Coronavirus: Essential port trade is PLA priority
Protecting key supplies of food, fuel and medical goods remains the PLA’s priority during the COVID-19 emergency. Our pilots and other critical staff are working around the clock to ensure that vessels from around the world can still deliver these essential provisions to the capital. 153 vessels have arrived in port since 20 March.  Until the situation eases, we will not be issuing or renewing any permits for any activity on the foreshore. All existing licence holders are requested to stay indoors, in line with Government advice. Bob Baker, chief harbour master, said: “The situation is serious, so we must do everything we can to support the national response.
With our staff resources stretched due to the current lock down, we have cut non-essential activities. This includes suspending routine river patrols between Putney and Teddington. Tideway has also announced today (25 March) that it is limiting work on construction on the super sewer to safety critical and essential work only. Our message on recreational use of the river is clear - please do not go afloat at this time.Time on your hands? There are some key things regular river users and dwellers can be doing to improve safety for the future during this time. For example: 1, Check that all lifejackets and other safety equipment are in good working order. The RNLI has produced this useful video to assist you. 2, Carry out any essential maintenance work needed on your vessel and check that your engine is in good working order. 3, Enroll for an online training course on first aid, or other skills useful on the river. 4, Brush up on your knowledge of the Tideway Code for rowers and paddlers and the Golden Rules for personal water craft users. 5, Our Mooring Guidance gives houseboat residents advice on ensuring they comply with best practice. We ask that all commercial operators check their moorings at this time too. 6, Make sure any navigational charts you have are up to date. Ensure you know where all the information is to assist you in preparing safe passage plans when this crisis is over. Our Boating the Thames website has more tips on how to do this.
How can you help? To reduce the risk of potential unnecessary strain on all the emergency services at this time, we are urgently requesting all recreational users to cease activity on the river until further notice. This important appeal applies to rowers, canoeists, sailors, stand-up paddlers and private pleasure river boat owners, as well as mudlarkers and anyone who uses the foreshore for walking, or any other purpose.

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