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During February we introduced a new web-based safety indicator system.
The ‘Ebb Tide Flag Warning’ system alerts rowers, canoeists, and other small recreational vessels to latest conditions on the river.

We took the steps after the persistent heavy rain in southern England caused very strong and fast flows in the Thames west of the capital. The exceptionally strong ‘fluvial flow’ – up to four times stronger than normal

during the ebb tide especially – had led to a number of accidents involving man-powered vessels. In January there were
20 rescues of which four were capsized rowing boats. At that point, 15 rowers had been pulled from the water.

The four-flag system will also alert river users to exceptionally low flows, should we go through a prolonged dry period.

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We made two appointments in February as we continue to prepare for the Thames Tideway Tunnel project (TTT). After a two and a half year stint as harbour master (upper), Terry Lawrence was appointed as TTT harbour master. Mark Towens stepped up from deputy harbour master position (upper) to replace him.

As TTT harbour master, Terry provides a dedicated expert marine resource for this major infrastructure project. Prior to joining the PLA in 2009, Terry held senior shore management positions at Maersk and Teekay and spent nine years as master and pilotage exemption certificate holder to various terminals on the Thames and Medway. Mark joined the PLA as an apprentice in 1999, becoming a Freeman of the Company


of Watermen & Lightermen in 2004.
He subsequently worked as a marine surveyor in the PLA’s vessel licensing department, before moving into the harbour master’s department, initially
as deputy harbour master (safety management system), and latterly deputy harbour master (upper) in 2012.

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