Thames trips

Competent kayakers genrally 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 on the Thames to acquire and maintain paddling skills and fitness. Approval to paddle is normally given after attending 3 pool safety sessions. though some people may require more to gain the skills needed.  
There are regular Thursday evening and Saturday morning sessions.  From November 2018 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 go out on a Saturday morning or other daylight session before being considered apt 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 emailsDo 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 haven't let the organiser know.

Read the Thames Paddling Rules, the equivalent of 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 for other rivers users.

Wear appropriate clothing.
A cotton T-shirt and shorts are not all right! Dress for the water temperature. Look at our information on what to wear, click here

Golden Rules of Cold Water Safety
Always wear a Buoyancy Aid 
Always dress for the water temperature no exceptions
Field-test your gear. Swim-test your gear 
Imagine the worst that can happen and prepare for it!

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 15m away. This means frequently looking around to check on everyone, especially if you are near the front.
Choice of boats
We have a range of different kayaks, someone 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 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 

For provisional members, please pay the £5 Thames paddling fee to the organiser.  
Cash only please.

Hammersmith Bridge tide

Environment Agency Thames warnings Thames Flow rates at Kingston

Note river flow rates in benign conditions are between 10 to 30 cubic metres/second. However in spate the river has reached 400 cubic meters, i.e. 400 tons of water per second!

River Thames Rules
Please take time to read the 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 Paddling Code

Putney paddling map 

Boating on the Thames website 

Rowing Code

Current Rules in operation (Notice to Mariners)

Thames events calendarPlease check other events if you are organising your own

Port of London Authority

The PLA has occasional meetings that some of our members attend.

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,
2 Dec 2019, 04:36