The dreaded PLA bylaw revisions have come into play on the 1st July. As well as new rules and regs regarding speed for all vessels, there are new rules for skippers of all commercial vessels, which includes RIBs used for charter and training. If you are operating a craft on the Thames between Putney and Margretness in a commercial capacity, you must now have a local knowledge endorsement (LKE).
A copy of the new bylaws can be found here: http://www.pla.co.uk/pdfs/maritime/1...s_Byelaws1.pdf
The bit of interest is as follows:
22. LOCAL KNOWLEDGE REQUIREMENTS
22.1 The master of any vessel which is:
a) less than 40 metres but greater than 13.7 metres in length overall, and not
subject to compulsory pilotage; or
b) less than 13.7 metres in length overall engaged in towing or carrying
c) not a pleasure vessel
if navigating and/or working in the Thames local knowledge area, is required
to hold a valid Boatmaster’s Licence Thames Local Knowledge
Endorsement; or alternatively, to demonstrate such local knowledge to an
equivalent standard, through assessment by the PLA.
This is going to make life very difficult for charter operators, training schools and skippers alike. I know from personal experience how hard getting this piece of paper is unless you have spent literally months working on the river every day.
For those who haven't done it yet, it consists of a comprehensive verbal commentary (no notes, charts or other materials are allowed) of a passage from Margretness to Putney. You need to know depths, bridge heights, and names of the majority of wharfs and docks and moorings.