LHC Update November 2010

Posted on 01 Dec 2010

Lymington Harbour Commissioners

Stakeholder Update – November 2010 Review of ‘W’ Class Ferry Operations & Marine Safety


In 2009, Lymington Harbour Commissioners appointed BMT Isis to conduct an independent review of ferry operations and marine safety on the river during the busy summer season. Their report also analysed ferry related incidents and undertook a review of the risk assessments related to ferry operations. Their report, was published in November 2009 and is available for download from the LHC website. Although the report contained a number of recommendations for further improvement, it concluded  “…that the low level of marine risk on the Lymington River had not been compromised by the introduction of the W-Class ferries.”  The report also concluded “… that the risk management approach adopted by LHC in respect of the introduction of the W-Class ferries complies with the requirements of the Port Marine Safety Code.”


To comply with the requirements of the Port Marine Safety Code, an on-going review of the marine risk management on the river is required. To facilitate this, LHC again chose to appoint BMT Isis to undertake a review of ferry operations related to marine safety on the river for the 12 month period following the 2009 review.  The purpose of the review was to:

a) Assess the interaction of ferries/other craft on the river with particular regard to compliance with International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea (the Colregs); b) Review compliance with the ferry Safe Operating Profile (SOP); c) Assess the extent to which recommendations made in the November, 2009 report were being observed; d) Analyse reported  ferry related incidents for the period 1st October 2009 to 30th September 2010 and compare with the previous year; e) Revisit the risk register in the light of (a) to (d) and modify if necessary; f) Make further recommendations as necessary.

As part of the review, members of the BMT team also undertook observations on the river on four dates identified by LHC in consultation with the yacht/sailing clubs as likely to see high traffic density on the river. An “incognito” visit was also undertaken.

BMT Isis have now released their report (dated November 2010), a copy of which is available for download from the LHC website at  www.lymingtonharbour.co.uk


The principal conclusions include:

1) The risk control measures in place are working well and have resulted in a further reduction in the already low level of risk on the river. 2) There was a health reduction in reported incidents (including ferry related) over the previous year. 3) Ferries and leisure users continue to find a way to ‘co-exist’ on the river aided by good compliance with the Colregs by most users. 4) Compliance by the ferries with the Safe Operating Profile was good. 5) Compliance with the recommendations made in the previous report was good. 6) Harbour Master patrols remained effective in improving compliance with the ‘rules of the road’, and in providing education and guidance when required. 7) Wind shadow effects were observed but generally handled well by the helms of affected boats. Awareness of wind shadow effects had improved in the light of experience and through circulation of information by LHC and the sailing/yacht clubs. 8) Interaction with Wednesday Junior Sailing continued to be safely managed and well organised. 9) Ferry wash was not observed to be a significant problem albeit their remains a need to continue to manage the final approach to the berth and the use of thrust when on the berth using the existing control procedures. The proposed modifications to the ferry berth will further improve safety in this area. 10) There were some further recommendations for revisions to the Safe Operating Profile in the light of a further year of operational experience.

Lymington Harbour Commissioners are pleased to note that BMT Isis have found that safety management on the river  continues to improve and warmly welcomes the efforts of the sailing clubs, Wightlink, and other organisations for the work undertaken to ensure this remains the case.

Peter Griffiths