Owners of leisure craft and narrowboats who may lack the confidence to tackle the River Severn are strongly advised to make use of someone with appropriate local knowledge of the river. For some craft (e.g. narrowboats), there may be implications for the vessel's insurance when operating in tidal waters and specified rivers, if such advice is not sought.
When engaging someone with local knowledge to assist or conduct a passage, owners of leisure craft should satisfy themselves that the person is sufficiently competent.
Gloucester Pilots' Partnership have four Pilots authorised by the Gloucester Harbour Trustees to operate in the Gloucester District. The pilots are usually available to provide a service to leisure craft. However, it should be noted that it is customary for a pilot to advise or conduct only the vessel upon which he is embarked. Pilots acting in a professional capacity are not usually expected to take responsibility for the conduct of other vessels which may choose to follow a piloted craft.
Bookings for authorised Gloucester Pilots may be made directly to the Duty Pilot on 07774 226143 between 0800-1800 (weekdays) and 0900-1200 (Saturdays).
Regardless of whether or not a pilot is embarked, it is strongly recommended that the skipper of the vessel produces a passage plan for the voyage. This will include checking local Notices to Mariners and other relevant information. A guide for small craft which gives useful advice on planning a passage, can be downloaded here. Please take the time to read it. We welcome feedback and suggestions on the content.
Further information and a helpful checklist for the trip between Sharpness and Bristol can be downloaded here.
Even if travelling as part of a group, it is still essential for the skipper of each boat to plan the passage in order to be familiar with the route and make contingency plans to cope with any unexpected events (e.g. breakdown or poor weather conditions). In other words, your safety and that of your vessel and crew members is your responsibility - please take it seriously and do not think that you might be able to rely on others in a convoy to get you out of trouble.