I n c o n s i d e r a t e W a s h

In 2015 OPLAC set up a sub-group called iWash (inconsiderate Wash) to lobby against excessive waves from the clippers and other vessels.

Please email wash@oplac.org if you are affected by this issue on the Thames and would like to join the group.

The speed limits on the tidal Thames are:

    • 12 knot speed limit between Wandsworth Bridge and Margaretness ((just east of London City Airport)

    • 8 knot speed limit above (i.e. west of) Wandsworth Bridge (and in all creeks and off Southend - in the inshore area)

    • Vessels with exemption certificates (typically Clippers and RIBs) should show an amber flashing light and are allowed up to 25 knots between Wandsworth and Lambeth and up to 30 knots between Cherry Garden Pier (a little down river of Tower Bridge) and Margaretness. These vessels should also have passage plans which restrict their speed considerably at sensitive locations like houseboat moorings.

Irrespective of the above, wash which is liable to injure people or damage mooring structures (eg gangplanks) is an offence under section 108 of the 1968 Port of London Authority Act. 'Liable to' means that actual injury or damage doesn't have to occur, though if it has then clearly an offence has been committed. When complaining, do remind the PLA of their obligations under their own Private Act of Parliament.


General rules for navigation

A master who navigates his vessel on the Thames-

(a) without due care and attention; or

(b) in a manner liable to injure or endanger persons, other vessels, the banks of the Thames (whether

above or below mean high water level) or any structure or installation in or beside the Thames;

shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding…

To complain about specific instances of wash it is recommended that you always state the time and your location and that the wash or speed was excessive. Most vessels are tracked so the PLA can do the rest, you don't need to know what the vessel name is. Either:

1. Complain via email, to HMU2@pla.co.uk and copy in wash@oplac.org

2. Complain online here http://www.pla.co.uk/About-Us/Further-Contacts-Harbour-Master-Upper-District


3. Call 020 8855 0315 which is the PLA control room for the upper Thames. They can track all vessels live. Bear in mind that phoned in complaints are rarely logged and there will be no audit trail.

We have purchased a small loop recording camera which can be placed inside a houseboat, attached to a window. Please contact us if you would like to borrow one of these to record wash problems.

Vessel Tracking

You can track high speed vessels on the Thames yourself. All vessels on the Thames that have been granted exemption from the 12 knot speed limit have an amber flashing light and have to transmit their speed via AIS. This is recorded and available to the public here http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/shipid:187331/zoom:10 - in the "Filters" box tick "High Speed Craft" and "Ships Underway". The ships will appear on the screen. Click one to identify it and then click "Past Track" to see where it's been and at what speeds:

More soon........