Organised events within the Harbour Limits

The Port Marine Safety Code requires all harbour authorities to ensure that risk assessments are carried out to identify and minimise risks which may result in personal injury, or damage to property or the environment. 

Although many clubs are now familiar with undertaking appropriate risk assessments for their activities, for some a formal risk assessment is still an abstract concept. The purpose of this guidance note is to facilitate the process for those less familiar with undertaking risk assessments by providing standard forms and procedures. 

If an event is to be held within the Newhaven Harbour Limits an Event Notification Form is to be submitted and approved by the Harbour Master prior to the event being held. Depending on the size of the event, a Formal Risk Assessment and an Event Procedures Plan will probably be required and a Notice to Mariners will be issued.

The definition of an event is “Any vessels, vehicles or persons participating in an organised gathering or scheduled activity that may affect the safety of navigation or impact directly or indirectly on any other port users in Newhaven Harbour, or members of the public in the vicinity, or be considered a threat to the environment”.

All documentation, e.g. Event Notification Form, risk assessments, event procedures plans etc for the proposed event should be submitted to the Harbour Master at least 21 days prior to the event. 

Three key points that should be recognised by organisers and/or designated persons:

1. The primary responsibility for the safety of participants lies with the participants themselves. Beyond that, the organiser/ club/ group are likely to have a duty of care and must ensure that the event is managed as safely as reasonably possible. A submitted event notification form or risk assessment approved by the HM does not eliminate the responsibility of the organiser/ club/ group to ensure the safety of all their participants.

2. The Harbour Authority has the power of General Direction and “Byelaws”. These are in force and may impact on the setting of courses and other aspects of an event. Organisers/ clubs/ groups and their participants all need to be aware of these. It is imperative that organisers/ clubs/ groups clearly indicate the location/s that the event/s will be held. Organisers/ clubs/ groups should take all reasonable steps to promulgate Port Rules and restrictions to their participants

3. Potential conflicts between different Organisers/ clubs/ groups should be addressed between the Organisers, in advance. All events will be prioritised on a “first in” basis.

Events being held in the Harbour Limits are classed as MAJOR or MINOR.



This is an event that will have a significant and potentially disruptive impact on the operation of the Harbour. This event will require special arrangements agreed in advance with the Harbour Master. The Event Procedures Plan and the Risk Assessment will need to be prepared in consultation, where appropriate, with the emergency services and stakeholders.

The criteria for a MAJOR event includes one or more, but not limited to;

-  Multiple participating vessels/ craft,

- An expected large spectator fleet,

- An event where an exclusion zone is considered,

- An event that will attract large numbers of the public.

MAJOR event organisers will need to submit an “Event Procedures Plan” as well as the Formal Risk Assessment.

The Event Procedures Plan includes, but is not limited to:

- An itinerary of each day’s scheduled activities on and over the water.

- Where and when participating vessels will arrive and leave race location.

- An on-water management plan for marshalling.

- A complete communications plan and how each relevant authority is included.

- An Emergency management plan.

- Contingency plans in case of adverse weather.

- Details of the refuelling procedures.

- Complete lists of main players and safety vessels/vehicles and marshals.

- As much other information as relevant.

MAJOR event organisers will need to submit the Event Procedures Plan and Risk Assessments for consultation with the following:-

- HM Newhaven Port Authority

- MCA Maritime & Coastguard Agency

- Sussex Police, Ambulance and Fire & Rescue

- Lewes District Council Emergency Planning

- East Sussex County Council Emergency Planning



This is an event having little impact on the overall operation of Newhaven Harbour and has minimal risks to participants and non-participants. For this category of event the Event Notification Form must still be completed and the Harbour Master will decide if a formal risk assessment is still required. A MINOR event may not require the in-depth review that the MAJOR requires.


Event Notification Form

The first step in the process (Major or Minor) is to submit the Event Notification Form to the Harbour Master. You can request the word documents by email to  (FAO the Harbour Master) or download and print the pdf documents from the links below. For assistance please call 01273 616070 or 01273 616073.



Event Notification Form
Event Risk Assessment Form


nat maritime

nat maritime

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