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PLA Open Day

The PLA Open Day takes place, at Royal Terrace Pier, Gravesend, at the beginning of June each year. The Open Day consists of:

  • Tours of PLA Vessels and our Port Control Centre
  • Various stalls and exhibits where not only PLA staff are on hand to give advice, but also external organisations
  • Various activities for attendees to participate in


VTS Port Control Centre Tours

London VTS manages and oversees safety of navigation in one of the largest and most diverse VTS areas in the UK covering an area of some 600 square miles of waterway spanning 95 miles from Teddington to the North Sea. London VTS operates from two state of the art VTS Centres located at the Port Control Centre in Gravesend and at the Thames Barrier Navigation Centre in Woolwich and handles the movement of about 100 commercial ships each day.

The Port Control Centre (PCC) - situated on the Thames at Gravesend - provides the VTS (Vessel Traffic Services) system for the Port of London area which includes the Thames Estuary. This not only tracks ships on their voyages in and out of London, but also enables the PLA to offer navigational advice, weather and tidal information, and other vital safety guidance.

Each VTS Centre is led by a VTS Supervisor with the delegated powers of the Harbour Master and is supported by a team of VTS Officers and Shipping Coordinators.

A team of 44 VTS personnel oversee the Port of London’s VTS area on a 24/7 basis 365 days a year.


Hydro Surveying Vessel – Maplin

Maplin is an 18m catamaran built for us in 2015 by C-Truk in Colchester and Brightlingsea, Essex.

Entering service in 2016, Maplin is 17m long and 6m wide, powered by 2 waterjets. It has a resin-infused composite construction keeping it light, robust and efficient. Its low-profile wheelhouse and foldable mast help it negotiate the tight bridges of the Thames with ease. It also houses a retractable hull-mounted multi-beam sonar, a moonpool, an A-frame and a deck crane.

London Titan

London Titan is our £7 million mooring maintenance vessel, the largest single investment made by the PLA in the last two decades.
It’s 36.5 metres long and 13.5 metres wide, and designed to lay buoys, haul wreckage from the bottom of the river, support diving operations and carry out small plough dredging operations. It is low and shallow enough to negotiate bridges as far upriver as Richmond, and robust enough to operate in the outer estuary.


Please be advised that you will need to book these tours via the Book It Bee website - https://event.bookitbee.com/15548/pla-open-day-2018 , and spaces will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Mooring at Gravesend

If you wish to moor up near to the PLA offices in Gravesend for the Open Day, please see information below:

Gravesend Pier and Pontoon – Pontoon mooring with shore side access and midstream moorings. For more information please call - 0794 975 0236/0779 888 5332

PLA Gravesend - Midstream Mooring. 01474 562421 VisitorMoorings@pla.co.uk

For more information on Visitor Moorings on the Thames please visit - https://www.boatingonthethames.co.uk/Visitor-Moorings


Please check back here on 24th April 2018 if you wish to book yourself onto one of the above tours. If you do not wish to book onto a tour you are still more than welcome to come along and enjoy the day.