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PLA Marine Services

The PLA’s dedicated Marine Services team provides essential support to commercial and leisure users of the river.

Diving, salvage, mooring maintenance, underwater inspections, wharf services, boat lifting, load-out services, storage, driftwood and rubbish clearance, aids to navigation and pollution response: all of these, and more, are the responsibility of the PLA’s Marine Services team, along the 95-mile stretch of the river Thames.

Marine Services crews maintain more than 60 aids to navigation, including buoys, and inspecting/maintaining more than 230 PLA moorings along the river.  The divers work on this and are also regularly called out to
clear fouled propellers and inspect dock gates.

Marine House, a purpose-built operational support facility at Denton Wharf, near Gravesend, provides the base for Marine Services. Here the PLA’s fleet of nearly 40 vessels is maintained; a 70-tonne capacity boat lift is kept busy with these and also with vessels being lifted in and out of the water for other operators and owners.

The PLA has invested more than £10 million in Denton Wharf over the last ten years, including the jetty development, construction of Marine House and progressive strengthening of the quay to allow larger lifts to be handled.

Work undertaken by the Marine Service team at Denton includes an RNLI pontoon which was lifted out of the water, hydroblasted and refurbished at Denton.  The facility has also been frequently called into service in support of new port developments such as London Gateway, storing, handling and loading out materials and equipment. Divers based at Denton worked with salvage teams to carry out a large amount of wreck clearance for the London Gateway channel dredging.

And then there are the high-profile, one-off events to support, such as laying temporary moorings for the University Boat Race and New Year's Eve fireworks.