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New Guide for Paddlers on the Thames

‘Paddlers’ taking to the Thames have a new safety bible to turn to: the “Paddling Code” (Paddling on the Tideway – A Code of Practice for Paddling on the Tidal Thames) produced by the Port of London Authority (PLA), working with British Canoeing and several Thames based paddling organisations.

The tidal Thames is 95 mile in length and is also known as the Tideway; it is home to 140 sporting clubs from which more than 19,000 people take part in water sports every year; it is also the UK’s busiest inland waterway for passengers and freight. Sport enthusiasts take to the river for various sporting pursuits, including; sailing, rowing and paddle sports such as stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing and dragon boat racing.

The ‘Paddling Code’ has been modelled on the success of the PLA ‘Rowing Code’ and brings together in a single guide, with easy to read graphics, all the essential safety information for regular and first time paddlers, covering trip preparation, equipment use, navigating on the river, tips for tricky sections of the Thames, and handling emergencies on the Tideway. Previously this safety guidance was spread across three separate publications.

Darren Knight, PLA assistant harbour master recreational said:

“The Tidal Thames is a diverse water space with relatively calm waters in Richmond, to busy fast flowing sections in central London and out to an expansive estuary along the Kent and Essex coast.

“We’ve developed the ‘Paddling Code’ to give paddlers all the information they need on how to enjoy the river safely in one place. This will give new paddlers the confidence to take to the Thames and plan their passages safely and provide seasoned paddlers new insight for taking on more challenging sections of the river.”

Ben Seal, British Canoeing places to paddle manager said:

"The Tideway is one of the leading venues for water sports in the UK, with thousands of people taking to the river to exercise, de-stress or take in the scenic riverside views. The Code is set to be a really valuable resource for paddlers, which will improve their safety and the safety of others on the river, but also help to make padding a more enjoyable experience."

The Paddling Code is available online on the PLA website at: https://www.boatingonthethames.co.uk/assets/Paddling%20Code_Online_pages_.pdf. All recreational users of the Thames are encouraged to download the PLA Tidal Thames App which provides real time tidal information, a calendar of events, details of the latest river safety notices and mooring locations.

British Canoeing and the PLA will be launching the Paddling Code with a paddling and briefing session, which is open to paddlers and group leaders to attend on Saturday 17th June. For more information and to book a place visit: https://event.bookitbee.com/e/y4wu4.

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Notes to editors:

About the PLA

  • The PLA works to ensure navigational safety along the tidal Thames, sharing its marine, environmental, planning and other expertise to promote use of the river and safeguard its unique marine environment.
  • The tidal Thames is one of the UK’s busiest waterspaces and is home to:
    • the country’s second biggest port by tonnage of goods handled;
    • busiest inland waterway for passengers and freight;
    • centres of sporting excellence; and
    • events including the University Boat Race, Great River Race and Tall Ship festivals.