The Port and Haven of

A Trust Port  Managed  by the Sandwich Port and Haven Commissioners under Acts of Parliament


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Network Rail are carrying  out major repair works to this bridge during the course of the coming autumn months.  Although we the Sandwich Port and Haven Commissioners have not been consulted - and it is out of or territory - we have nonetheless made representation to the Marine Management Organisation who will issue the licence for these works.  The river being tidal it therefore comes under their remit.

We are however the only Statutory Authority on the river.

Information is scant on the extent of the works in so far as it will affect navigation.  What is known is that the work will impact on the passage of craft - particularly of any size.  Effectively preventing passage through for the coming 6 months due to the hang-down of about 2+ meters of scaffolding.

The river being an ancient Public Right of Navigation takes precedence over the railway.  That said we are sympathetic to the need to give this bridge its long overdue overhaul.  It is hoped a meeting of affected parties will soon be arranged to negotiate a way forward.

Seasonal Buoys Reinstallation

Movement of the river over the last winter at the mouth has been considerable.  Shellness has moved northward markedly whilst the bend where the Isolated danger mark is sited has moved so far to the SW that the mark is now up a mud bank some 15 meters from the rivers edge at low water.  Whereas last season there was plenty of water around it, even at low tide, now  there is just mud about 2 meters above low water level.

As the movement is becoming ever more tortuous the Port and Haven have invested considerably in new buoys for the river mouth and at the time of writing - 25th March 2015 - their delivery is expected from the manufacturers at any time now.  They then have to be placed in position to supplement the existing seasonal buoys currently in place, ideally ready for Trinity House to inspect in mid April.  As always care needs to be taken in entering and leaving the river.

Meanwhile at Shellness the river moves inexorably towards the nature reserve - which is sited on the old Ramsgate Corporation rubbish dump.  Very much a case of watch progress as an ecological dilemma unfolds.

Shingle Bank at Stonar Cut

Over the last two winters the running of the sluices at Stonar Cut has scoured out the shingle on the seaward side of it and dumped it in the river beside that end of Richborough Wharf.  Just upstream of the two moored tugs in fact.

This bank extends about a third of the way into the river and is already creating a wave in the shape of the river.  We are hopeful the Environment Agency will be moving it soon but that is by            no means assured.

Debris in the river

Mariners are warned that there is much debris in the river going up and down with the tide.  Often large items of timber can be hidden in rafts of floating reeds.  Great care therefore needs to be taken lest you should run upon something nasty with unfortunate consequences.

Some of this debris / rubbish is as a result of overgrowth clearance much further upriver where insufficient care has been taken in preventing branches and the like falling in the river and not being recovered.  We are on the case!


A Stakeholders Meeting, organised by the Sandwich Port and Haven Commissioners, was held at

The Phoenix Centre, Jubilee Road, Sandwich, Kent

on Friday 17th July 2015 from 7 to 9 pm.

Despite being widely advertised the meeting was poorly attended.  However those present were able to hear of the work of the Port and Haven (P&H) and how it has evolved over the centuries.

A topic of particular interest was that of Conservancy Fees.  The past year has seen the P&H operating a close watch on display of payment stickers with the Harbourmaster placing notices on vessels known to be there without payment of the annual fees.  The meeting was informed that this has had to be repeated several times due to P&H not knowing the owner or the owners address, compounded by the restrictions of the Data Protection Act placed upon the operators of the marinas where the vessels lay.

Consequent of all this the meeting was informed that with much regret the Commissioners were compelled to serve Summons’ upon the Bailees of the vessels - being the Marinas themselves.  Again regrettably, and unsurprisingly, this caused some angst with the marinas.  Discussion (in some depth) explained the reasoning and legal situation.  In essence owners who fail to pay their Conservancy Fees risk having their boat seized by the marina and the marinas costs deducted from the vessels sale.

Discussion also included the positioning of new and expensive buoys at the mouth of the river.  (See below).


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Appointment of Commissioners

The three year cycle of Commissioner appointments has come around beginning early 2016.  Four of the eight positions are from those with an interest in the Haven - perhaps representing an interested organisation -whilst the other four are drawn from councillors elected to Dover District Council and Sandwich Town Council.                  Two from each.

Meetings are four per year with more should the need arise - as has been the case this year with all the Environment Agency works of flood defence.

Appointees will be required to uphold the standards of working in a public office and to bring expertise (not necessarily maritime) relative to the work of operating the business of a small Trust Port.  The positions are without remuneration.

Permanent, and paid, staff are the Harbourmaster and The Clerk to the Commissioners.

The  re-appointments have now been made.  They are…

Cllr Pip McCredie representing Dover District Council.  M Trussler for Dover District Council,  

Cllr Michael Conolly for Sandwich T C,  Cllr Jeremy Watts for Sandwich T C

John Clandilon-Baker Independent,  Nigel Stokes Independent

Robert Holden Independent,  James Blackmore  Independent

At the meeting of 21st January Robert Holden was elected Chairman to replace the retiring Chairman John Bragg

whilst James Blackmore was elected Deputy Chairman at the 3rd March meeting.


The first meeting of the newly formed Harbour User Group (HUG) was held on Friday 19th February 2016.

Attending were representatives from both marinas, the sailing club, fishing interests, the Environment Agency, commercial interests and the citizens of Sandwich through the Mayor Councillor  Mr P. Graeme.

Apologies were received from Kent Trust for Nature Conservation.

The Agenda covered a surprisingly wide range of points including:

Report of last years P&H activities

Website for current info

Trinity House inspection – 15th March

Forthcoming P&H activities 2016

Apply for Harbour Directives Powers. This meeting to discuss

User / Stakeholder – anything to report, anything to request?

Presentation of 2015 Profit / Loss accounts

Conservancy Fees 2017

The meeting concluded with a PowerPoint presentation looking at how much the river mouth across Pegwell Bay has been moving about since 1940 - and where it is likely to be in 2035!

Particularly significant was the unanimous agreement that the Port and Haven should seek Powers to make and administer Harbour Directives - a modern form of Byelaw.

The next HUG meeting will be held early in 2017, whilst the next Stakeholders open meeting - to receive the Chairman’s Report - will be held in the last quarter of this year 2016.


Picture courtesy of Google Earth

26th November 2015

Following on from the Stakeholders Meeting of 17th July 2015, and consistent with the desirability for user participation and transparency of Trust Port Management, it is intended to hold a User Groups Meeting sometime in December or January.  

A representative from each of the User Group / Stakeholders are invited to attend.  At the time of posting of this news item we await the last responses to the individual invitation letters sent out earlier.

User Groups include Sandwich Marina, Highway Marine,  Sandwich Sailing and Motor Boat Club, Kent Trust for Nature Conservation, Dover District Council and Sandwich Town Council.

Among the Agenda items will be review of Conservancy Fees, application for Haven Directive powers and a reaffirmation of the limits of the Sandwich Port and Haven with particular emphasis on the extent up to Mean High Water.

As they say - watch this space for further information.


The Sandwich Port and Haven Commissioners have reviewed the Conservancy fee structure for the year commencing 1st April 2017.    The The outcome of that review was that there needs to be an increase to


For new vessels arriving the first month free concession be reduced to

2 weeks.

Payment remains due on 1st April and proposed payable by 30th April 2017

Late payments - received 1st May onwards - to incur an additional administration fee of


Conservancy Fee boat stickers denoting fees paid to

Continue ‘not transferable’ to another vessel.

Stickers MUST be displayed.  

Failure to do so is telling others that you have not paid.