Marine safety direction

1. The Dee Conservancy recommends that all persons operating registered fishing vessels engaged in harvesting and / or transportation of shellfish or fishing vessels engaged in the transport of persons engaged in shellfish harvesting in the Dee Estuary adopt the procedures and guidance contained in ‘The Fishing Vessels Code of Practice for Safety of Small Fishing Vessels’. [MSN 1817 (Amendment 1)].

Persons in charge of such vessels should also take heed of the information contained in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) publication “Fishermen and Safety Booklet” Both documents can be obtained through the local MCA office or via the MCA website.

2. Additionally all persons in charge of such vessels operating in the Dee Estuary should fully understand the contents and heed the relevant advice and guidance contained in the publication Marine Safety in the Dee Conservancy.

3. The MCA recommends that any vessels used in the harvesting and transportation of shellfish should comply with standards listed in the applicable work boat code of practice.

As a minimum any such vessels operating in the Dee Conservancy should be provided with the following items of safety equipment:

(a) One lifejacket per person (or buoyant clothing if worn at all times)

(b) One commercial anchor of appropriate type and weight, with 2 metres of 6mm chain plus appropriate warp of 15 metres length with one end secured to a strongpoint in the vessel

(c) Two red parachute flares and two smoke signals

(d) One gas canister foghorn or other means of making appropriate sound signals.

(e) Baler or container that could be used for that purpose, (this may contain the flares, smoke signals and foghorn)

(f) Waterproof torch and batteries

4. It is highly recommended that any vessels used in shellfish harvesting operations carry a VHF radio capable of operation on channel 16 and 14 and where practical a portable VHF radio should be carried by persons working the shellfish beds.

5. All persons in charge of vessels are also hereby reminded that under present Pilotage Directions issued by Mostyn Docks Ltd, pilotage is compulsory within the Dee Estuary for registered fishing vessels of 47.5 metres or more in length and all other vessels of 20 metres or more in length.

6. Every vessel navigating in any part of the Dee Conservancy harbour area is required to comply with the requirements of The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, as amended. Persons in charge of vessels must therefore ensure that they are familiar with the requirements of these Regulations and their correct application.

Any doubts or queries about the contents of this direction or any aspect of marine safety in the Dee Conservancy should be raised promptly with the undersigned.


In January 2008 Environment Agency Wales (now Natural Resources Wales, NRW), as conservancy, harbour, and local lighthouse authority for the Dee Estuary completed a generic risk assessment applicable to licensed cockle fishing operations. This risk assessment is also applicable to harvesting of other shellfish by boat in the area of jurisdiction of the Dee Conservancy.

The risk assessment identified the need for control measures which must be adopted in order to reduce the risk to people, the environment, property and the harbour authority to as low as reasonably practical.

One of the control measures identified that shellfish harvesting licence holders should be made aware of and fully understand the Marine Safety Direction for Shellfish Harvesting Licence Holders operating in The Dee Estuary.

The Dee Conservancy considers the measures set out in Marine Safety Direction for Shellfish Harvesting Licence Holders operating in The Dee Estuary to be the minimum necessary for the safety of all persons onboard vessels involved in the harvesting and / or transportation of shellfish in the Dee Estuary.

By signing and returning their completed license application and fee, a license holder is acknowledging that that they understand this direction and agree to operate any vessel involved in shellfish harvesting operations to the safety standards listed.

Dee Conservancy and Port of Mostyn Local Notice to Mariners are available to estuary uses on request or via the Harbour Authority’s websites.

Captain G Proctor, Dee Conservancy Harbour Master May 2024
Dee Conservancy Harbour Master
c/o Strategic Marine Services Ltd.
12 Chapel Court, Wervin Road, Wervin, Cheshire. CH2 4BP.

Telephone: +44 (0) 1244 371428 Email:

Last updated