Cruising the London river?

I have been wondering, are people with their yachts allowed to cruise through London river freely or do they need a pass of some sort? I suppose this question goes for other similar rivers in the world.

5 Answers

  • Bung 2
    Lv 6
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    If you are referring to the Thames River in Ontario, I can't advise you, but if you mean the River Thames in London UK, I have had some experience.

    Depending on which part of the river you intend to use, the regulations will vary as there are two navigation authorities.

    In tidal water, that is from the Estuary to Teddington Lock, the navigation is controlled by the Port of London Authority. For a privately owned pleasure craft, no licence is required for vessel or skipper. Inward bound vessel from abroad heading upstream can request a 'free pratique' at Gravesend. Navigation rules are very similar to the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea. Be aware that seaward of the Dartford Deep Water Terminal you are liable to encounter large sea-going freighters. When burdened with lofty deck cargoes of containers, they may lose sight of you if you get in too close, so it is prudent to give them plenty of sea room. Equip yourself with a reliable Thames guide, so that you will recognise the light signals for passing the Thames Barrier and for using the recommended arches of the bridges across the river. Also be aware that at low tide, the underwater clearance is very limited just upstream of Westminster Bridge and at Kew Gardens, (the Roman army forded the Thames here two millennia ago and it is still shallow),

    Above Teddington, the navigation authority is the Environmental Agency, a Department of Government. Skippers are required to be of a responsible age and ability, but your craft will require to be licenced and probably inspected before being granted one. From my experience, the safety aspects will be the most important area addressed. Such things as the safety of gas installations, provision of a fire extinguisher, life saving equipment etc. You are also required to have navigation lights if you navigate after dark and a properly sized anchor.

    If you leave the Thames to venture on to the Inland Waterways, you guessed it, there is a different navigation authority, this time, it is British Waterways and another licence is obligatory for the boat. The requirements will be similar to those of the Environmental Agency. If you leave the Thames to venture up the Lee Navigation (which takes you through the 2012 London Olympics Site), or the Grand Union Canal, either at Limehouse or Brentford, you can get quite a long way as the Lee and the GU have wide locks. If you leave at Oxford, the Oxford Canal locks are narrow, suitable for craft with a maximum beam of 6'-10".

    Finally, if you cruise the Wey and Godalming Navigation, you will be on waters controlled by The National Trust, a non-governmental organisation and I'm afraid they will insist on your vessel having a licence issued by them. Nicholsons issue very reliable guides to the Upper Thames and Inland Navigations, with information on lock dimensions, bridge air clearances, water depths etc, as well as canal and riverside pub locations, necessary to counter the effects of de-hydration !!! You can usually buy them at boatyards and marinas.

    If all of the foregoing has not put you off, I can only end by wishing you a save and enjoyable visit.


    Whoops, I forgot to include the other major Inland Navigation accessible from the Thames. Starting at Reading, the Kennet Navigation - Kennet & Avon Canal - River Avon Navigation usually jointly referred to as the K & A will give you access to the cities of Bath and Bristol. The K & A has wide locks, 14ft with a maximum craft length of 72 ft. It largely serves a rural environment. The K & A is controlled by British Waterways.

    Source(s): Experience, both on large deep sea freighters and on commercial craft on the inland canals.
  • 7 years ago

    Cruising the London river is all about the great fun of your life. If you have tired from hustle and bustle of city life then cruising on Thames provides the relaxing atmosphere. it provides a way by which you can see entire cities of London that is really unique and spectacular. You can also hire the private Thames boat. London boat cruises are available in various types. Out of these the speedboat is very popular.

  • 8 years ago

    London river? You mean the Thames?

    All vessels used on the Thames and connecting waterways have to be registered as such, in addition, some permits are required, and depending on your length of stay and purpose, other fees may be involved. . .

    Here is the link you need to learn all about what you need to cruise the Thames and all the connecting waterways. It is a fantastic journey, as well as a very safe and popular one as well. Over all, in season, the Thames river and connecting canals & waterways are some of the most popular n the world. Here is the link:

    If you are indeed planning to cruise the River Thames and Connecting Waterways - for sure, you need to become very familiar with the rules, regulations, all at the above link.

    The Thames and British/Wales connecting waterway is home to over 35,000 boats, which come in all shapes, sizes and colors. The live a-board boaters make up the largest pleasure boat "housing community" in the world, with over 2,000 miles of non-tidal waterways and another 2,000 miles of tidal waterways. You can learn more about it at this link:

    As for other such places in the world. . . Some have fees, some don't. Some have Locks or Lift bridges - most are free, some are not. For example: I can cruise from the southern tip of Florida on the US Atlantic Intra-Coastal Waterway to the Erie Canal - for free. . . It cost me $50 however for a 10 day pass through the Erie Canal. . . Same goes for other waters in the world - most places in the Caribbean & Mediterranean are free to cruise to and through - some places are not.

  • akhras
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    If this can be a dinner cruise, i would assume you to dress up in a party dress or anything stylish. If it is only a sight-seeing cruise, then casual put on can be quality. Regards, Dan

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  • 8 years ago

    in the tidal ares, no permission is required. However you will have serious problems with your mast and bridges.

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