Some years ago a yacht sank after hitting an unmarked wreck just to the east of the entrance to a marina. I visited the marina recently and on departing at low water, saw the wreck. It is extremely large and with numerous lethal protrusions. It was unmarked and unlit. It is submerged but within striking range of the keel of any yacht. Bearing in mind the speed of the west -east tide the wreck constitutes an extreme hazard. On previous visits there were, as per the chart two starboard hand buoys, albeit unlit but on this occasion there were no such buoys.
We ascertained from the marina manager that the buoys had been temporarily removed during dredging operations. A Notice to Mariners had been issued and the Coastguard notified. The Coastguard advised that this type of information would normally be included in their Marine Safety Information broadcasts promulgated every four hours.
The primary aid to navigation marking the channel is the leading light by which the white sector of the light indicates the safe channel. (As a general rule for safe navigation, it is not good practice to rely exclusively on a navigation buoy as the primary aid to navigation in case it is out of position.)
We also contacted Trinity House, which is the General Lighthouse Authority for England and Wales. There is a statutory requirement for a Local Lighthouse Authority to obtain the approval of the General Lighthouse Authority to remove a navigation buoy. This applies to temporary removal. Each situation is considered on a case by case basis.
We thank the reporter for having raised the issue.