Newbie to Forum and Thames Boating

JorgeinLondon

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9 Jun 2015
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Notting Hill, London
Greetings...

I am in the process of buying a very small first boat for cruising on the Thames. I was quite good at sailing small boats in my teenage years and spent every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons on the water. I've had more limited experience with motor boats, driven a Glastron with a huge V8 mercruiser back in the 90's, had a go on some bigger boats once or twice and have rented boats on the Thames recently. I don't have any qualifications although I'm thinking about doing an RYA motorboat course.

The boats is an 1985 Sealine 18 Weekender. It's old but the engine (a 75hp Evinrude E-TEC) is has only got 85 hours on it and is only 3 years old and just had a service. The boat has been well looked after. My thinking is that because the hull is old but a new engine I should have some reliability without the headache of panicking if I scratch which is probably going to happen once or twice.

It is moored down at Chiswick Quay Marina. We are taking over the mooring.

I have had fun reading all the stuff on here. Its been quite useful research.

Do people think I'm crazy or have I got the right idea?
 
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welcome to the forum, just get her on the thames and enjoy. You don't need any qualifications up this end of the thames.
 

blues-n-twos

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I say go for it. I'm new to Thames and boating as well and recently launched my 18' shetland in non tidal Thames. I have a 60hp mariner and it's way over powered for river use. Yours will be also as there are speed restrictions up to the Thames barrier.

If the price is right and the boat ticks your boxes then why not. Enjoy :encouragement:

Jon
 

JorgeinLondon

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Thanks for the replies.

We are in Chiswick Marina which is quite nicely positioned to go in either direction. Also got tides to think about which makes things interesting. Seems we're down to doing small 3.5 hour trips if the HT is in the middle of the day or every so often you can get out for a long day (HT a.m. and reasonably early evening).

I know I'm waaay overpowered for the 5kn bit but its nice to have the flexibility if we decide to go down past the 12kn restriction.

Our of interest has anyone on here look at the certificate of compliance that the PLA do? I have only found sketchy details. Seems you need to have an AIS with VHF radio, a flashing white light and some extra qualifications. Or is it a lot harder than that? One of the qualifications needs you to have 60 days signed up experience on the tidal Thames and a 'commercially recognised' certificate. Is that any RYA cert or something else?

Jorge
 

Outinthedinghy

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dont need them on any part of the thames


True

And on a boat that size you don't even need VHF although it is advisable to have one anyway and numbers on your mobile phone for VTS and marinas.

The Boat Safety Certificate was called 'Certificate of Compliance' in the early days but you only need that above teddington anyway.
You do need 3rd party £1m insurance for the tideway but no boat handling qualifications are mandatory. Worth doing the RYA powerboat day course anyway I would say. And the VHF training.
 
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Outinthedinghy

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If you find you only use the boat above Wandsworth I would suggest trading the 75 in for a Honda 15 or similar as you would never be planing anyway. Of course if you have a trailer or want to go down to the estuary its a different story.
 

JorgeinLondon

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At the moment I'm not sure what I want. Do I want to burble up river and do a proper inland cruise, or do I want to do fast day boating down past the barrier etc. I think what I've got is a good 'both worlds' option. Not a perfect day-boat, not a perfect inland cruiser but it will do both reasonably well.. Once I've got some river days under my belt I will probably come to some sort of conclusion and move onto something else.

The certificate of compliance I was talking about is the one that's mentioned in bylaw 16.3 (part d). It's the one they give to various RIB operators that operate and lets you go a bit faster through various points. Here's a link to the PDF. Scroll down to page 12/33

http://pla.co.uk/assets/120529_Thames_Byelaws1.pdf

In other places I've found references to it being for 'recreational users' as well as professional companies but its very nefarious.

Other things you need:
1) a PLA LKE (local Knowledge Endorsement) - Actually this makes some sense looking at the Curriculum..
a) to get that you need to prove 60 days on the water and..
b) have a 'commercial endorsed' qualification pertinent to the boat you want to drive
http://www.pla.co.uk/Safety/PLA-Local-Knowledge-Endorsement#get
2) an AIS (a certain standard of AIS to boot)...
3) a VHF - again makes sense
4) a flashing white masthead light

Has anyone on here tried to go through all this? Is it worth it? I like a mission so not afraid to give it a go.

