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River Users Consultative Forums


The requirements of both the Port Marine Safety Code and the Trust Ports Review formalised the consultation arrangements ports should have with users and stakeholders. The PLA has established various consultative forums that take place throughout the year and are attended by a wide range of stakeholders.

River Users Consultative Forum

The PLA has established two River User Consultative Forums (RUCFs) - for the Upper and Lower areas. There are two meetings per year for each Area/District.

Chaired by a harbour master, the fundamental objective of the RUCFs is to ensure that an effective mechanism exists whereby all river users and other stakeholders can be consulted and may represent their views on general and safety issues concerning the use of the tidal Thames for commercial and recreational purposes. It will normally comprise appropriate staff officers from the PLA and other statutory bodies, together with representatives from bona fide associations, groups and other organisations of the port/river community, other stakeholders and beneficiaries.

Please note: For the lower district areas the BOWG & RUCF have been combined into a single, twice yearly forum.

Berthing Operations Working Group (BOWG)

Consisting of Tug Operators, Pilots, and major berth/terminal representatives, this forum convenes twice a year (usually winter and summer) in the lower district to look at issues around ship towage, safe mooring and unmooring operations and review berthing operations training and liaison programmes in order to facilitate and enhance co-operation and training. The forum is chaired by a PLA harbour master who also provides the secretariat and administrative support for the group. Sessions are normally concluded with reviews of berthing operations incidents as requested, with recommendations being raised as necessary.

Please note: For the lower district areas the BOWG & RUCF have been combined into a single, twice yearly forum.

PLA Harbour Master's Recreational Navigation Group (PHRNG)

The Port of London Authority has established the PLA Harbour Master’s Recreational Navigation Group (PHRNG) to provide recreational river users with a forum to discuss matters concerning recreational safety on the tidal Thames. There are two meetings per year for the Upper area.

In particular, the PHRNG (U) will:

  • Review recreational navigational incidents, consider trend analysis, highlight safety issues and identify additional control measures for consideration and implementation;
  • Review upcoming river works and events, which may impact on the safety of navigation the relevant district;
  • Review and undertake navigational risk assessments on a regular and, as necessitated by incidents, events, developments and trends within the relevant district or as required by the PLA’s Marine Managers Meeting (MMM); and
  • Where appropriate, review and consider changes or proposals for recreational guidance and publications, including the recreational user’s website and TTNC (Tidal Thames Navigator’s Club).
  • For all forums, minutes are produced at every meeting and circulated to attendees. For a copy of the terms of reference for any of the above meetings, or to request membership, meeting dates or copies of previous minutes please email [email protected].