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GUIDELINES FOR PADDLING ON THE TIDAL THAMES AT RICHMOND

While the Thames at Richmond might look like a river it is in fact part of the Port of London. The British coastline officially extends all the way up to Teddington. The significance of this is that we paddle on a working commercial port and are subject to the rules and regulations of the Port of London Authority (PLA). This page attempts to identify some key rules as they relate to paddling. Paddlers should make themselves familiar of the full regulations as published by the PLA [www.portoflondon.co.uk].

KEEP RIGHT: This is the basic rule of navigation. All opposing craft should keep port to port; ie keep to the right. Large motor vessels have express permission to 'ignore' this rule if draught and steering issues require. This 'exemption' does not apply to canoes.

TURNING: Never turn across the path of an oncoming boat however quick and nimble you expect your turn to be. You may cause the other craft to swerve unnecessarily.

NAVIGATION ARCHES: The recommended bridge navigation arch is usually marked with two orange lamps. Closed arches are marked with three red lights/discs. While there may appear to be a route through, arches are invariably closed for safety reasons because of underwater obstructions or overhead maintenance work.

RICHMOND HALF LOCK: The Half-Lock footbridge contains a weir on hydraulic rams. The weir is generally held down in the river but two hours before high tide it is raised up and held up till two hours after high tide. The bridge uses the standard navigation lights (Two orange = open, three red = closed) but unlike other bridges they vary constantly throughout the day so be vigilant.

ROWING CODE BELOW THE HALF LOCK: From a point immediately below Richmond Half-Lock navigation by canoes should follow the same pattern as the rowing boats as laid out in the PLA Rowing Code [www.portoflondon.co.uk]. This is a complicated system and will require careful study before attempting navigation on this stretch.

NAVIGATION SIGNALS: Motor boats on the Thames use a system of horn signals to indicate their intentions. You should at least be aware that these signals have specific meanings and try to give other craft room to maneuver.

Signal / Meaning

 I am altering my course to STARBOARD

 I am altering my course to PORT

 My engines are going ASTERN

 Your intentions are not clear

  I am turning round with my bow swinging to STARBOARD

  I am turning round with my bow swinging to PORT

__ I am about to get underway

__ __  I am about to overtake on your STARBOARD side

__ __  I am about to overtake on your PORT side

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 means a short blast of about 1 second duration
__ means a long blast of about 4-6 seconds duration


Landsdowne Boathouse
81-83 Petersham Road
Richmond upon Thames
Surrey TW10 6UT
United Kingdom

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