Coastal Leisure and Services around the Swale Estuary
The Swale is a worked stretch of water, where traditional barges race and modern shipping continues. There are many ports and harbours along the Estuary:
- Queenborough Harbour is a historic landmark and a working harbour. Sir Francis Drake sailed to Queenborough to reduce the number of his crew and it was invaded by the Dutch in 1667. 2017 is the 350th anniversary of 'The Battle of the Medway' and many maritime visitors will be welcomed rather than repelled at Queenborough Harbour .Legend has it that Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton also had a residence in the town. The harbour offers a range of services with moorings available and an all tide landing. The Queenborough Yacht Club work with the harbour, welcomes membership and hosts events.
Faversham Creek has a strong maritime history in boat building and hosts an annual Nautical Festival .The Faversham Creek Trust (which aims to rebuild the maritime heritage of Faversham) is a great source of information both historical and current with links to many Faversham maritime businesses, groups and sailing organisations. Visit Standard Quay at the far end of Abbey Street which has plenty to offer including shopping, eating, mooring and living history - open seven days a week with free on-site parking. The Iron Wharf Boatyard is essentially a 'do it yourself' boatyard where boat owners can undertake all kinds of work and also offers some mooring alongside the traditional wharf. For moorings on Front Brents Jetty call Faversham Town Council on 01795 594442 or the Jetty Agent 01795 591140. Faversham Town Quay moorings - £9 per night payable to Swale Borough Council in person at the Alexander Centre in Preston Street or by calling Customer Services on 01795 417850 Mon - Thurs 8.45 - 5pm or Fri 8.45am - 4.30pm.
- Swale Marina in Conyer was a crucial link during the Industrial Revolution for barges bringing raw materials and taking finished products back to London, from the local Paper Mills and Brickfields. The marina is now used for leisure crafts amd managed by Swale Marina Services Ltd offering a range of services and moorings. At North Quay Conyer Creek Marina provides maritime services and moorings. Conyer Cruising Club welcomes membership and is based at the head of the creek.
- Oare Creek is also working leisure marina, with internationally important wildlife and bird nesting sites at the Oare Nature Reserve run by the Kent Wildlife Trust. Youngboats offer moorings with over 100 individual pontoon berths for craft up to 30ft. The Hollowshore Cruising Club welcomes membership based at the head of the creek.
- Lower Halstow Yacht Club on the river Medway is a friendly club and welcomes members with a good event programme.
- Medway and Swale Boating Association - membership includes over 30 clubs and other organisations with 4,000 members who regularly use the waters of the Medway and Swale for recreational purposes and their website provides further details about the association and news.
- Public Launch Sites - Small boats can be launched from Queenborough Slipway (in front of the Old House at Home public house), Cheyne Rock Slipway (in front of the Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club, Marine Parade - Sheerness) and the Shingle Bank Slipway (Minster, opposite Minster Windsurfing Academy). Private launches can be found at Kingsferry Bridge and Little Groves Beach Leysdown where there are charges.
- The busy deep water Port of Sheerness is part of Peel Port’s Medway Estate and commercially operated with some restrictions on access. However Sheerness does welcome water sports and bathers with three award winning shingle beaches at Minster Leas, Leysdown and Sheerness Seafront. The Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club on Marine Parade hosts the annual Round the Island Race, a unique spectacle and challenge for sailors in various classes.
- Ridham Dock is an independently owned port in Sittingbourne’s port having originally been built to serve the paper-marking industry. The Dock started construction in 1913 and was used during the First World War for loading ammunition. The area covers 65 acres (26 hectares) and is a working port serving many local businesses in the area.
- Sheerness RNLI Life Boat Station looks after Medway and Swale making our waters safer for recreational and commercial use.
- Medway and Swale Estuary Partnership is formed of local and statutory organisations working to enhance and raise awareness of the Estuary’s importance both ecologically and historically. More information about the work of the partnership, current projects and some great images can be found on the MSEP website: www.msep.org.uk/