Wake up to your wash

From the Harbour Master

It is with sadness that I must inform you that whilst on a vessel moored alongside a quay in the West Arm of Shoreham Harbour, a person sustained an injury, of the loss of part of a finger. One of the contributing factors of this incident was other vessel movements in excessive wake/wash. 

It is not just your speed but the wake from vessels that has an impact within Shoreham Port. Excessive wake from vessels and personal watercraft creates an unsafe environment for all users.  In addition, too much wake can also cause damage. 

Shoreham Port encourages all user to be responsible by ensuring that all vessels are manoeuvred in such a manner as not to cause or likely to cause; loss of life, injury, damage to any vessel, the river banks or property 

By reducing your wake, will reduce the risks and protects all users including swimmers, boaters, and serves as a tool to lessen shoreline erosion.  Reducing your wake is also an easy way to reduce boating impacts helping to keep everyone safe and happy on our waters. Relieving tension between all stakeholder is beneficial for all and can be easy achieved, if vessel operators are aware of their wake and reduce it wherever necessary. 

It is sad that lessons learnt post incident are often ones that are simple to put into place yet are looked over or ignored. 

Thank you! Be safe and have fun! 

Kind regards 

Julian SeamanHarbour Master/Director of Marine Operations Shoreham Port


General Information
Definitions as per Shoreham Port’s General Direction for Navigation 2010.

  • ‘Power Driven Vessels’ means any vessel propelled by machinery.‘Master’ means any person having or taking the command, charge or management of a vessel for the time being.
  • ‘Small vessel’ means a vessel less than 20m in length overall.
  • ‘The restricted area’ means the waterways of the Port lying inland of a line drawn between the southern extremities of the East and West Breakwaters together with such part of the open sea as lies within a radius of 320 metres from the southern extremity of the West Breakwater.

The Harbour, in particular over the high water period is a busy area for all water activities including; Commercial traffic, Canoeing, Kayaking, Stand up Paddle boarding, swimming and angling all coexisting in designated areas.

Safety Information
This notice is intended to give advice in line with the principles of the Port Marine Safety Code and the accompanying Guide to Good Practice on Port Marine Operations.

Speed limit and Wake/Wash
Vessels navigating within the Port shall take particular care to comply with General Direction for Navigation No. 6: The harbour speed limit is 6 knots.

Remember, it is not just your speed that you need to watch. Keep a good lookout (including astern) and realise what effect your wash is having on other users. Slow down when you see vessels more vulnerable – e.g. vessels on moorings particularly with dinghies alongside, young people in canoes or crews embarking their vessels.

The Harbour Authority requires that all mariners shall take all reasonable precautions to ensure that all those who use the water do so safely. 

  • Ensure you have checked the current and future weather forecast and that sea conditions are suitable for the size/type of vessel or activity and your competence level
  • Familiarise yourself with areas of shallow water and charted obstructions
  • Equipment should be fit for purpose and clearly marked with your name and contact details.  
  • Recommend that lifejackets or buoyancy aids are worn at all times, maintained as per the manufactures instructions and fit for purpose.
  • All vessels using the Harbour must comply with The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), General Directions for Navigation 2010, Local Notices to Mariners and Harbour Master’s Directions.  It is the responsibility of all those who go afloat to familiarise themselves with these directions. Harbour users who do not comply with these directions may be prosecuted.
  • Tell somebody on shore of your movements.
  • Report all incidents to Shoreham Harbour Radio via VHF channel 14 or by telephone on 01273 592366. 

Kill Cord 
Always, always use a kill cord and ensure that it is attached to the driver of the vessel. Small open power boats will normally be fitted with a kill cord which, if used correctly, will stop the engine if the driver becomes dislodged from the helm position.

Swimmers should not expose themselves to unnecessary risk.  Parents of young swimmers, and swimmers themselves, are reminded of the following basic precautions:-

  • Always keep to the designated swimming areas
  • Never dive or jump into water without knowing the water depth
  • Never dive or jump from any bridge or structure
  • Never swim near moving boats, boats running their engines or boats which may depart their moorings
  • Never swim in the Navigational channels
  • Never swim in strong currents and/or tides
  • Never swim after consuming alcohol or after a meal
  • Beware of the cold; hypothermia can kill
  • It is not advisable to swim alone
  • Always swim within your limitations
  • Always tell someone on the shore where you are swimming and when you expect to return to the shore
  • Consider wearing a highly coloured swim cap to aid visibility

Safety within the Harbour
The Harbour Authority does not wish to over-regulate the use of the harbour.  Harbour users should be able to safely enjoy the full range of activities available.  The Harbour Authority has a responsibility to manage the risks associated with marine operations to ensure that they remain as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).  It is appreciated that going afloat can never be free of risk and that everybody who uses the harbour, especially those in control of vessels, has an important role to play to ensure the harbour remains safe.

The Harbour Authority wishes to emphasise the following:-

  • The Master, Skipper or person in charge of a vessel, regardless of type or size, remains responsible for its safety. Event organisers or Clubs have additional responsibilities.
  • All vessels using the Harbour must comply with the COLREGS, General Directions for Navigation 2010 and Harbour Master’s Directions. It is the responsibility of all those who go afloat to familiarise themselves with these regulations. Those who do not comply with these regulations may be prosecuted
  • Clubs have a particular responsibility to ensure that events which they organise, or facilities which the Club provides, are run to acceptable safety standards and that their members are kept appraised of the standards required and any possible dangers involved.
  • There may be times when it is not safe to participate in a particular activity. Before taking to the water those in charge of vessels and those organising events and races need to carefully consider the prevailing weather, tidal and traffic conditions.
  • There may be times when your planned use of the Harbour has to be modified or cancelled. This is common sense and basic seamanship. This is reflected in the requirement to assess risks and put appropriate precautions in place

This Notice to Harbour users constitutes a public notice in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Shoreham Port Authority gives notice that Shoreham Harbour is subject to surveillance by Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems which are monitored.

CCTV images are processed and recorded in order to enable the Harbour Master to carry out his statutory functions and for the purpose of promoting safety within the Harbour.

Any Harbour user that has concerns about any activity on the water should telephone the Harbour Master on 01273 598100 or call “Shoreham Harbour Radio” on VHF Channel 14 or by telephone on 01273 592366.

Julian Seaman Harbour Master 20 April 2018