In 1961 the Kent River Board sponsored the Harbour of Rye Bill in parliament. This Bill was concerned with land drainage requirements in the catchment area of the three rivers...Rother, Brede and Tillingham... and included a barrage and ship lock at Rye Harbour.
The sailing and boating interests were largely opposed to the scheme and were supported by the Royal Yachting Association. In order to bolster this opposition Dr John Thompson of Woodchurch, himself a boat owner in the harbour, called a meeting of like-minded owners and formed the Rye Harbour Boat Owners Association (RHBOA)
The Bill was then amended in the Lords, only to fail subsequently through lack of parliamentary time.As a result it was decided that RHBOA should continue as a pressure group,and that the association rules should read:
"THE OBJECT FOR WHICH THE ASSOCIATION IS FORMED IS TO PROTECT AND FURTHER THE INTERESTS OF BOATING OF ALL KINDS IN THE PORT AND HARBOUR OF RYE"
This with your support we continue to do.RHBOA has a flag with a yellow sailing ship on a dark blue back ground and the association is supported by it's strong membership. The main purpose is still political with a small "p" with social activities being kept to about four events a year, two afloat and two ashore.
Rye Harbour has been managed by successive harbour authorities over the years, the current managers are the Environment Agency. It is important that the users of the harbour can get help and advice and be represented.
The Rye Harbour boat owner’s association membership has a representative place on the Harbour of Rye Advisory Committee “HORAC” This committee meets three times a year and discusses the running of the harbour. The interests of the boat owner are hopefully taken into account and solutions and compromises’ are found. The minutes of Nov 2018 can be downloaded here.The HORAC schedule for 2019 can be downloaded here. Please note only the main meetings are public. There is also an associated Finance and General purpose’s committee that meets separately.
It’s fair to say that RHBOA has been responsible for steering the successive authorities and ensuring we are able to exercise our right of navigation and fair prices for harbour fees etc.
Please use the contact form or email RHBOA with any concerns you may have on harbour issues; also there are links to the Environment Agency’s Rye Harbour office.
Our email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Harbour of Rye
Our service for customers using the Harbour of Rye
Welcome to the Harbour of Rye. The harbour comprises the tidal reaches of the rivers Rother, Brede and the Tillingham. It has a commercial wharf, a fishing fleet and berths for over 400 boats. The harbour is owned and managed by the Environment Agency; a Harbour Master, deputy and assistant maintain and run the harbour. We aim to run a sustainable and vibrant harbour where leisure boaters, commercial boats and the fishing fleet exist harmoniously, supporting the local economy and the natural environment.
We want all our customers to enjoy using the harbour. We aim to deliver a great service to our customers, and this charter explains the service we will provide between 1 May 2013 and 31 March
2014. We will monitor and report on our performance against the standards in this charter every year.
We support a safe and enjoyable environment for our customers and fully comply with the Port Marine Safety Code. We ensure all port users are well informed, well trained, engaged and committed to the Port Marine Safety Code. See www.gov.uk/government/publications/port-marine-safety-code for
a copy of the code.
We regulate marine operations to safeguard all activities within the harbour. We identify hazards, carry out risk assessments and record all harbour incidents.
We ensure our staff are properly trained for emergencies and contingencies and aim to constantly improve the standard of safety and safety awareness in our harbour. We encourage all our customers to help us in doing this.
2. Maintaining the harbour
We maintain the navigation and keep our structures in safe working condition for our leisure boaters and commercial operations at the harbour.
When we identify new or potential hazards we notify our customers as quickly as possible. We do this by: publishing the latest Notice to Mariners on notice boards and mooring sites; emailing harbour users who have signed up for our email service and on the internet
at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/harbourofrye. Customers can also call us for information on 01797 225 225.
We keep our quays and jetties in safe, working condition for boaters and maintain the river bed level to ensure safe navigation.
We carry out regular surveys of the main channel and publish this information.
We mark new underwater obstructions we are aware of in the harbour and remove any wreck that poses a threat to safety.
We mark and light the main navigation channel and aim to carry out all repairs in accordance with IALA guidelines. See
www.iala-aism.org/iala/ for the IALA guidelines.
3. Maintaining moorings and facilities
We provide and maintain safe access to our sites and facilities for visitors where we can, such as toilets, showers, our pump out station and mooring service bollards.
When we receive reports of facility breakdowns or critical equipment failure at Simmons Quay, we arrange repairs as soon as we can.
We provide information about facilities that are not available as soon as we can.
4. Pilotage service
We provide a pilotage service to help ships move safely through the harbour and ensure fully trained pilots are available to meet
all ships requiring access. We ensure all national legislation, local byelaws and directions are complied with - see
www.environment-agency.gov.uk/harbourofrye for information on these.
Pilotage is compulsory for all ships over 30 metres length navigating in the harbour. Requests for specific pilotage services must be made to the Harbour Master, with 24 hours notice. See
www.environment-agency.gov.uk/harbourofrye for more information on using our pilotage service.
5. Protecting your interests in the harbour
We support a safe and enjoyable environment for our customers and carry out enforcement activities to help protect the harbour, our customers and our income.
We carry out patrols of the harbour by boat and on foot, to ensure compliance with our byelaws. See
www.environment-agency.gov.uk/boatingbyelaws for a copy of our byelaws.
We report all people keeping or using boats in the harbour without valid registration and prosecute those who fail to register.
We carry out ‘speed and wash’ checks and take action against those breaking the harbour speed limit.
We manage our visitor moorings to ensure no overstaying.
We work with the police and local authorities to improve safety, prevent crime and reduce anti-social behaviour on or beside the harbour.
We provide a safety boat service for river events, upon requests with
28 days notice.
6. Responding to incidents
We support the emergency services in dealing with emergency harbour incidents but we are not the first point of contact.
In an emergency at sea or on land you must call 999 - remember the coastguard is the fourth emergency service.
All non-emergency incidents in the harbour, including pollution incidents, should be reported to the Harbour Master's office on
01797 225 225 or the 24 hour incident hotline 0800 80 70 60.
7. Registering your boat
All boats kept or used in the harbour must be registered with us. We provide a registration certificate which you must display on your boat. For boats not based in the harbour, temporary visitor registration is available from the harbour office.
We process postal applications within 10 working days and provide information on how to register boats, including the full schedule of charges and other requirements, at
We provide options for payment including cheque, direct debit, credit/debit card and cash. Our boat registration service is available
08:30 to 16:30, Monday to Friday and can be contacted at the harbour office on 01797 225 225.
We would like to thank the Harbour of Rye Advisory Committee (HoRAC) for its help and advice on preparing this customer charter. We continue to consult our statutory advisory committee on harbour related issues such as harbour charges, harbour safety (including the Port Marine Safety Code), asset investment and marketing. For more information about HoRAC, its membership, areas of work and updates, please go to
Would you like to find out more about us, or about your environment?
Then call us on
03708 506 506 (Mon–Fri 8–6)
Calls to 03 numbers cost the same as calls to standard geographic numbers(i.e. numbers beginning with 01 or 02).
email enquiries@environment–agency.gov.uk or visit our website www.environment–agency.gov.uk
Harbour of Rye