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Above: The PLA explain how to safely navigate the Lower Tidal Thames Estuary AreaAbove: The PLA explain how to safely navigate cruising through Central LondonAbove: The PLA explain how to safely navigate through the Thames Barrier

Visiting the River Thames by boat is reasonably easy providing a few simple rules are observed. Watch the tidal Navigation advice videos & read this.

Navigation from the Estuary to Teddington on the Thames is controlled by the Port of London Authority. The Thames has strong tides and care should be observed in taking advantage of them. It is possible to cruise to London from Ramsgate, or East Coast in 12 knot plus powered craft and from the Medway under sail in one tide. Masts would have to be stepped down below Tower Bridge.  Visit for much more information.

Passing through Tower Bridge at the start of the tide you start to pass under bridges.   Taking the tide there should be no problem in passing through the bridges but be aware that at high-water springs there is only approximately 3.5m headroom at Hammersmith Bridge.    Be also aware that whilst HW at Richmond is one hour after HW London Bridge at LW there is a 3 hour difference. This affects the way the tide works.  Hammersmith is no problem if you get the tides right. At Richmond there is a half tide barrier.  It opens two hours before HW Richmond and closes two hours after.For approximately an hour after the closure there is a lock available but there is a charge.

As you pass through Teddington Lock you are clear to enter the Non-Tidal Thames Control of the navigation also changes.  

Approximately 100 metres or so below Teddington there is a pedestal indicating that from this point the river is managed by the Thames Conservancy.

This is now dated information as it is actually managed by the Environment Agency. Specifically by a Thames Navigation River Manager reporting to Barry Russell M.B.E. our Board Advisor and the Harbour Master of the West Thames Area.

Visit EA and ATYC for information on bridge heights and size of the locks. Every craft placed on the non-tidal Thames has to be registered with the EA. It is illegal to have a boat on the water without the appropriate registration plate.    

Visitor registrations are available at Teddington and at any lock where there is a joining navigation, river or canal.

The River Thames  Tidal Navigation Advice

Team Thames Advises


Videos Courtesy of The P. L. A.  

Hobbs of Henley

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