Thames trips

Competent kayakers have a good mix of skills, experience and fitness. Paddling regularly on the Thames is a good way to acquire this. We paddle all year round. There are regular Thursday evening and Saturday morning sessions. Beginners are limited during the winter months to Saturday morning sessions only.

How do I start kayaking?

Newcomers to the Club cannot come out on the Thames or other events until they have been to our pool sessions and been checked off by senior Club members. 

Once approved to paddle ...

If you are beginner with no prior experience, you need to first come out on a Saturday morning or a daylight session before being considered for a dark Thursday evening.

If you are not a beginner, and can demonstrate your prior experience to  the team at the Pool session then you may join the Thursday evening paddle, with the usual conditions i.e. lights front and back, correctly dressed for the conditions after informing the organiser in advance, etc.

Book your slot 
Weekly Thames trips are organised via the Club's membership system emails. Do this by replying to the weekly email. We must know in advance that you are attending in order to organise sufficient leaders. You will be turned away if you arrive unannounced.
For provisional members, please pay the £5 Thames cash paddling fee to the organiser.

Your responsibilities!
Read the PLA Thames Tideway Paddling Code; the river's 'Highway Code' on how to behave and what to look out for on the Thames. 
Even if you are out with experienced paddlers and trip leader, everyone in the group on the river is responsible for their own safety and has a duty of care to other rivers users.

Cold Water Safety
Always wear a Buoyancy Aid and appropriate clothing.
A cotton T-shirt and shorts are not enough! Dress for the water temperature. Look at our information on what to wear, click here. 

Safety on the water
Take as much care to avoid collisions or causing a collision. Learn to control your kayak. Look around and be aware of other users. If you see other river users approaching, do warn other paddlers.

We do not use safety boats. It is staying as a group that ensures our safety. We are only a group if everyone is within easy communication range and ready to help. This means being within line of sight and hearing distance. On a windy day this is less than 20m. Look around frequently to check on others especially if you are at the front.

Choice of boats
We have a range of different kayaks, we will help you choose a suitable one.
6b. Notes on Race boats

6c. Notes on the surfski

Night time lighting
If you intend to keep paddling with us in the winter, and in the dark you must have 2 white lights which are clearly visible front and back, to comply with the Port of London Authority (PLA) regulations.

The lights are to be seen by other river users, not to see with. Attach them high up on your buoyancy aid front and back. White LED cycle lights or head torches also work. 
Try this DIY solution below; made with a diving torch shining into a translucent plastic deodorant top or milk bottle 

Thames information links

Tides 4 Fishermen - coefficients
120 max Springs, 
95 Springs 
70 Average or mean value
45 Neaps
20 Lowest Neap

Hammersmith – BBC tides local site

River flow rates in benign conditions are between 20 to 100 cumecs. However in spate the river can reach 400 cumecs, i.e. 400 tons per second and only suitable for advanced paddlers

Upper Thames warnings - red boards

Lower Thames warnings – red flags

PLA and Thames Rules

Please take time to read the River Thames regulations. It is the busiest river in the UK, and like driving on the roads; not knowing the rules is no excuse for breaking them.

Thames Tideway Code 2019

Please take time to read the Thames's "Highway Code". There are many important rules which need to be understood. 

Boating on the thames
PLA website for leisure users

Notice to Mariners NTM. Current Rules in operation

Thames events calendar

Please check other events if you are organising your own

A Club Trip to Tower Bridge in winter and summer. It can be done in all seasons as long as you are dressed properly

Richard Bate,
23 Dec 2020, 02:21