Queens Harbour Master Portsmouth No 11 of 2019
to Tuesday, 31 December 2019
1. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN jointly by the Queen's Harbour Master Portsmouth and the Harbour Master ABP Southampton, that swimming across The Solent should not be undertaken without considerable preparation and very careful assessment of the risks. The cross-Solent swimmer has to cross at least one busy shipping lane, taking into account fast moving ferries and hovercraft travelling to and from the Isle of Wight, some of the largest vessels in the world transiting the deep water channel and the many recreational craft that use the area. In addition, tidal streams within The Solent are significant at times and must be carefully factored into any risk assessment.
2. Before any swim can be undertaken, those authorities responsible for safety on the water and for coordination of the passage of commercial vessels through the Solent need to be informed as early in the planning stage as possible. Principally, these are QHM Portsmouth, who is statutorily responsible for most of the waters of the Eastern Solent, ABP Southampton who operates the Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) for the area and Solent Coastguard, which co-ordinates search and rescue resources within the area. Route selection is vitally important, and should be tailored to the size of the group and the ability of the slowest swimmer. In particular, due to its arduous nature and the need to cross two busy shipping channels, swims crossing in either direction between Southsea and the Isle of Wight will only be considered for small groups of very strong swimmers and only after consultation with QHM Portsmouth. QHM will only allow such swims in exceptional circumstances.
3. To comply with the Port Marine Safety Code and with the Safety Management Systems of the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth and ABP Southampton, organisers of recreational and charity events planned to take place in The Solent are responsible for the safety of their event and for the detailed planning required to achieve the successful completion of the event.
4. This responsibility includes the undertaking of a detailed Risk Assessment for the event. Help with this can be found at ABP Southampton Notice to Mariners No 15 of 2016 and QHM Portsmouth’s LNTM 04/19.
5. To assist with the planning of your event a Code of Conduct & Advice for Cross Solent Swimmers has been prepared and approved by HM Coastguard, Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth, Southampton VTS, Solent Sea Rescue Organisation and Ryde Inshore Rescue which can be viewed at:
6. Once completed, a copy of the Event Risk Assessment is to be posted/emailed to the Queen’s Harbour Master (NAVYNBCP-COBQHMGROUP@mod.uk), Portsmouth, HM Coastguard NMOC Fareham and ABP Southampton. It is incumbent on the swim organiser to notify, in writing, the above authorities at least 28 days ahead of the event, that a swim is planned. With less than 28 days notice, the publication of required Local Notices to Mariners etc may not be achievable and this could therefore result in the harbour authorities recommending that the event does not take place.
7. Portsmouth LNTM 10/18 is hereby superseded.