Safety boat Prowler 1

Why is there a boat under Rochester’s bridges?

Anyone who pauses as they walk along Rochester Esplanade or Old Bridge may notice there is often a boat loitering on the river near the bridges.

It’s not a pleasure boat choosing an unusual place to sunbathe (although with the view of the Old Bridge and Rochester Castle we can see why people might think that), it’s actually carrying out a very important role.

The safety boat, which is supplied by MST Work Boats, is there whenever work is being carried out under the bridges, or by an exposed edge, so that should all other safety measures fail and a person ends up in the river, they can be quickly rescued by boat.

A few examples of when we have had the safety boat on standby include: 

• Cleaning the river walls

• Removing waste from the foreshore

• Working on the external elevations of the bridges (for instance cleaning or repairing)

• Undertaking inspections and surveys of the bridges, particularly the soffits and bearing shelves

There have also been safety boats in attendance at other times, for instance the Royal Engineers brought their own along when carrying out their training exercise.

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