Established in 2012, a team of experienced Port of Sunderland water patrol officers operate between Easter and the end of September each year.
They are primarily responsible for helping to achieve a safe environment for all who use the River Wear for leisure activities by providing safety advice and guidance to pleasure boat and other craft users. Officers are authorised to enforce the Port of Sunderland Byelaws, where necessary.
Close attention is also given to activities along the riverside, aimed at preventing accidents.
By adopting a proactive approach, water patrol officers are often able to intervene in situations to prevent them from escalating into potentially dangerous incidents.
They also perform a range of other tasks, such as identifying missing public rescue equipment, removing hazards to navigation, keeping the channel clear of small craft during shipping movements and attending waterborne events.
Regular liaison with stakeholders, water sports clubs, emergency services, search and rescue assets and other maritime agencies has resulted in increased understanding of the role of water patrol officers and development of partnership working.
Patrols are generally carried out between 1100 and 1900 on weekends, school holidays and public holidays using the 5.3-metre vessel “Sentinel” or the 4.7-metre rigid inflatable “Patrol.” When on duty, patrols can be contacted direct on Marine VHF Channel 14 or through Port Control.