Attempts by English Heritage to stop boats anchoring in the bay lack authority
English Heritage has no power to restrict anchoring in Osborne Bay, one of the South Coast’s most popular anchorages, the RYA has advised.
The heritage body, which manages nearby Osborne House, has placed no-mooring buoys in the bay, and stationed a staff member on the beach to heckle boats venturing inside the buoys with a megaphone.
In fact, the buoys were placed to mark the limits of a swimming area for visitors to the beach, which has opened to the public for the first time this summer.
The licence English Heritage gained from the Marine Management Organisation to lay the buoys does not, however, permit the organisation from prohibiting navigation or anchoring.
This is not the first time English Heritage has fallen foul of the boating community this summer, after it denied access to the newly opened open beach to dinghies from anchored boats.
Gus Lewis, head of legal and government affairs at the RYA, said: “We have received a number of reports from boaters that they have been instructed by a representative of English Heritage from the beach in Osborne Bay that they are not allowed to anchor in or close to the marked swimming area.
“Clearly, if there is an area marked out for swimming then boaters will need to take particular care if they choose to navigate or anchor in this area. However, English Heritage has no authority to prohibit anchoring anywhere in Osborne Bay and its staff have no power to require anchored boats to move.
“We have written to English Heritage to challenge the actions of its representatives in demanding that boats anchored in Osborne Bay are moved.”
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