Mersey crossing information pages

Update Number 1 Issued by Mike Carter

This is the first update for those intrepid navigators who will be joining us on our River Mersey  crossing in June 2014.

The first thing to say is that the objective is to enjoy the experience in the safest possible environment…  i.e.  if the weather is not good … we don’t go.

For those of you who have had some tidal navigation experience, a lot of the information given will be already well understood. However, I must reiterate that the River Mersey is potentially a very dangerous tideway and there is a need to ensure that all skippers and crew are fully prepared.

If any of you decide that the journey is not for you, don’t worry, just let me know and I will cross you off the list. We have had many skippers who have on reflection decided to forgo the experience.

All guidance notes and information supplied is based on past experience and is provided in good faith, neither myself or IWA can  be held responsible for any problems or issues that may arise during the period of the convoy. This is a link to our latest pleasure craft guidelines for transit of River Mersey, you are all advised to read this..  

Although Mike C will be completing Seaworthiness Certificates for all the vessels in Chester (7-8 Jun). Now is a good time to start looking at the seaworthiness and maintenance of your vessels.

Make sure your engines, gearboxes, stern gear etc.  are well maintained and ready for the trip. You must be prepared to make headway against a 4-5 knot tidal flow for at least 1hr. This may require running your engine at higher revs than you are used to on the canals.  Cooling and fuel contamination are common issues that need to be looked at in considering the reliability of you drive unit.  Make sure that the coolant is topped up with no leaks and serviceable hoses also ensure the stern tube is not too tight or loose and is not leaking.

Take a look at the state of the vessels hull, consider the amount of freeboard available, look at the height of the outlets above the waterline, make sure they all comply to the BSS directives. For those with air cooled engines, pay specific attention to engine air intake. Look at the drain scuppers in well-decks and make sure they are not blocked or obscured.

You must be prepared for water spray and the occasional breaking wake.

The vessel must be prepared for a moderate amount of pitch and yaw.  Take a look around inside the engine bay, make sure nothing can fall across the drive shaft or obscure air inlets. Have a look around inside the cabin and be prepared to tape shut cabinets and fittings. We don’t want to loose the telly or your precious china if a big ship passes.

Check out your insurance policy, make sure it covers inland waterways and connecting tidal waters. Ensure the third party liability is at least £3,000,000. I will need two copies of your insurance certificate so as soon as you have checked the expiry date and ensured that the policy is valid, make two copies and bring them with you.

Take a look at the Manchester Ship Canal documents that I have attached. Notice that you need an adequate anchor and chain, 15m warps, lifejackets, tide tables and charts etc.

Regarding Navigation lights – as we will be transiting the Ship Canal in good daylight visibility, navigation lights are not required, however a good torch is useful.

Regarding charts, the convoy leader will have these, but feel free to purchase an admiralty chart for the Mersey if you can afford it.

Tide Tables (Liverpool & Irish Sea) are available from Laver Publishing via. 0151 457 7949  cost is £1.85 + postage.

Convoy communications will be via. Marine VHF radio, if you have one, or mobile phone. If you have a marine radio you must also have an operators certificate. Also make sure you mobile phone is working and can be kept in a place where you can hear it ringing when underway.

There will be ‘go – no go’ discussions at 10 and 5 days before the date of the convoy, based on the medium range weather forecast, please be prepared for cancellation. In addition there will be final briefings at Ellesmere Port (Tom Rolt Theatre) at 13:00 on 10th and 11th June.

You will need to send me a cheque when I have finalised discounted costs after April 7th. I will make payments to Peel Ports via cheque 48 hrs before the convoy date.  Please note that I will pay for Brunswick lock in advance using my Visa card ( thus ensuring I can claim the money back in the event of cancellation). You need to pay Mike C the surveyor at Chester.

Other information you will require can be found in the below PDF links

Mersey Risks and Notes
NAVIGATIONAL BYELAWS 1982
Pleasure Craft Application Form (1)