Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Thanet District Council divert tourists to Whitstable

One of the Thanet late season events every year is the visit from The Waverley Paddle Steamer. What happens here is that the paddles steamer goes around the coast and up and down the Thames dropping people off picking them up and letting them stop for a while in different places.

Here is the timetable, from the council's point of view it's a no brainer to be part of this.

FRIDAY Sept 25 &
Margate 0930
Whitstable 1100
Southend 1230
Gravesend 1400
River Thames & Sail
Through Tower Bridge
Gravesend 1830/1900
Whitstable c arr 1930
Southend c arr 1945
Margate c arr 2000
London Tower Pier 2200

Of course The Waverley used to stop at Ramsgate and with the council's policy of investing in Margate and doing anything they can to damage Ramsgate economically it's understandable that it stopped going there, but stopping it going to Margate what are they up to now.

Here is the email they have sent out to people who booked:
"From: Booking Office
Date: 6 October 2015 at 17:19:35 BST
To: ******
Thank you for booking a trip aboard Waverley.
We have been unable to reach an agreement with the local council to use Margate Pier on Friday.
We have arranged a coach transfer by 3 JAB Coaches, which will be at Margate Pier at 9.15am to board passengers for the short journey to join Waverley in Whitstable. Coaches will depart at 9.30am.
If you would prefer to join the ship directly in Whitstable Harbour, you can do so - boarding commences at 10.30am for a departure at 11am. We thank you for your support and look forward to welcoming you onboard."

I phoned the council to ask what they are up to and they promised to get back to me, I subsequently phoned them back three times only to go down the answering machine route. 

update by email

Dear Michael, thank you for highlighting the problems concerning the waverley
paddle steamer on your blog. I have just arrived home and read todays blog. I
think you ought to know that the steamer did not depart from Margate jetty last
year at all as stated in your blog because of high winds. All the passengers
were bussed to Gravesend and started their day from there with no problems. This
is a fact as I was there with my daughter. There was only one visit to Margate
last year which did not happen. Today there were no sailing at all as the ship
had boiler trouble and could not leave Southend. We were bussed back to Margate
after hearing the news upon arrival at Whitstable. Never mind, we made the best 
we could and had a nice day anyway. Best Wishes from A***** B****. 


  1. Perhaps I can help. It would appear that in previous years this vessel has been accepted in to Margate harbour without the necessary insurance or statutory requirements being fulfilled.

    We have now made it clear to the operator the documentation and level of notice we require for them to berth in the harbour, none of this information has been provided, we have also offered them the use of Ramsgate Port at a reduced rate, but due to the nature of the vessel and the fact that it has two fixed paddles they would need a tug to manoeuvre, a cost they are not willing to incur.

  2. This is a bit of a puzzle for you Michael, The Waverley cruses all over the British isle and uses at least 100 ports in doing so and yet does not have insurance to use Margate. So whats different about Margate or are all the other ports including the Port of London taking a chance? And why could Ramsgate have been used but not Margate? Maybe the council can explain.

  3. Thanks for the info Chris, I guess my main gripe is with the lack of response from the council, I saw the info early and phoned the council’s press department at about 10am and they didn’t know anything about the issue but said they would find out and get back to me. I told them that I didn’t want to write a negative post about the council but would unless they responded in the morning. A couple of customers mentioned that they had received emails from The Waverly telling them to divert to Whitstable and so I phoned the council several more times; press office on answer phone and switchboard putting me through to different answer phones, I left messages on some and eventually put up the blog post at about 3pm.

    I have had no email from the council and no phone call all day, so the post stays as is.

    Of course all this does beg the question how come The Waverly can use all the other places but not Margate and why it would be ok to use Ramsgate and not Margate, but I think the bottom line here is the council isn’t communicating well at the moment.

  4. From Grahame. Michael, it is quite difficult to get alien abduction insurance nowadays.


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