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The River Hamble Harbour Authority

Maintenance piles

There are three sets of public Maintenance piles within the Harbour. These are commonly used as a relatively cheap method of inspecting and working on boat hulls which would normally be below the water line. The range of activities which takes place at these sites ranges from simple hull inspection to the changing of props, removing ropes or nets from fouled propellers to changing anodes.

The maintenance piles have also been used to remove and apply antifouling paint.  This guidance note is aimed to provide advice in relation to antifouling as the activity presents a risk of pollution which must me managed safely to reduce the risk.

Anti-foul works by providing a protective layer on the hull of vessels which is toxic and prevents a build up of marine organisms below the water line. (It acts by slowly leaching biocide into the area immediately adjacent to the hull, and requires a certain amount of movement through the water to be most effective).

There are many well known reports which highlight the toxic effects on non-target species by older tributyltin (TBT) paints, which are now banned on craft below 25m in length, but still in use on larger craft (e.g. tankers, cargo vessels). Similar evidence suggests that this is also true of modern paints, although the effects on non-target species is not so well understood.

The legislation which governs the control of pollution within a river such as the Hamble is the Water Resources Act 1991, the most pertinent section is shown.

Whilst this legislation may seem quite onerous a few simple precautions can easily ensure that someone does not fall foul of it.

What alternatives are there?

There are several choices, but their suitability varies according to boat type and the amount of use they get.


Water Resources Act 1991 Chapter II Section 85

(1) A person contravenes this section if he causes or knowingly permits any poisonous, noxious or pollution matter or any solid waste matter to enter any controlled waters.

(2) A person contravenes this section if he causes or knowingly permits any matter, other than trade effluent or sewage effluent, to enter controlled waters by being discharged from a drain or sewer in contravention of a prohibition.

Further information on how boat users can protect the marine environment at The Green Blue

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