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Our News and Notices

The News Article on use of Portsmouth Harbour

Central - 30 Mar 20 General

Please don't venture out.

Authorities responsible for patrolling the Solent have asked people not to take to the water during the national lockdown, as sailors continue to venture out.
The MoD Police have been stopping pleasure boats in Portsmouth Harbour all week, with two boats out on the water on Saturday, according to a spokesman from the Queen’s Harbour Master in Portsmouth.
“There have been a couple of people heading out – they have been turned around by police, saying it isn’t essential exercise,” says the spokesman, according to the Portsmouth News.
“People think they are isolated out on the sea, but they still have to get out there.”
Sailors were risking their own health and the health of coastguard and emergency services crews who may be called upon to help in the event of an emergency, the spokesman says.
“Social distancing would have to go out of the window. It would come down to people using personal protective equipment – but it’s still a tricky situation.”
It is “not fair” for sailors to risk emergency service crews breaking social distancing, the River Hamble Harbour Authority said in a statement following a rescue operation on Wednesday.
The statement said: “In completely benign conditions, we were called out to rescue a single-handed sailor who had run aground at the mouth of the river.
“It is simply not fair to place emergency response personnel in such a position.
“Going for a run or exercising is one thing, going out on a boat, paddleboard or kayak is another.”
The Langstone Harbour Board in Hayling Island reported that sailors continued to use the water in the run up to the lockdown – despite the government advising against non-essential journeys.
“Last Saturday, we saw three people out on the water – since then we haven’t seen anyone.”
In his address to nation on Monday evening, the prime minister said people would be permitted one form of outdoors exercise a day, including walking, running, and cycling.
Michael Gove appeared on the BBC on Tuesday to add that outdoors exercise included visiting an allotment, but not more social activities such as playing golf.
Boat and water-sport enthusiasts should be sensible and follow government guidelines, according to a spokeswoman from the Royal Yachting Association, which also supports jet-ski owners.
“Understandably and under normal circumstances, the RYA would not want to discourage recreational boating activity,” she says.
“However, these are exceptional times and, if the government rules are ignored, it not only could you put yourself and others at increased risk of contracting the virus, you risk placing an unnecessary potential burden on the emergency services.”
Police have been given the power to fine people upwards of £60 for flouting lockdown rules

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