Dolphin campaign boat blocked by IWC from Ryde Harbour, say charity (updated)

Protecting dolphins and whales is all the Blue Seas Protection charity want to do. They’re offering to pay for a berth in Ryde harbour, but say Isle of Wight council keep blocking them. Why have we had seven excuses in six weeks they ask.

blue seas protection boat cropped

Blue Seas Protection – an Isle of Wight charity whose patrons include Brian May and Joanna Lumley that works to protect the lives of dolphins and whales – tell OnTheWight they have over the last five or six weeks experienced great resistance from Isle of Wight council (IWC).

The charity fights globally and locally for the protection of our seas and the wildlife within them.

Trouble securing new berth for extra vessel
Garry Oates from the charity explained to OnTheWight they’ve recently purchased a extra boat to help with their important work, but says they’re having immense difficulty securing a berth in Ryde Harbour.

Google map of the requested berth
© Google Maps

The charity’s first campaign vessel is already berthed in the harbour (which they pay IWC £5,000 each year for), but when they recently requested to berth the new boat there – in a spot that has been unused for the last four years – the Isle of Wight council rejected the request. Not once, but several times.

Oates: “A different excuse every week”
Garry, who has been involved with sealife conservation for over 30 years, told OnTheWight he’s been given a different reason for not being able to secure a berth almost every week. Some of the excuses have included:

  1. There’s a waiting list
  2. It’s full (the berth they want has been empty for four years)
  3. The vessel won’t fit (this has been proved incorrect)
  4. IWC officer said on a site visit ‘I don’t see what the problem is’, then once back at office, suddenly it’s a problem
  5. Too big (see 3 above)
  6. We have to give the berth to tourists
  7. The marina is “just for leisure craft” – documentation states Harbour/leisure (and the charity vessel is not commercial)

Have to tell patrons we can’t carry out work
Garry says,

“Now we basically have to tell our patrons Brian May and Joanna Lumley – and possibly the Duke and the Duchess of Sussex (Harry and Megan) who have acknowledged they may visit us when they come to the Island  – that sadly we won’t be able to carry out the important work of marine conservation / marine extinction from our new boat berth in Ryde Harbour.”

blue seas protection boat

Oates: A sad day for the Isle of Wight
He went on to say,

“This is sad for Ryde town, the Isle of Wight, and tourism. We feel upset and believe we’re being discredited by staff within the council who don’t know what a great of any opportunity this is for the Island.

“Most importantly, 10,000 dolphins and whales as have been killed in last three months within 100+ miles from the Island and we must be able to help stop it!”

Charity status
For those raising questions about the charitable status of Blue Seas Protection, Garry told OnTheWight,

“We are a fully legally constituted charitable trust with a quorum of unconflicted trustees, allocated a registration no. 5118282 by the Charities Commission when we first applied to register.  

“We are an autonomous marine conservation organisation, globally accredited by the UN and not for profit.”

IWC response
Isle of Wight council confirmed they have rejected several requests by Blue Seas Protection for an extra berth in Ryde Harbour a series of questions.

In response to an IWC stating “he could see no problem” with the boat fitting in the berth, the IWC say,

“It was stated that the vessel would fit in the space however it was considered that the vessel would have a detrimental impact on visiting berths.

“It would reduce the number of available visitor berths during the peak summer season and would impinge on the movement of adjacent vessels.”

Winter offer made
The spokesperson for the IWC also added:

“Whilst a permanent berth is not currently available, should a suitable permanent berth become available then we will contact Blue Seas Protection.

“A winter berth has been offered to Blue Seas protection although this would not be available until 01.11.19 and would need to be vacated by 31 March 2020; the council is still awaiting a response to this offer.”

To find out more about the work of Blue Seas Protection visit their Website.

Article edits
7.25am: Charity info added
16.01 7/5/19: Response from IWC added

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

Leave your Reply

10 Comments on "Dolphin campaign boat blocked by IWC from Ryde Harbour, say charity (updated)"

newest oldest most voted
Email updates?

Surely we should welcome those who are trying to preserve these wonderful creatures. Why all these spurious excuses? Try and take some admirable action for once and give these good people the berth.

Jim Moody

A few years ago the Harbourmaster told me I could berth a retired trawler in Ryde Harbour at a cost of £500 a year, no problem. This ban is clearly a political decision by a deeply reactionary IWC. Turf out the Tories!


What else would you expect from IOW Council buffoons ?


Surely council must always have a very good reason to turn away income, more so now in their present financial situation. turning away income is depriving ratepayers omewhere

Benny C
Why can’t they just do their job properly and be honest. Dinosaur Dave Stewart v Joanna Lumley is a conversation I’d like to hear. Of course, he’s ‘evidence based’ and would need clear proof that whales and dolphins exist / need protection. Why not delay further and round up a few councillor buddies for a nice site visit (decent earner on expenses and it’s near the beach… Read more »
Thank you to all people who clearly support in this poll the charity work of BLUE SEAS PROTECTION and our aims to protect DOLPHIN ,WHALE & GIANT BLUE FINN TUNA all under great threat worldwide. We have very important work to do environmentally and are very upset that our work is being halted by the so titled council harbour masters , denying our new vessel entry to… Read more »

when employed by Isle of Wight council .


Surely there can’t be members on the Council who have a vested interest in seeing the continued demise of those marine mammals. My olfactory system tells me otherwise or is it simply as case of short sightedness brought about the problems arising from island in-breeding.


A vessel moored at Ryde Harbour cannot be launched at low tide so why not apply for a more practical mooring in the River Medina


I understand that this vessel does not have operational engines.