Lecture by QHM Portsmouth

If you weren’t on the CYC Zoom on Tuesday 2 December in the evening, you really did miss an excellent talk. Our speaker was Becky Walford, the Port Safety Officer Assistant of the Queens Harbour Master in Portsmouth.  She spoke about Portsmouth Harbour and the surrounding area which is the responsibility of QHM Portsmouth, except for commercial traffic en route to Southampton which comes under the Southampton Port Control.  It seems that the Solent is perhaps as busy as the Channel off Dover.

Becky talked about the many naval vessels including the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, and the dredging and alignment of the entrance channel involved. Then there are the many vessels that support the Navy, as well as commercial craft such as the banana boat and cross Channel ferries, and the local ferries crossing to the Isle of Wight and to Gosport.  The hovercraft running between Southsea and Ryde is the last remaining commercial route in the world so she urged us to have a trip on it whilst it is still running. And, of course on top of these vessels, there are many yachts and other pleasure boats of all sorts of size.

Last year there were over 72,000 shipping movements or “moves” as they are called – some “cold” moves (with no engine running usually involving the tugs) and “hot” moves (under engine). The QHM has a wonderful view from the 5th floor of the Semaphore Tower where they have all the latest high tech equipment for monitoring all the shipping.  We were reminded that if we want to enter Camber dock or Gunwharf, we need to call up the QHM on channel 11 and request permission to cross the main channel from Ballast.  If there are 3 yachts or power boats crossing together, then it is sufficient for just the lead boat to phone and inform them there are 3 boats together.  Boats entering or leaving Portsmouth should use the small ship channel with engine running. There is a new chart of Portsmouth Harbour no 2625 which shows the strong tides and up-to-date information – an ideal Christmas present!

Becky has a busy job, much of it in a rib on the water trying to ensure the safety of boats and crews. She has plenty of relevant experience in understanding small craft (that is under 20m).  For 12 years she was a skipper with the joint Services Sailing Association which involved Ocean sailing.  In order for us all to enjoy the pleasure of boating, she asked us please “not to cut each other up” and “play nicely”.

I was delighted to see so many members attending this interesting talk which Becky gave in a very engaging way. There were 47 logins equating to 60 members of both Yacht and Motor Sections.  Do look out for the next talk which is planned for Sunday 10th January at 1030am.

Helen Jupp

Social Secretary Yachts