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We recently presented our seventh annual rowing safety awards, with Putney-based Vesta Rowing Club named as overall winner. The runners up were Tideway Scullers Rowing Club and University of London Rowing Club, both of whom received £500. The annual awards were started in 2006 to encourage clubs to adopt the practices set out in a new rowing code of practice for the tidal Thames that the PLA had worked on jointly with the Thames Regional Rowing Council.

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Estuary Services Limited's (ESL),
a 50/50 joint venture between the Port of London Authority (PLA) and Port of Sheerness Limited, officially named two new pilot vessels in October.

The new 17.5-metre long vessels, Estuary Elan and Estuary Elite, cost £2 million and are used to transfer pilots to and from ships visiting terminals and jetties on the Thames, Medway and Ramsgate Harbour.

Replacing vessels that had been in service since 1986, Elan and Elite are faster, more efficient, have improved all-weather capability and offer greater pilot comfort, delivering them safely to do their job.


ESL transfers pilots to more than 10,000 ships in the Thames' southern approaches every year, including cruise ships, containers vessels, tankers and general cargo carriers. The main pilot boarding station is eight miles from Ramsgate which the vessels reach at a speed of 25 knots; their top speed is 28 knots.

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A small group of PLA rowers helped promote the Royal Naval Reserve in a rowing race on 11 December. The event was staged for radio station, Talk Sport, over a three-mile course from


Richmond, round Eel Pie Island and back again. Talk Sport presenter, Darren Gough was at the event, run in heavy fog, to record a feature, which is expected to be broadcast later this month.

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