The Environment Agency has confirmed that people taking part in the new sport of paddle-boarding need a licence to take to the non-tidal Thames - like any other boater.

The activity, involving a person standing on a surfboard and propelling themselves by a paddle, is becoming increasingly popular on the river.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "Anyone taking part will need an unpowered boat registration licence before they can use the River Thames."

As previously reported by River Thames News the agency has stepped up its registration enforcement with unannounced spot checks on different stretches of the river and at marinas.

A recent two-day operation on the lower reaches of the non-tidal Thames saw waterways officers serve 49 motor boaters with registration enforcement notices.

And the agency warned the crackdown would continue through the boating season.

On the first day of the operation EA waterways officers supported by the Marine Police Unit targeted vessels moored on the river bank near Teddington. The following day they swooped on a stretch of river above Molesey Lock.

At the time Matt Carter, Waterways Operations Manager, said: “Our crackdown on non-registration will continue throughout the boating season.”

Regulations require all boats kept on the River Thames, whether or not they are used , to display a valid annual boat registration licence.

On the Tideway the PLA say " The [authority] does not consider the Tidal Thames an appropriate place for unrestricted paddle boarding; and under Thames Byelaw 13, paddle boarding is not permitted to the west of Sea Reach 1, except where authorized by the Harbour Master.

"Paddle boarding between the PLA’s boundary stone at Teddington and Putney Pier is permitted provided the newly published stand up paddleboarding guide is followed. This guide can be found on the PLA’s recreational website in the paddling section.

"Paddleboarding downstream of Putney Pier requires specific permission from the Harbour Master. Applications for such permission must be accompanied by a risk assessment for each trip at least one week in advance.

It should also be noted that prone paddle boarding is not permitted on the Tidal Thames."

Story dated May 10th 2013



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