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PLA activities - Then and Now

Vessel Traffic Services

The PLA established the Thames Navigation Service at Gravesend in 1959. This image of the Operations Room in 1963 contasts with its 2008 equivalent, the Port Control Centre.

Environmental sampling

Scientists at work determining the level of oxygen in the river on board the PLA launch Shornmead in 1954. Although the PLA is no longer responsible for water quality the sediments in the river bed are tested before dredging licences are issued.

Hydrographic Surveying

PLA Hydrographers at work on a survey craft, with paper charts and drawing instruments, in 1950. In 2008 the Hydrographers have replaced the paper and pencils with computers.


Two colleagues helping a PLA Diver to prepare for work in 1948 and 2008.