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All mariners should read through the byelaws affecting navigation and use of Chichester Harbour.
The byelaws should be read in conjunction with the Local Notices to Mariners.
* Chichester Harbour Byelaws (pdf)
The Marine Navigation Act 2013 enables harbour authorities to be designated with the powers to make Harbour Directions. These are similar to byelaws, although they only relate to vessels and are only consulted on locally.
Chichester Harbour Conservancy has been designated with powers of Harbour Direction. For further information on CHC's reasons for seeking powers of harbour direction, and details of the Port User Group see below.
The Port Marine Safety Code (PMSC) recommends harbour authorities to review and be aware of their existing powers to ensure they are still relevant to the safe operation of the harbour. It recommends that additional powers should be sought by a harbour authority, if a risk assessment concludes that this would be advisable.
As a result of the Marine Navigation Act 2013, harbour authorities may now be designated with the power to make harbour directions.
What are Harbour Directions?
Harbour Directions are similar to byelaws, but only apply to ships. They may relate to the movement, mooring or unmooring, equipment and manning of ships. The master of a ship must comply with relevant harbour directions, and commits a criminal offence for failing to do so without reasonable excuse. Conviction before the Magistrates' Court may result in a fine not exceeding level 4 (currently set at £2,500).
Why do CHC require powers of harbour directions?
Risk assessments demonstrate that the current mix of activities in Chichester Harbour is well controlled, and that the Conservancy also has relevant powers in exceptional circumstances. However, risk assessment also highlights the well documented delays in acquiring new byelaws, and the delays and high costs associated with obtaining powers of General Directions through a Harbour Revision Order. Consequently, new risks identified in current activities, or risks posed by new activities may not be controlled adequately in a timely way. Powers of harbour directions would bridge this gap and may facilitate better use of the harbour by providing sufficient controls to allow activities or events that may not otherwise be supportable.
The current byelaws are wider in scope than harbour directions. They apply to a broader range of craft and are not limited only to ships. It is not envisaged that any present byelaws will be superseded by harbour directions.
Code of Conduct
Chichester Harbour Conservancy supports and signs up to the "Code of Conduct on Harbour Directions". The Conservancy set up a Port User Group (PUG) to consult on proposed harbour directions. The PUG played a key role in dispute resolution. The Conservancy consulted widely with Harbour users on the proposed harbour directions.
Port User Group
The PUG was drawn from marine members of Chichester Harbour Conservancy's Advisory Committee, as follows:
Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority
Chichester Harbour Federation (4 members)
British Marine Federation
Royal Yachting Association
Professional Boatman's Association
(9 members in total)