Our Mission & Values

The Patrol is a Charitable Company that provides advice and assistance to the many thousands of leisure users in the Harbour of Portsmouth and the waters of the Solent encompassed by the Dockyard Port, as far as East Cowes and Sandown Bay on the Isle of Wight, and Hill Head and Langstone Harbour on the mainland.  The Patrol is a unique cooperative venture between the military, commercial and leisure users of the Port, and since its introduction the number of incidents have dropped dramatically in what is probably one of the busiest harbours in the Country with well over 5,000 leisure moorings and over 85,000 naval and commercial movements a year.

The Patrol was established in 2004 by the then Portsmouth QHM (Commander Tommy Herman) and Ken Bichard of the Royal Navy Sailing Centre at HMS EXCELLENT, Whale Island as a development from an informal collection of powerboat users who provided some safety support to large-scale regattas and events. Since then the role has changed and, formed as a registered Company and Charity, is now an integral part of the Port’s Safety System. As with all small Charities, funding has not always been easy.  At the inception of the Patrol craft were provided by Aluminium Shipbuilders Ltd and Trinity House and many of the local businesses provided cash funds to support the running costs. Personal Watercraft (jetskis) provided by Yamaha UK were also part of the service for a few years, but proved to be a less cost-effective element. In 2015 the Patrol received a grant of £10,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to enable to replacement of the engines on the main catamaran, and as the role of the emphasis of the Patrol’s activities changed it entered into a contract in 2016 with the MOD to secure a measure of funding in return for a guaranteed presence during the main summer season.  The Portsmouth International Port has always been a strong supporter, and in 2018 it provided a major part of the funding for a replacement engine for the Patrol's dory, which again secured the continuance of the Patrol.  This donation was supported by further donations from Kingsley Scarrott & Company (Financial Advisors) and one of our volunteers (Rob Steeples) who raised £1,000 by growing a beard only to have it removed.


Over the years, there has been no shortage of experienced and well-qualified volunteers and a rigorous training programme ensures competence.  All volunteers are experienced in boat handling, first aid and radio procedures and have provided invaluable help during large-scale events in the Port such as the International Festival of the Sea, Trafalgar 200, the finish of the Global Challenge race, the Portsmouth stage of the Volvo Round the World race held in the spring of 2007, the British Grand Prix Powerboat Round the Island Race, the “Meet Your Navy” weekends, the America’s Cup World Series races and other large-scale regattas, not forgetting of course the first entry of the Navy’s new aircraft carrier HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH in 2017.

Now with some 30 members, the Patrol can be seen on the water during the summer months assisting and advising leisure mariners; it is neither a lifeboat, police service or waterborne traffic warden, rather a friendly welcoming and helpful presence in the sometimes demanding conditions of the Harbour Entrance.  The Patrol does recover a fair number of stranded or disabled craft in the area, simply by being close to the incident, and do so as "good neighbours" with the UK Standard Conditions for Towage and other Services applying to their liability.  Over the years incidents have varied from simply (and common) engine failures to the more complex, such as a fire on a fishing boat and searches for a EPIRB casualty.