1. First and foremost, you are responsible for your own safety. Do not put yourself at risk to assist someone else. If anyone asks you to do anything that you believe will put you at risk, say ‘NO’.
  2. If you see someone is in difficulty check that they are ok. If they are not, help them if you can (see point 1) or get help.
  3. The tables opposite give guidance on the mitigations you should take depending on your ability and river grading based on conditions.
  4. River grading does not change just because the tide is incoming The faster the flow, the more unpredictable the river becomes to the point where it could catch you out. However, in the two hour period before high tide, coaches have discretion to decide if the conditions have improved to such an extent where they can choose to take their groups out.
  5. You should always stick to the right hand side of the river and pass to the right of any boats coming towards you.
  6. Be careful of moored boats and overhanging trees, especially when the river is in high flow.
  7. Between sunset and sunrise everyone must have 1 WHITE forward facing light at the front of their boat and 1 WHITE backwards facing The lights must not flash.
  8. If there is an incident with another river user, be it a collision or near miss, it should be recorded in the Club Accident Log, which can be found at: https://richmondcanoeclub.com/ club-life/reporting/
  9. If a member of the public reports you to the Port Of London Authority (PLA), the PLA will take action against you as an individual.
  10. When paddling below the half lock, familiarise yourself with the navigation rules for that stretch of river. The keep right rule does not always apply. See: https://www.britishrowing.org/upload/files/News/British-Rowing-Quick-Guide-to-Steering- on-the-Tideway.PDF

Coached sessions

  1. Check the time of high tide and low tide at each bridge that you intend to paddle past.
  2. If your session is run by a coach, at any stage a coach can cancel the session. Their decision is final.


The committee will review the condition of the river on a daily basis, based predominately on river flow and weather. The condition of the river will be set as ‘Good’ (green), ‘Challenging’ (amber) or ‘Hazardous’ (red). By using ‘Your classification’ on the tables below, this will give you the mitigations that you should take according to the river grading. The current river grade can be found on the homepage of the club website https://www.richmondcanoeclub.com

Paddler Safety Guidelines: Additional Notes For Coaches