The tidal Thames is very much the heart of British rowing for both traditional and fine boat rowers. It is home to events such as The Boat Race (between Oxford and Cambridge) and The Great River Race. Numerous other head races make the tidal Thames one of the most popular courses in the world.
The stretch between Teddington lock and the Thames Barrier is known as the Tideway. It requires a sound knowledge of the effects of the tidal stream, including the resultant currents and variable depths which may be unfamiliar even to extremely competent rowers who have not previously visited. All rowers who use the tideway should follow the PLA Code of Practice: The Tideway Code. Note that different sections of the Tideway have different rules.
Rowing safely on the tideway demands a sound knowledge of the effects of the tidal stream, including the resultant currents and variable depths which may be unfamiliar even to extremely competent rowers who have not previously visited.
Sliding seat and fixed seat rowing are both popular on the Tideway, with fixed seat boats the most capable of dealing with the rougher conditions found in the lower estuary. Regular learn to row courses run throughout the year and can be found through British Rowing’s activity finder.
Incidents involving rowing craft
Look after each other on the river. Let us know when you encounter an issue that affects safety or navigation.
British Rowing has established an online incident reporting system for all incidents involving rowers. The system is not limited to the rowing community and British Rowing welcomes other leisure users to use it to report incidents. The British Rowing online incident reporting system does not replace the requirement to complete a PLA Incident Report Form.
Vessel masters and those in charge of vessels and craft using the Thames are required, under the provisions of River Byelaw 7, to report specific categories of accident to the PLA.
In addition to this legal requirement, all river users are invited to report any navigational incidents or occurrences, including near misses, so that any safety matters arising can be properly addressed.
To assist users in the reporting of such incidents, and to report other information, the PLA has devised the Marine Incident/Near Miss Report Form.
Navigating in the upper tidal Thames
Navigating in central London
Navigating in the lower tidal Thames
External sites of interest to rowing enthusiasts.