Again thanks for all your replies, it's always good to see get peoples opinions and unlike some other forums, you all seem friendly!
 

Outinthedinghy

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That's interesting.

I wonder if any leisure boat owners do actually do it or if it is just for the "Thrill ride" ribs and the Clippers ie commercial operators of vessels exceeding the 12kt limit. I have occasionally seen what look like private ribs going well over 12kts around Limehouse but then I have seen boats exceeding the speed limit everywhere on the River so I'm not convinced its a qualification thing but more of a 'getting away with it' thing.

AIS is quite expensive if you need to transmit and 60 hours on the River - how do you prove that ?

Sounds like a lot of fannying about and ££ for something which has limited value. If you go down past Wapping yes you may be able to maintain planing speed at low tide levels but it is so rough at higher tide levels I don't think you would really gain much by attempting to go fast, at least not in an 18 foot boat. I could be wrong as I am a slow boat person so no experience of planing vessels on rough water.
 

JorgeinLondon

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It does sound a bit of a hassle. Probably so much of a hassle that no one has bothered. Apparently you can print out a log form and get it signed and dated by people policing the river on launches.

The AIS is expensive and the price range is extraudinary! So would be interesting to know what they would except.

I bet there's some other deal breaker that I am not aware of yet.
 

Outinthedinghy

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That's interesting about the log form - so I take it that means when you go out for a jolly on the tideway you inform London VTS when you start and find a patrol boat to sign your log at some point during the trip. Sounds quite a good setup if that's correct :)

Might be a bit awkward to get alongside a patrol boat in some places. I wonder if they would do it retrospectively for example if you came out of chiswick marina to go to the barrier and back their would be proof of passing the barrier because you have to ask permission so that would count for x hours on the River. That would be good
 

rosssavage

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Congratulations!! Being a Sealine its a proper boat, and that E tech is a serious engine. Get the blue stripe polished or plastic wrapped at some point, and that will be a lovely boat :)

Sun is shining this weekend, best go out and use her :)
 

AuntyRinum

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Congratulations!! Being a Sealine its a proper boat, and that E tech is a serious engine. Get the blue stripe polished or plastic wrapped at some point, and that will be a lovely boat....

Is that how the quality of an awb is measured? Get the blue stripe polished........? I hope the new owner will have a better feel for what makes a good boat than that. :(
 

JorgeinLondon

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First outing was on Thursday. Was very interesting! We managed to prep and leave the marina (Chiswick Quay) with no problems. We had to be out of the marina for 24 hours for our new berth agreement to kick in, so we decided to go upstream as far as we could, have lunch somewhere, then potter back to Chiswick Pier for the night. Unfortunately the vendor of the boat had forgotten to tell me about the fuel cut off tap, so just as we got to Kew bridge we ran out. It's amazing how much fuel sits in the pipes, very interesting to see how far you can go. After a few seconds of panic I decided to deploy the anchor (yes we have an anchor, the guys at Teddington where very impressed :p). A couple of minutes later I managed to find the tap and we were on our way again. After that the engine ran pretty much for 10 hours with no issues. At least we managed to test the safety kit out.

We brought a day license from Teddington. I have to say that every lock related person we came across was utterly charming: friendly, willing to answer 'stupid' questions, downright funny at times and made us feel really welcome. We then carried on till the Albany Pub and had a quick lunch. We carried on all the way up to Shepperton Marina where we took advantage of their Petrol pump (a very rare thing). I wouldn't do it again as its kinda expensive but our internal tank which is quite large needed filling and I didn't fancy the 3 trips to the garage we would need to do it again. However now I will just keep topping up with the trusty 20L jerry can.

We then turned around and started on our way back. We had a refresher at the Boating Arms (it was VERY hot on Thursday) and carried on down. We didn't want to wait for the weir bridge to open at Richmond so we used the lock there. I liked the payment system (using long fishing net) and the chain mooring system. Why don't the locks upstream use chains instead of the bollards? We got to Chiswick Pier around 8:30p.m.

I returned the boat back to her permanent home the next day. Hoping next journey will be Sunday.

After a shaky start, we managed to have a wonderful day. I would say as with other observations on here it was VERY quiet! Other than a couple of Thames Ditton Hire boats, 2 canal boats, and a speed boat with ladies who will have sunburn where they shouldn't it was pretty dead.
 
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