The safety review on last season has now been finalised and is an assessment of performance by comparing incidents in 2021 with the Conservancy’s own Marine Safety Management System & Safety Plan and considers possible re-assessments of the team’s control measures.
The overall number of incidents during 2021 saw an increase of 27 from the previous year to 285 cases. A significant proportion of these were towage incidents; Of the 70 tows undertaken by the Conservancy’s patrol team, 57 were due to mechanical failure which has been a growing trend over the last five years and points to more awareness being required by harbour users of marine engine maintenance.
There were 21 reported collisions or near misses between moving vessels, an increase of 5 on the 2020 season and there were 3 reports of vessels colliding with moored vessels or navigation aids which reflects a fall of 9 from 2020. Fortunately no personal injury was sustained by those involved and although some incidents led to minor repair there were no collisions where there was integral structure damage to vessels involved. In all incidents the cause was acknowledged to be down to human error rather than, for instance , the location of moorings or navigation aids.
For last season the number of vessels going aground rose from 18 in 2020 to 32. Further investigation showed incidents occurred in numerous locations around the harbour indicating no specific area to be of higher concern for users.
Racing saw a resurgence following the lifting of Corona virus restrictions in July 2021. Conservancy Patrol teams attended two incidents where racing craft were in distress., but should be highlighted the patrol team were simply on hand if required rather than responding to a request from a sailing club. The safety cover provided by harbour clubs is considered comprehensive and presently fit for purpose.
The 2021 season saw an increase in recorded Byelaw infringements. 16 incidents were attended by patrol teams with 5 cases being for excessive speed beyond the harbour limit of 8 knots. One case has been heard with a guilty verdict returned and the helm fined; the remaining four cases are currently awaiting hearing dates.
There were also 8 separate incidents of Byelaw infringements for climbing on navigation marks in the Emsworth Channel. Since the application of anti-climb paint to the Echo lateral mark and the tops of the jetty pilings no further incidents were reported.
Warning tickets are also used by the Conservancy in order to engage with harbour users in a less pressurised way and are seen as a positive aid to highlight the consequences of boat owners’ actions. 47 Byelaw warning tickets were issued, one more than 2020. 43 were issued exclusively for exceeding the harbour limit speed of 8 knots and 4 for both excess speed and navigating without due care.
A full listing of all 285 with comparison in to the previous five seasons can be found here: CHC – Incidents Summary 2021 Table
It is positive to learn that the Conservancy’s current safety systems and safety plan were judged by ABPmer in their audit to be satisfactory for the 2021 season having discharged its duty in a way that safeguards the harbour, harbour users, the public and the environment.