland and England are advised of low water levels in canals and rivers across Great Britain.

The Canal & River Trust, Environment Agency and Scottish Canals have recently circulated updates to all boaters warning of low water levels in parts of Scotland, the north of England and the Thames.

Having already closed some locks temporarily and introduced reduced operating times in place on several other waterways, the Canal & River Trust is taking action to manage the very low water levels in the north of England.

However, it says further difficult decisions are now needed to conserve water. It is reported that additional temporary closures will be needed in August unless there is a significant improvement in water levels. 

A combination of a dry spring that has continued into a hot, dry summer and essential reservoir repairs taking place across the region meant that the amount of available water was already less than usual, causing water supplies in the north to drop to historically low levels. 

Although water management has been operation in some locations since the start of April and despite volunteer lock keepers helping to manage boat traffic at lock flights to ensure water supplies are used as efficiently as possible, the lack of rain has meant the reservoirs have not had a chance to refill and there is not enough water to supply the canals, the trust says.

It is now asking boaters across the country, with the help of volunteer lock keepers, to be even more careful than usual to conserve water. Boaters can help by sharing locks where possible and making sure paddles are fully closed after use. 

To find out about stoppages and water levels affecting navigation, visit the Canal and River Trust website.

In Scotland, water reserves are also coming under pressure on the Lowland Canals with leakage issues through and around a number of historic lock gates on the Forth & Clyde Canal, compounding the issue.

The Scottish Canals operational team says it is struggling to maintain water levels at a number of locations, in particular on the eastern side of the canal between Lock 16, Camelon and The Kelpies.

All unnecessary trips through the Falkirk flight are currently being restricted, since noon last Tuesday 19 July. This will affect mainly holiday hire boats and leisure boats visiting The Kelpies for an overnight stay. Sea-to-sea transits will be maintained and should be booked through the boat movements team as normal. Scottish Canals says the restriction will be lifted as soon as it is safe to do so.


Water levels are also a concern in England’s southeast, with the Environment Agency asking users of the non-tidal Thames to make sure locks are as full as possible when used to save water.

Some parts of the upper Thames are already experiencing very low flows, especially in backwaters and tributaries. Above Iffley Lock the agency cannot guarantee the navigation channel will always be sufficiently deep for craft with a draft of 0.9m or more. And it warns that it may become necessary to close locks outside of normal lock-keeper hours of duty.

The aim is to avoid emptying locks unless they contain at least one boat as a considerable volume of water is released downstream each time a lock is used, the EA says. It is also encouraging boaters to plan ahead to minimise the use of locks along their journey. 

See the ‘Information for boaters’ section of the EA website for updates, and subscribe to get advised of any Thames river restrictions and closures by emailing [email protected].

The RYA adds that there are expected to be further warnings for low water levels in these and other areas in the coming weeks. Boaters using the inland waterways are encouraged to plan ahead and to check local water reports before travel.  

Published in Inland Waterways
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A passenger boat with 148 people on board has crashed into a pier on the River Thames with its engine on fire. 

Dramatic footage (below) showed the pleasure boat hit a wooden pier at Canary Wharf with smoke billowing from the stern.

Emergency services were alerted to the incident shortly after 4pm, and although three people were checked at the scene none were injured.

Published in News Update
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Trinity House, the elegant UK working home of the General Lighthouse Authority opposite the historic Tower of London on Tower Hill, has teamed up with caterers and the powerboat charter company, Solent Rib Charter, to offer bookers an exciting senior corporate management team building package incorporating a light breakfast followed by a thrilling 'Thames Rib Blast' on the River. The Ribs can accommodate up to eight guests per boat and while the duration of the ride is flexible, most opt for a two-hour 'Blast' through Central London and/or to the Thames Barrier and back. Participants then return to the House for a first-rate champagne lunch catered by palette. Delegates will be welcome to leave personal items/luggage at the House while on the River.

The 'Blast' package is charged at a (non-negotiable) £1,988 + VAT (i.e. £248.50 per person at full capacity) per boat and includes exclusive venue hire and the two - three hour Thames River 'Blast' (irrespective of final numbers). The breakfast and post-Blast lunch is charged separately starting from an additional £167 + VAT per person for a minimum of eight participants. (Fewer numbers can be catered for a slightly increased charge).

