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Gravel shoal just upstream of Eel Pie Island

Lower Limit 1909

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Capture.JPG

It's well marked on the charts. I've pulled more than one boat off here in the last couple of years. Another one (the larger vessel behind) stuck on there this morning. High tide not until 23:20 ish BST there. No need to identify the vessel but a useful reminder to anybody heading this way between high tides.
 

Lower Limit 1909

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Pulled a 60-70ft Dutch Barge off there once (leverage is an excellent feature of physics especially when applied at right angles to the stern of a long vessel). Explained to the chartless skipper who had no idea why he was stuck to aim for the tip of the island and 'hang a right' at the last moment. He headed off and went straight down the the left (Twickenham/Middlesex) side of the Island with an entirely predictable outcome.

Today's stranded vessel was still there a short while ago with fellow convoy boater still in attendence. Must have been 'going some' to still be stuck there 6 hours later despite having on hand assistance as the gravel is pretty friable.
 

Time Out

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They are both safely tied up at Tedd Harbour, thanks to a Teddington tug ;) I wonder where they were going? Richmond and back I guess.
 

CJL

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Fairly predictable area for a shoal to develop as it's on the inside of the bend where the flow slows and drops any solids.
The shoal is linked to the "south/Surrey" bank and has been there growing for 4-5 years.
Time to buy an echo sounder!
 

oldgit

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Fairly predictable area for a shoal to develop as it's on the inside of the bend where the flow slows and drops any solids.
The shoal is linked to the "south/Surrey" bank and has been there growing for 4-5 years.
Time to buy an echo sounder!

Think I may have kissed that once or twice with prop blade on an mega early exit from the river.
 

Norman_E

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I lived in Twickenham as a boy, very close to the river, and having seen that little chart I am quite surprised how shallow much of the river is. I remember the steam and lated diesel tugs that towed the coal barges in strings of five up to Kingston Power station and wonder if more silt has deposited since then, making the river shallower between Teddington and Richmond, as I doubt those tugs would get through now..
 

Old Crusty

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The EA argument for stopping any dredging was that the river is self scouring. Whilst that is correct, it overlooks the simple fact that once the flow subsides, the silt and gravel drop out to form shoals, often on the inside of bends, tails of islands and random spots elsewhere, stretching out to the fairway. The EA has the duty to maintain the fairway across its length of the river.

The EA has argued also that dredging does not improve flow capacity; illogical, to say the least.
 

Dave_Seager

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I lived in Twickenham as a boy, very close to the river, and having seen that little chart I am quite surprised how shallow much of the river is. I remember the steam and lated diesel tugs that towed the coal barges in strings of five up to Kingston Power station and wonder if more silt has deposited since then, making the river shallower between Teddington and Richmond, as I doubt those tugs would get through now..
Presumably the professionals understood the tide tables. Remember, the charted depths at based on Lowest Astronomical Tide.
 

Pump-Out

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The EA has argued also that dredging does not improve flow capacity; illogical, to say the least.
Because they would rather build huge legacy infrastructure like the "Jubilee River" AKA the Maidenhead flood relief channel. I recall attending a meeting, long before it was finished, were the EA rep was asked, repeatedly, to explain why moving the water from Cliveden to below Windsor would not flood Wraysbury when the time came. In effect the meeting was told that we did not understand water flow and we should just be silent.

Guess what - Wrasbury flooded the first time the channel was used. Wraysbury had not flooded for decades previously.

Now the EA want to spend even more money digging another channel to relieve. Wraysbury and settlements downstream of there. Meanwhile the logic of just dredging the blinking river continues to pass them by.

ETA: I note the Twickenham shoal is not in the EA jurisdiction.
 

Norman_E

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Presumably the professionals understood the tide tables. Remember, the charted depths at based on Lowest Astronomical Tide.
They were real professionals. They usually had five big barges full going upstream and empty down. They towed them in a 1 2 2 formation with the pairs needing skill to get them though the bridges particularly downstream where any crosswind tried to pull them out of line. I have only met one of the tug men once, when he brought back our cat after an adventure in which it went to Rotterdam and back via a coal barge and a Dutch freighter.
 

Old Crusty

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Because they would rather build huge legacy infrastructure like the "Jubilee River" AKA the Maidenhead flood relief channel. I recall attending a meeting, long before it was finished, were the EA rep was asked, repeatedly, to explain why moving the water from Cliveden to below Windsor would not flood Wraysbury when the time came. In effect the meeting was told that we did not understand water flow and we should just be silent.

Guess what - Wrasbury flooded the first time the channel was used. Wraysbury had not flooded for decades previously.

