5 April 2012
Mrs L Rate
5 Raymonds Close
South Woodham Ferrers
Captain Roy Stanbrook
PLA Harbour Master
Port of London Authority
London River House
Royal Pier Road
Dear Mr Stanbrook
SOUTHEND – KENT – SOUTHEND
CHARITY SWIM CHALLENGE
PROPOSED DATE – JULY 15 2012
I am writing to you on the recommendation of Mr Den Freeman (Southend RNLI) to seek your advice and support with regards to our proposed forthcoming Charity Swim Challenge from Southend-on-Sea, Essex (approximate location 51.5347 N, 0.6938 E) to Allhallows, Kent (approximate location 51.479 N, 0.6437 E) and back again on 15th July 2012, (weather permitting or nearest possible date thereafter). The high tide on the 15th July 2012 is predicted to be at 0935 GMT with a height of 4.8m (at Southend) with a swimmable depth of water available approximately 3 hour before high tide to 3 hours after it. This tide was chosen as it is close to a neap tide therefore with less flow of water compared to a larger tide.
We understand that the PLA did give approval for this challenge in 2003 to Mr Peter Rae, a member of the Essex Yacht club. He was granted permission by Captain Gordon Dickens and had a successful crossing, both ways.
Following on from our 2011 Christmas Charity Challenge, The Echo newspaper spoke to Martin Garside, spokesman from the Port of London Authority, and I quote, said “Clearly, such an activity does raise potential issues, not least because it would involve the need to cross very busy shipping lanes. “As with any such activity, our primary interest is the safety of anyone taking part in an event and the safety of the many other users of the Thames Estuary.” “Given those safety issues, very careful and detailed discussion with the organisers would be needed to work out an appropriate way forward.”
This response was welcomed by us. As the safety of all our swimmers and the other users of the Thames Estuary is our utmost priority, I am hopeful that discussions can be forthcoming. Primarily, I request your formal approval as we will not undertake this challenge without it.
Whilst we already have on hand kayak support, motorised vessels, life jackets, radio control etc. in place, we clearly also need to undertake expert advice on safety requisites. The RNLI have advised we should have one motorised craft per two swimmer ratio in addition to the one on one kayak support.
We fully intend to keep the Southend RNLI, the Southend Foreshore Office and Chalkwell Lifeguards informed at all times with our proposed plans.
The reason for our challenge is to raise money for Southend RNLI to assist in the new boathouse project PF2069. The project is to replace the existing old boathouse and the temporary hovercraft hanger, located on the eastern side of the pier on the seawall, with a new modern facility. The new boathouse will house the D-Class inshore lifeboat, the Search and Rescue Hovercraft and a launching tractor, also giving better facilities for the volunteer crews that give up their time so freely to provide this search and rescue service.
We also have another charity, Essex Search and Rescue whom we aim to also raise a large sum of money as being totally non government funded, rely entirely on donations.
We currently have 14 swimmers who have been training extremely hard throughout the winter for this challenge. From those 14, we intend to choose a maximum of 6 swimmers. Hence our charity title, “6 Swimmers, 6 Hours, only 1 tide”. All our swimmers are experienced open water swimmers and have demonstrated that they are more than capable of swimming the minimum 15km distance required.
I would welcome the opportunity to discuss the above with you and trust you will get back to me at your earliest convenience.
Chalkwell Redcaps Open Water Swimming Club