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Non-Jubilee Boats: Steer Clear of the Thames

Boats not taking part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant have been warned to keep clear of the capital on June 3.

The Port of London Authority says the river Thames between Richmond and Woolwich will be closed to all vessels except those involved in the historic procession.

Even the river’s regular central London commuter and passenger services will be suspended on the day.

The authority’s warning has been prompted by enquiries from non-pageant boaters who have been trying to find places to moor and watch the Royal flotilla pass by.

David Phillips, the PLA’s chief harbour master, said: “This is a river pageant on a scale never seen before in Britain. There will be 1,000 boats and around 20,000 people on the Thames to mark this very special anniversary.
“So, for both safety and security reasons, vessels not registered to take part in the pageant will be turned away from central London on the day.

“The weirs in Richmond will be closed, as will the Thames Barrier. Boaters arriving on-spec on June 3 will have nowhere to go but back the way they came.

“Below the Thames Barrier, this could mean skippers having to contend with unfavourable tidal conditions in some of the country’s busiest shipping lanes.”

In addition to the river closure on pageant day, the port authority is also advising boaters not to make non-essential journeys along the route on the days immediately before or after the pageant. With the Thames Barrier open and hundreds of vessels being marshalled or dispersed, tides and traffic will make travel on the river through central London extremely challenging.

The pageant itself will be seven miles (11 kilometres) long. But the full route, which includes the mustering and dispersal areas, runs from Hammersmith to Greenwich and covers around 13 miles (22 kilometres).

David said: “I appreciate the river closure is disrupting the plans of many non-participating boaters. I’d like to thank them for their good humour and forbearance during this very rare and special event.”

The port authority is also reminding houseboaters living close to the route to be mindful of their vessels’ capacity and stability if they’re planning to invite guests aboard to watch the spectacle as it passes by.