Now the EA want to spend even more money digging another channel to relieve. Wraysbury and settlements downstream of there. Meanwhile the logic of just dredging the blinking river continues to pass them by.

ETA: I note the Twickenham shoal is not in the EA jurisdiction.
And for that, Julia Simpson, still the EA regional director, was awarded an MBE for services to the community, notably in Wraysbury, according to the citation.

I wonder if they knew that.
 

Chris_d

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The dredging logic keeps coming up on here but the EA are right, the flow is controlled by the weirs doesn't matter how big the channel is its the hole at the end that controls the flow.
Dredging would help us navigate though.
 

Old Crusty

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The dredging logic keeps coming up on here but the EA are right, the flow is controlled by the weirs doesn't matter how big the channel is its the hole at the end that controls the flow.
Dredging would help us navigate though.
I have no argument with that, however, dredging improves capacity. The more capacity for the volume of water flowing through, the later the river flows out of bank.

For the record, the Jubilee has never achieved its intended flow rate or capacity for fear of it eroding its own banks and flooding along its course.
 

Outinthedinghy

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Because they would rather build huge legacy infrastructure like the "Jubilee River" AKA the Maidenhead flood relief channel. I recall attending a meeting, long before it was finished, were the EA rep was asked, repeatedly, to explain why moving the water from Cliveden to below Windsor would not flood Wraysbury when the time came. In effect the meeting was told that we did not understand water flow and we should just be silent.

Guess what - Wrasbury flooded the first time the channel was used. Wraysbury had not flooded for decades previously.

Now the EA want to spend even more money digging another channel to relieve. Wraysbury and settlements downstream of there. Meanwhile the logic of just dredging the blinking river continues to pass them by.

ETA: I note the Twickenham shoal is not in the EA jurisdiction.
The Windsor and Maidenhead flood relief channel was a housing project.

I imagine the other one further down will be the same.

Berkley homes marketing "Riverside" properties at taplow which are not Riverside...

Property 160, The Apartments, Taplow Riverside

Oh yes it looks like water, it is water, but it's not a river it is a man made flood channel...
 

Outinthedinghy

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Is the part of the Thames just upstream of Eel Pie island EA water? Surely that's PLA.

I thought the lower limit was a bit further up more like level with Toughs of Teddington.
 

Lower Limit 1909

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Yes. It's PLA's water. It's been there for many years. Probably longer than Hampton Court Palace. It does increase a bit some years and reduce others.

It's well charted and being on the inside of a bend ahead of another 'current slowing' obstacle (Eel Pie Island) it should not come as a surprise to any knowledgable river boater who has checked their route ahead of the passage. The fact that most boats from outside the area in transit do so at HW makes it largely irrelevant to them. Relying on a depth guage is unlikely to help much as it will all be over by the time it tells you anything useful.

I have had a 'couple of conversations' about it with PLA bods in informal 'social settings' and agree with their view that it would be pointless and probably environmentally detrimental to spend any time or money dredging it to save the blushes of the occasional unprepared boater. An amazing number of birds feed off it as the tide goes down. When you see birds standing up in the water ahead of you it should ring alarm bells :).

(1) Upstream it's not an issue. If you hit it you are completely on the wrong side of the river and have other problems.
(2) Downstream - aim down the centre of the fairway pointing directly at the Island and turn right only once you've passed the shoal (widest point of the beach), Not much more to it than that (apart from checking that nobody is coming the other way).
(3) Attempting to cross paths with any vessel going upstream at this point (apart from a kayak) is probably not going to work out well. Waiting 1 min for them to pass the pinch point is time well invested. Larger vessels coming upstream will have very liitle or no room for manouvre.
(4) It's only gravel. If you don't insist on mounting it at the full permitted 8 knots then getting free again without waiting for HW shouldn't be too difficult. I've pulled a vessel off despite a 20:1 weight difference and seen people go paddling and give a good push with the same results.
 
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Pump-Out

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Think we will just have to disagree on that one.
Sorry, but even the EA have acknowledged that dredging helps:
Dredging underway on Steeping River, Lincolnshire

From the press release:
The Environment Agency and its partners agree there is no single solution that can eliminate flood risk. But that it can be reduced using a combination of methods.
Such a combination, including dredging, is proposed in wide-ranging plans to reduce the risk of a repeat of last year’s flooding.

The EA also got their wrists slapped for not maintaining the ditches on the Somerset levels, when they had flooding. For years after you could not view the levels without seeing a goodly herd of JCB's clearing the streams and ditches. One senior EA bod even got fired (memory fails who it was)

Yet dredging would not work on the Thames?

I say again. for those that did not read all my previous post; I acknowledge that the shoal in the thread title is not in EA waters.
 
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