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10 months after quizzing houseboat owners and carrying out inspections in Bembridge, the Marine Maritime Organisation has decided not to take legal action against those using ‘spudlegs’ within the harbour.

As previously reported by Island Echo, officers from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) conducted ‘pre-investigation’ inspections on Embankment Road, Bembridge back in January of this year. Homeowners were quizzed over possible offences due to structures entering the marine environment.

Locals claim they were accused of all sorts of ‘unlawfulness, skulduggery and mischief’.

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One concerned resident has said:

“The means of pile moorings on each corner is a practice widely acknowledged as the safest and most environmentally friendly way of keeping boats safe and secure and commonly used and allowed in harbours across the country.

“We have doggedly pursued the matter with the MMO, or tried to. The vast majority of our complaints went unheard or unanswered. At the same time several owners had either paid several thousand pounds or been presented with bills north of £5,000 for what seems like totally unnecessarily licences.

“We have now had it confirmed by Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Isle of Wight Council that spudlegs do little or no damage, and certainly far less than the alternatives”.

A letter has now been sent out to houseboat owners lifting the threat of prosecution and forcing payment of expensive licences, as it is not in the public interest. However, the MMO says that any ‘licensable activities’ carried out after 18th November 2020 may be investigated and failure to obtain a marine licence may lead to enforcement action.

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A source has told Island Echo:

“Although we have now received this letter, they have not answered any of the outstanding issues or apologised to all the owners for their behaviour, threats and intimidation.

“Such behaviour from a public body is totally unacceptable and I for one will be seeking such an apology”.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Amanda Ghost

An unsightly mismatch spoiling the views of the harbour.

Imagine IF these boats were all lined up in a field, would people ‘still’ think they were somehow attractive?

It would resemble some third world shanty town.

A ships grave yard, nothing more.

Gentle-man farmer

Ah gal wen tides out
smel like spreadin time
had tu pay toll way back

Eve Shipman

Seems like a good place to park the floating bridge, no-one will spot the difference. They’re all scrap.


Leave them alone its been this way my whole life, and its part of Bembridge and our Island. Sounds like they have been totally intimidated.. Unacceptable.

The cats fleas

If they could be towed to the other side of the harbour, out of sight, and to where the more ugly industrial buildings are located then they could remain living in their odd choice, as it would not then ruin the natural beauty of the harbour for us and our visitors when driving into the village. The smell as their toilet waste ferments in the mud at low tide is unacceptable too. IF a bunch of hippies lived in a field near you like that in a scruffy hotchpotch of unsanitary make shift homes I bet you would not be… Read more »

Mines a pint .

Who cares what Londoners want ?
It’s our island and we like it as it is.


Seaview and Bembridge are now London Boroughs


Why do we want to make Londoners welcome? While Covid-19 numbers are beginning to level out in the rest of England, they’re still going up in London. Even without Covid-19, why do we want to welcome Londoners especially?

Gentle-man farmer

muny baint it

Bill payer

Couldnt care a less about londoners dint want them here in there Chelsea tractors, buting second homes so our kids cant afford to buy local house bembridge and seaview have become the go to postcodes for tax dodgers!!!!!…try and buy a property on the island at the moment with all the rich buying up the houses to run to if we get anymore waves!!!!..Bembridge was over run by rude mainlanders not abiding to first lockdown!!!!!!…keep living how u want boat people…people dont like it they can ignore them when they drive past!!!!


What’s a spudleg? I know spuds have eyes, but spudlegs?

Gentle-man farmer

thems knowed as chits

it be wen spud eyes growed long shoots
do’s it afor plantin
on boat be long piles drive into hard bed
of mud in harour bottum.


Can we have that in English please?

Off to work

Big tubes that drop to the sea bed and attached to the boat so that the boat can rise and fall with the tide and at the same time stop it from drifting.


Years ago intimidation was used to try and get the houseboat owners to give up and go. A water supply was cut off and threats used because the aim was to extend the blocks of flats around the harbour for lucrative deals. Also on the other side of the road the plan was to drain the land and to build more property there. I remember a certain MP being involved. I love them and they are not slummy at all in fact very luxurious and I would buy one if I had the money…so keep strong houseboat owners and keep… Read more »

roger everyone

Water gypsies, need moving on..

Last edited 5 days ago by roger everyone

Omg. So A N A L. I’ve always loved seeing the houseboat’s along Bembridge? In fact they probably contribute to the marine life enviroment.

Hendrick Olsan

They have contributed to marine life, bacteria, and viruses in their waste pouring into the harbour and onto the beaches.

Such can carry serious germs which cause sickness, diarrhoea and giardia for beach users.

Bill payer

Southern water has been doing that for years you dont seem to mind that?


If people from london don’t like it they know what they can do they can p—off and take there covid 19 with them

Them Apples

Dot, not all our visitors complain about the ‘look’, far more do so though about the vile smell when they are at the beach or the Cafe which coming from the mud and raw sewerage mix from these lived in wrecks. I know some are at first curious at the sight of them but many say, and I must admit, I agree, just how much prettier it would be without them. Trouble is, local people have gotten used to such now so they can’t see beyond living without these eyesores. I expect residents in nearby but poorer Nettlestone missed the… Read more »

Hendrick Olsan

One can only imagine the damp, the mould spores, fugal illnesses such as athletes food and dhobi itch.

Rust and damage to household items must be a constant concern.

Unsure why anyone would live in such other than for a week to rough it for a jape. To come home and consume food without the risk of rat droppings and weevils must however be a real treat.

Bill payer

If you bothered to understand marine life you will realise that the smell is rotting seaweed that at different tides gets stuck dries out and ferments it is illegal to pump raw sewage into the sea as many boats have a tank for there waste and get it pumped out so u need to get out more and stop moaning

Lisa Jones

As a visitor from the mainland I like looking at the houseboats whenever I walk along Bembridge. I have never noticed a ‘toilet’ smell, no matter what time of the day or night I’ve walked past.
Your arrogance trulu shows in your comments that us Londoners can take our Covid 19 home with us. What a ridculous comment!


A lot of small brains on the Island.
More than half of the Island are from somewhere on the Mainland.
Get use to it, I know many Islanders who work in London for good money
That’s life, people are people wherever they are from.


Some of them change hands for as much as a house so they can’t be as bad as some of you suggest.

Gentle-man farmer

picasso do an all
stil rubish


The smell, especially at the moment is awful. I thought they all had to have proper waste plumbing by 2020. Does anyone know what happened with that?


I believe the —- floats in the Sea.
Keep your mouths closed if Swimming near them

Spence Cave

They used to look like boats. Now most are just floating luxurious sheds.

Captain Hindsight

They’ve had houseboats there for 80 years.

If you don’t like it, be more successful and buy a private beach.

If you can’t do that, move inland.

Boaty Mc

Not that I wish to let facts get in the way of people’s prejudices. And I know this will not change some mind sets, but the houseboats are NOT responsible for smelly mud. The houseboats are in one of the most highly regulated areas in the world. There can be few people who have to meet the following copiped from them: To get the MMO to agree what they have we had an assessment under The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 to ensure there is no adverse impact on the integrity of the protected features of the following… Read more »

Have a word

Another tax curve if they are in permanent fixture and pumping raw human waste into the waters they should be brought to task And heavy fines imposed. Basically throwing bed pans out the window.

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