Following a light continental breakfast, participants make the short walk to St. Katherine's Dock passing the moat of the Tower of London where the memorial Poppies were so spectacularly displayed. After donning protective clothing - guests are provided with breathable oilskins for warmth - guests will embark on a Rib for a morning of high-speed thrills (but no spills) zipping past some of the City's most famous river-side buildings such as the Houses of Parliament, London Eye, The Shard, and Old Billingsgate etc. The Ribs operate in even the most choppy and chilly conditions and can be seen on the River all year round. A celebratory lunch comprising seasonal items (such as Basil Panna Cotta to start followed by Gressingham Duck Breast as a main with Elderflower Tart for dessert) with accompanying wines and/or champagnes served by uniformed staff will be waiting the triumphant team on return to the House, rounding off an unforgettable half day on the Thames.

All bookings are subject to availability and general booking terms and conditions of Trinity House, Solent Rib Charters, and Palette.

Published in RIBs
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#TowerBridge - BBC News reports of nine people injured after a sightseeing boat crashed into Tower Bridge on the River Thames in central London yesterday morning (Wednesday 4 June).

Five were hospitalised after the included, including a 64-year-old woman believed to have suffered head and pelvic injuries when she fell down steel steps in the collision.

Two more were checked on scene by paramedics and given the all clear, while two others made their own way to get treatment.

The vessel in question, the Millennium Diamond, continued after the crash with only minor damage sustained to St Katharine Docks just east of Tower Bridge, where emergency crews took the injured ashore.

Mail Online has more on the story including images from the scene HERE.

Published in News Update
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The UKs Maritime and Coastguard Agency today have announced a series of public meetings concerning the proposed Coastguard modernisation programme. The dates and venues for these meetings are listed below.

The purpose of the meeting is to provide an opportunity for the local communities around the existing Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) to hear more about the proposals, ask questions of MCA representatives and have the opportunity to express their views.

Each meeting will be independently chaired and will begin at 7:30pm, expecting to draw to a close by 9pm.

Humber - Monday, 21 February 2011, The Spa, South Marine Drive, Bridlington, East Yorkshire. YO15 3JH

Thames - Tuesday 22 February 2011, Columbine Centre, Princes Esplanade, Walton on the Naze, Essex. CO148PZ

Yarmouth - Wednesday 23 February 2011, Great Yarmouth Town Hall, Hall Plain, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. NR30 2QF

Aberdeen - Wednesday, 23 February 2011, Pittodrie Stadium, Pittodrie Street, Aberdeen. AB24 5QH

Forth - Thursday, 24 February 2011, Waid Academy, St Andrews Road, Anstruther, Fife. KV10 3 HD

Dover – Thursday, 24 February 2011, Dover Town Hall, Biggin Street, Dover, Kent. CT16 1DL

Shetland - Monday, 28 February 2011, Town Hall, Upper Hillhead, Lerwick, Shetland. ZE1 0HB

Stornoway - Tuesday, 1 March 2011, Nicholson Institute, Springfield Road, Stornoway. HS1 2PZ

Solent - Tuesday 1 March 2011, Thorngate Halls (Community Centre), Thorngate Halls, Bury House, Bury Road, Gosport, Hampshire.  PO12 3PX

Holyhead - Wednesday, 2 March 2011, Holyhead High School, Alderley Terrace, Holyhead, Gwynedd, Isle of Anglesey. LL65 1NP

Clyde - Wednesday 2 March 2011,   Port Glasgow Town Hall, 35 King Street, Port Glasgow. PA14 5HD

Belfast - Thursday, 3 March 2010, Marine Court Hotel, 18-20 Quay Street, Bangor. BT20 5ED

Liverpool – Thursday, 3 March 2011, Southport Convention Centre, The Promenade, Southport. PR9 0DZ

Milford Haven – Friday, 4 March 2011, Cleddau Bridge Hotel, Essex Road, Pembroke Dock. SA72 6EG

