Picture: PLA

Updated guidance has been issued for stand-up paddleboarders on the tidal Thames,

And for the first time they are to be allowed to paddle downstream as far as Tower Bridge - under tight restrictions.

Until now the PLA has said no-one should use a paddleboard below Putney Pier.

But after talks with representatives involved in paddleboarding this has been changed.

However the authority says only experienced boarders should attempt go onto the river between Putney and Tower Bridge. It advises them "Downstream of Putney Pier the river is much busier, with the presence of fast ferries, plus barges with limited manoeuvrability. As a result, navigating
a paddleboard requires greater knowledge, skill and preparation.

"The use of the tidal Thames for paddleboarding below Putney Pier is therefore only permitted for more
experienced paddlers who have undertaken recognised training courses, and only at the times when the river will be less busy."

In addition it sets rules for using the part of the river down to the Pool. These include:

  • Paddle in a group of at least three, with a leader ratio of 1:4
  • Have at least one person in the group carrying a VHF radio and
    maintain a listening watch on VHF ch.14
  • Always wear a buoyancy aid
  • Do not paddle below Putney Pier between three hours before High
    Water and one hour after High Water at London Bridge due to the presence of large freight
  • Do not paddle between Chelsea Bridge and Tower Bridge during peak traffic periods, which occur daily from 11:00 to 18:00 between Good Friday and 30 September

In order to demonstrate both the required degree of Local Knowledge on the river and skills to travel below Putney Pier, paddlers are required to attend courses.

Stricter rules apply at night.

More details of the courses are HERE

More detailed PLA guidance can be found HERE with extra information on its website HERE

October 29th 2015