Safety guidelines

The following speed limits apply:

  1. Within Portsmouth Harbour - 10 knots.
  2. Within 1,000 yards of the shore in any part of the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth - 10 knots.
  3. Within Wootton Creek to the West of the meridian of the mouth of the creek.(Longitude 01 12’.84 W) - 5 knots.
    The speed limit in each case is to be taken as "speed through the water".

WEARING OF SUITABLE LIFE JACKETS

WEARING OF SUITABLE LIFE JACKETS

While not a legal requirement for certain types of small private recreational craft; the habit of routinely wearing both appropriate (for the individual’s size and the particular hazard) and suitably tested lifejackets cannot be emphasised sufficiently as a minimum precaution to such exposed personnel (especially children).
This characteristic alone can dramatically increase both survival and rescue probability. Both the QHM Patrol and the Volunteer Harbour Patrol (VHP) will additionally remind such mariners of the importance of this procedure whenever possible.

SAFE SPEED

SAFE SPEED

The maintenance of a safe speed, at all times, within the specified speed limit, is directly proportional to risk to both life and property.  Not only is this relevant to the occupants of the “speeding” vessel but also to those who encounter the associated wake and risk of collision. General Direction 01/18 (Speed Limits) is and will continue to be strictly enforced by QHM.
 
Of particular note, the 10 knot speed limit applies within half a mile of the shore, throughout the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth which covers the majority of the eastern Solent. Mariners should be mindful of their wash when over taking vessels.

VHF GUARD

VHF GUARD

Within the Solent and especially within the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth (due to the traffic density) the continual monitoring and significance of carrying a portable VHF set (or better) and a good VHF guard by all mariners is vital for traffic coordination.
 
The essential use of VHF for all craft to safely transit and cross the harbour (see General Direction 02/17 – Portsmouth Harbour Entrance – Approach Channel, Small Boat Channel, Swashway and inner Swashway) reaffirms this and reminds the recreational user that help is only a call away.

Search and Rescue operations are primarily a Coastguard responsibility, but again, a careful guard of VHF is important here, both to obtain assistance if required and to assist other mariners if needed.

GOOD LOOKOUT

GOOD LOOKOUT

Simple but vital to all mariners,  this measure can save lives if followed diligently.  

In particular, vessels operating at speed in the Solent should be particularly vigilant towards the presence of other small craft as well as swimmers and divers marked by floats and support craft flying flag Alpha.

NARROW CHANNELS

NARROW CHANNELS

The Portsmouth approach channel, entrance and the harbour are frequently used by deep draught warships, ferries and commercial traffic that can safely navigate on within the channel. 

Small craft operators are advised that they are to adhere to the requirements of the standing LNTM  pertaining to vessels Constrained by their Draught and to Rule 9 (Narrow Channels) of the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), in that they are not to impede the passage of vessels which can safely navigate only within a narrow channel.

 

Safety points

Boat Licensing Regulations

For the small pleasure boat user who hires out or has paying guests there is a legal requirement to achieve successful inspection and certification on an annual basis. Details of this are to be found at this link.

Reporting damage or incidents

All damage to craft and navigational incidents in the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth need to be reported to QHM. See General Direction 03/18 on directions to be followed.   

Speed limits

Safe speed

Mariners are also reminded of the importance in proceeding at a safe speed at all times as defined in Rule 6 of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLLREGS). In particular in the approaches to and inside Portsmouth Harbour, when determining a safe speed, special consideration must be given to small boats. These small vessels could have combined lanterns which may be difficult to pick out against the background lighting, and they may not be detected by vessels with radar at adequate range.