Swansea – Monday, 7 March 2011, Marriott Hotel, Maritime Quarter, Swansea. SA1  3SS

Portland - Tuesday, 8 March 2011, All Saints Church of England School, Sunnyside Road, Wyke Regis, Weymouth. Dorset, DT49BJ

Falmouth – Wednesday 9 March 2011, Tremough Campus, Treliever Road, Penryn, Cornwall. TR10 9EZ

Brixham  - Thursday, 10 March 2011, Brixham College, Higher Ranscombe Road, Brixham. TQ5 9HF

Kirkwall - Tuesday, 15 March 2011, Town Hall, Broad Street, Kirkwall. KW15 1DH

Ullapool – Wednesday, 16 March 2011, Macphail Centre, Mill Street, Ullapool, Ross-shire. IV26 2UN

The details of these proposals, together with the consultation documents, can be found on the MCA website at www.mcga.gov.uk.


Published in Coastguard

About the Golden Globe Race

The Golden Globe Race is the original round the world yacht race. In 1968, while man was preparing to take his first steps on the moon, a mild mannered and modest young man was setting out on his own record breaking voyage of discovery. Off shore yacht racing changed forever with adventurers and sailors, inspired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, following in his pioneering wake. Nine men started the first solo non-stop sailing race around the World. Only one finished. History was made. Navigating with a sextant, paper charts and an accurate and reliable time piece, Sir Robin navigated around the world. In 2018, to celebrate 50 years since that first record breaking achievement, the Golden Globe Race was resurrected. It instantly caught the attention of the worlds media as well as adventures, captivated by the spirit and opportunity. The original race is back.

The Golden Globe Race: Stepping back to the golden age of solo sailing

Like the original Sunday Times event back in 1968/9, the 2018 Golden Globe Race was very simple. Depart Les Sables d'Olonne, France on July 1st 2018 and sail solo, non-stop around the world, via the five Great Capes and return to Les Sables d'Olonne. Entrants are limited to use the same type of yachts and equipment that were available to Robin Knox-Johnston in that first race. That means sailing without modern technology or benefit of satellite-based navigation aids.

Competitors must sail in production boats between 32ft and 36ft overall (9.75 10.97m) designed prior to 1988 and having a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge. These yachts will be heavily built, strong and steady, similar in concept to Robin's 32ft vessel Suhaili.

In contrast to the current professional world of elite ocean racing, this edition travels back to a time known as the 'Golden Age' of solo sailing. Suhaili was a slow and steady 32ft double-ended ketch based on a William Atkins ERIC design. She is heavily built of teak and carried no computers, GPS, satellite phone nor water-maker, and Robin completed the challenge without the aid of modern-day shore-based weather routing advice. He had only a wind-up chronometer and a barograph to face the world alone, and caught rainwater to survive, but was at one with the ocean, able to contemplate and absorb all that this epic voyage had to offer.

This anniversary edition of the Golden Globe Race is a celebration of the original event, the winner, his boat and that significant world-first achievement. Competitors in this race will be sailing simple boats using basic equipment to guarantee a satisfying and personal experience. The challenge is pure and very raw, placing the adventure ahead of winning at all costs. It is for 'those who dare', just as it was for Knox-Johnston.

They will be navigating with sextant on paper charts, without electronic instruments or autopilots. They will hand-write their logs and determine the weather for themselves.

Only occasionally will they talk to loved ones and the outside world when long-range high frequency and ham radios allow.

It is now possible to race a monohull solo around the world in under 80 days, but sailors entered in this race will spend around 300 days at sea, challenging themselves and each other. The 2018 Golden Globe Race was a fitting tribute to the first edition and it's winner, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

Background on Don McIntyre (61) Race Founder

Don is an inveterate sailor and recognised as one of Australia s greatest explorers. Passionate about all forms of adventure and inspiring others, his desire is to recreate the Golden Age of solo sailing. Don finished 2nd in class in the 1990-91 BOC Challenge solo around the world yacht race. In 2010, he led the 4-man Talisker Bounty Boat challenge to re-enact the Mutiny on the Bounty voyage from Tonga to West Timor, in a simil