In preparation for the new shipping trade to the Wallasea Wild Coast project, Crouch Harbour Authority, with support and assistance from Crossrail, is about to carry out major improvements to the buoyage of the River Crouch approach channels from Whitaker Spit inwards to Burnham Fairway.
Based on Hydrographic Surveying undertaken by Port of London Authority in 2010 at Crossrail’s expense, the number of navigation buoys in these parts of the river will be increased from 16 (three not lit) to 30 (all lit). In order to achieve this some 26 new navigation buoys are being purchased, with four existing buoys being re-used/position changed.
The new buoys will be larger and have greater focal height to make them more visible, and the distances between buoys will be reduced. Six pairs of lateral (Port and Starboard) buoys marking the main Whitaker and Outer Crouch channels will have synchronised lanterns which will flash together. For the first time the north side of the drying Swallowtail Bank will be marked by buoys. Buoyage in the area of the Crouch Buoy is being revised to better guide inward bound vessels and the channel immediately seaward of ‘Shore Ends’ will be better marked to prevent boats wandering onto the fairly steep edged Foulness sand. To avoid confusion the Pinto wreck buoy will be replaced by a Port Hand buoy, and another Port hand buoy will be installed in the lower reach of R. Roach. Branklet Buoy will be replaced with the appropriate red and green ‘Channels join, Preferred Channel to Starboard’ mark.
It is hoped that the improved marking of the Channels will encourage yachtsmen to visit the Crouch and lead to improved safety of navigation. Certainly The Whitaker and Swallowtail will no longer be the ‘Black Hole’ they have been for many years.