River management

We know our immediate environment needs to be treated with the utmost care for the benefit of all users.

The five key areas pertaining to the safety and efficient navigation of the waterways include: hydrographic surveying, dredging, our harbour office, buoys and pilotage…

Hydrographic Surveying

Sophisticated computer equipment on the specialist surveying craft, ‘Tees Sentinel’ and ‘Tees Navigator’, allows fast data gathering and frequent chart production in order that channels are maintained at the required depth.


PD Ports has its own dredging fleet comprising of two suction dredgers. These are used to dredge the 11 miles of the River Tees governed by PD Ports as the statutory harbour authority.

The Harbour Office

Employing the latest technology the harbour office is an integral part of river management on the Tees, providing 24 hour radar surveillance and a computer system which records all details of berthing arrangements, ETAs and a variety of statistical data. A traffic control system operates during the movement of certain types of ships and cargoes. The Port is open for vessel movements 24 hours a day with consideration given to restrictions and tide limitations.


As PD Ports is the port authority, there is a requirement to maintain access and egress from the Port. A specialist buoy tending vessel, ‘the Wilton’, is used to assist in ensuring this happens.


Pilotage on the River Tees and the Port of Hartlepool’s is compulsory for certain categories of vessel these are:

  • Ships over 95 metres in length.
  • Ships using the services of a tug.
  • Ships over 20 metres and carrying hazardous cargoes.
  • Ships over 80 metres in length if navigating on the Tees, up river of No.27 buoy.

Location Information