Health & Safety on the Hamble

Yachtsmen on the River Hamble will be able to sleep more soundly in their bunks in the knowledge that the local Harbour Authority is probing the dangers of paddleboarding.

The River Hamble Harbour Authority are obliged to comply with the Port Marine Safety Code, by regularly asking harbour users what their views are on matters of safety.

And to be fair to the Harbour Authority this must be an onerous task. You can just imagine the poor old Harbourmaster checking his diary and saying to his staff: ‘Oh cobblers it’s time for another one of those damn PMSC safety vox pops. Anyone got any ideas?’

‘What about the location of buoys, and sector lights, we could see if they are still safe?’ pipes up one bright spark.

‘Of course they’re bloody safe,’ says the irritated Harbourmaster, ‘they’ve been there for donkey’s years, and the coastline hasn’t moved, there are no new shoals, we haven’t had an earthquake. What the hell’s the matter with you…hang on a minute though we’ve got to think of something. Apologies Smithers – yes take a note of that Miss Brace.’


‘What about speed and wash, sir?

‘For God’s sake you herbert…there’s already a speed limit and anyone making wash gets short shrift from our launch service, can’t you come up with something better than that? On the other hand I suppose we can say it’s under review…again.’


‘Well, sir, there’s been an increase in rowing boats in recent years, isn’t there a safety factor here?’

‘What bloody threat are rowing boats to anyone, you dolt? Go on Miss Brace put it down anyway. I suppose you’re going to mention paddleboarders next?’

‘Well, yes sir, I was.’

‘Damn good idea, Smithers…Miss Brace?’

The Hamble is the UK’s most populated yachting waterway, with more than 5,000 yachts bobbing up and down and more than 25,000 sailors flocking to their topsides.

Can anyone in living memory recall this chock-a-block haven of shelter and sanctuary bearing witness to tragedy in excess of its per capita due?

Anyway here’s what the River Hamble Harbour Authority will be asking you:

‘1.   The location and characteristics of Aids to Navigation (buoys, piles, sector lights, lights etc). Harbour Authority staff, in conjunction with Trinity House, will be conducting a full review later in the year and would welcome your input.

2.   Excessive speed and wash. We would be interested in any new suggestions for dealing with this perennial problem.

3.   Rowing.  There has been a significant increase in rowing activity on the River in recent years. Are any additional safety measures required?

4.   Paddleboarders.  This is a relatively new activity on the River. Are any new safety measures required?

Please submit your response, by 10 August 2012, clearly stating whether you are responding as an individual or on behalf of an organisation, in writing to: David M Evans, Marine Director and Harbour Master, Harbour Office, Shore Road, Warsash SO31 9FR, or by email to:’

Toad’s already got his pen out.