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The role of the PLA in the Olympics

The PLA will operate 'gatekeeper' patrols at Richmond and Gravesend
 The PLA operated 'gatekeeper' patrols at Richmond and Gravesend
(click on image to enlarge)

The PLA is responsible for navigational safety and management of marine operations on the 95 miles of tidal Thames from Teddington Lock, through central London and out to the North Sea.

We oversee all vessels' navigation – commercial and recreational – on the tidal river Thames and were involved with many agencies in planning for the London Olympics for over five years.   

During the Olympics the PLA:

  • Operated ‘gatekeeper’ patrols at Gravesend and Richmond to monitor the movements of recreational vessels and to ensure that those vessels using the river had a berth booked or were simply transiting the Thames en-route to other destinations
  • Piloted more vessels into London, including HMS Ocean, cruise vessels and super yachts booked into the Royal Docks, West India Docks and at our Tower Bridge Upper and George’s Stairs moorings
  • Ran an extra Harbour Service Launch in central London to cover the additional passenger traffic and to manage river traffic around vessels leaving/entering the Thames for enclosed docks
  • Provided facilities at our Thames Barrier Navigation Control Centre in support of the Police Maritime Security Plan
  • Managed river traffic around the tidal Thames leg of the Torch Relay from Hampton Court to Tower Bridge on 27 July
  • Managed higher levels of river traffic with enhanced passenger services for spectators going to events at the Games ‘River Zone’ and increased number of chartered vessels.
We will run an extra Harbour Service Launch in central London
 We ran an extra Harbour Service Launch in central London
(click on image to enlarge)

In our Olympics preparations we worked with partners across the maritime, security and safety spectrum in London and nationally, including the Greater London Authority, Metropolitan Police, LOCOG, ODA, London’s riverside boroughs, the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Maritime & Coastguard Agency, Environment Agency, Kent Police, Essex Police, Canal & River Trust and Royal Docks Management Authority. 

Earlier in the year the PLA completed work getting the river ready for some of the activities during the Games, for example, laying moorings for vessels taking part in Sail Greenwich.