The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) awarded THS:UKI Director, John Dillon-Leetch, with the prestigious Alexander Dalrymple Award for 2024. The accolade recognises his significant contributions to hydrography.

Mr. Dillon-Leetch was presented the award on World Hydrography Day during a ceremony organised by UKHO at the International Maritime Organization’s headquarters in London. The event was hosted by the UK’s National Hydrographer, Rear Admiral Angus Essenhigh OBE, and was attended by representatives from the maritime sector.

The Alexander Dalrymple Award committee recognised Mr. Dillon-Leetch for his crucial role in advancing the Port of London Authority PLA’s commitment to navigational safety, conservation, and sustainability. During his time as Port Hydrographer, Mr. Dillon-Leetch has enabled the PLA to develop one of the most proficient hydrographic departments in the UK.

Mr. Dillon-Leetch has also significantly contributed to the UK’s wider hydrographic community, playing a key role in the relaunch of University College London’s Master’s Programme in Hydrographic Surveying, which is supported by the PLA. This program, accredited by FIG/IHO/ICA as a Category A course, is pivotal in increasing the number of trained surveyors dedicated to the essential task of seabed mapping.

Commenting on the award, Rear Admiral Angus Essenhigh, UK National Hydrographer, UKHO, said:

“We take great pride in presenting this award to John for his significant and lasting contributions to hydrography. We recognise his outstanding impact on the Port of London Authority through his leadership as Port Hydrographer and his pivotal role in advancing hydrographic education. He joins a distinguished lineage of the world’s most influential hydrographers, and it is an honour to acknowledge his remarkable achievements”.

John Dillon-Leetch, Port Hydrographer at the PLA, added:

“I am delighted and honoured to be the recipient of this prestigious award. Steve Richie, who was the first recipient of the Alexander Dalrymple Award, wrote a book entitl

ed ‘No Day Too Long – An Hydrographer’s Tale’ which first drew me to the profession. Thirty years later, to be counted amongst its alumni is the highlight of my career.

I see the award as recognition of the Port of London Authority’s consistent support and the value it places in the positive impact that hydrography brings to improving safety, efficiency and sustainability on the Thames, as well as the wider ports and shipping industry”.

The UKHO has annually presented the Alexander Dalrymple Award since 2006. The accolade is named in honour of the first Hydrographer of the British Admiralty and recognises outstanding contributions to the field of hydrography. The UKHO’s Executive

Committee selects recipients based on their commitment to advancing hydrography, cartography, and navigation standards globally.

John Dillon-Leetch is a Director of The Hydrographic Society UK & Ireland and we wish him a huge congratulations on this incredible achievement.

For more info please visit: John Dillon-Leetch receives the 2024 Alexander Dalrymple Award – GOV.UK (

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