Tideway Navigation

Tideway Navigation

Notice to Mariners from the PLA

No.U6 of 2002

Rules for Navigation of Vessels under Oars on the Tidal Thames from 1 May 2002  http://www.pola.co.uk/notice2mariners/index.cfm?flag=2&id=349&site=maritime

Lights to be diaplayed by vessels under oars and coaching boats

http://www.pola.co.uk/notice2mariners/index_perm.cfm?flag=2&id=115&site=maritime

Current Notices to Mariners

http://www.pola.co.uk/notice2mariners/index.cfm?site=maritime

Permanent Notices to Mariners

http://www.pola.co.uk/notice2mariners/index_perm.cfm?site=maritime

ROWING IN THE UPPER REACHES OF THE TIDAL THAMES

Independent Risk Assessment

There have been a number of complaints and incidents involving rowing boats in the upper reaches of the tidal Thames.

In order to improve safety on the river, the Port of London Authority (PLA) has commissioned a comprehensive, independent risk assessment into rowing on the tidal Thames between Putney and Teddington, including its impact on other recreational and commercial river users. The study will start in mid September 2004 and take about six months. Please see Consultation Notice for mor details

Reminder – Submissions to Salvage Association with your views on the crossing points must be received by 31st December 2004

Tideway Bridges

Rowers on the Tideway should look at this notice from the PLA concerning an underwater survey of railway bridges. Keep your eyes open, there may be divers out there!

 

Tideway Steering and Hazards

tideway-steer-haz

Moving upstream against the tide

At High Tide

1

Coming from Wandsworth, go through Putney Bridge on the north side of the river (Starboard Rules apply), and crossover (giving right of way to crews coming downstream on their Starboard station) between the upstream side of Putney Bridge and the upstream side of Putney pier. Row along the inside of the line of boats as close to the bank as is possible taking into account the possibility of crews departing from or coming back to the Putney clubs. Keep the south side of the river and as close to the bank as river conditions allow. Watch out for trees sticking out but aim to go as close to these as possible without hitting them. Carry on following the south bank through the inside arch of Hammersmith Bridge, past the St Paul’s slipway, past Chiswick Eyot and go round the next bend until you reach the tree jutting out at an angle of 45° about a hundred metres beyond the bend.

2

Of this is a crossover point. Taking care to ensure you keep clear of crews on the starboard station COMING downstream (it should be on the starboard station) and easying, if necessary, to do so, cross over aiming for the smallest poplar tree furthest upstream on the north bank.

3

Continue along the north bank, past Civil Service and Emanuel, and through the north arch of Barns Bridge until you are about 400 metres or so below Chiswick Bridge at which point there is another crossover.

4

Cross over as previously described watching out for crews from the local clubs that may have strayed, wrongly, and easied in the crossing point. Carry on along the south bank and go through the south arch of Chiswick railway and carry on upstream until you approach Kew pier. THIS IS A DANGER AREA.If the tide is very high and you are in a small boat it is possible and perfectly safe to travel on the inside of Kew pier. Watch out for the small tender rowing boat that is sometimes moored in this area. If the tide is not very high it is necessary to go outside Kew pier and often there is a boat moored to it pushing you further out into the Starboard channel for vessels coming downstream.

As a high tide, even going through the left-hand arch this area is dangerous. Vessels coming downstream on the starboard side of the river must travel to the right of the centre arch. A rowing boat travelling against the stream must move out very close to the route such a vessel is taking in order to get past Kew pier, particularly if there is a vessel tethered to the pier. Thus, it is incumbent on any rowing boat to go as close to the pier or the vessel as is practicable (i.e. a metre or preferably less) and to keep a very sharp lookout for vessels coming on their rightful station in the opposite direction. The buttress of Kew Bridge obstructs the view of vessels coming downstream. Thus, rowing craft should only proceed upstream when they are sure that it is safe so to do and, if necessary, should stop and check.

Note: All motorised vessels are, by law, required to sound their Horn once when approaching Kew Bridge from either direction.

Immediately after Kew Bridge there is a further set of obstacles in the way of pontoons and possibly more boats and only after a couple of hundred metres is possible to edge back into the bank.

5

After this, proceed on the south bank until the Sion crossing, which is a couple of hundred metres above the last of the barges. As with all other crossing is you have no right of way and must give way to vessels coming downstream on the starboard station. This area is another danger area as the river is often quite narrow and rowing boats tend to stray onto the Port station going downstream.

6

From this last crossover point normal starboard river navigation rules apply. After crossing to the north bank, proceed on the north bank taking care of all the many trees jutting out as one approaches the Pink Lodge. Watch out for all the outflows along the island leading up to Richmond Lock.
At Low Tide

1

Coming from Wandsworth, go through Putney Bridge on the north side of the river (Starboard Rules apply), taking care of the shoals on the right-hand side about 25 metres upstream of Putney Bridge, and cross over (giving right of way to crews coming downstream on their Starboard station) between the upstream side of Putney Bridge and the upstream side of Putney pier. Row along the inside of the line of boats as close to the bank as is possible taking into account the possibility of crews departing from or coming back to the Putney clubs. Keep the south side of the river and as close to the bank as river conditions allow. These vary considerably depending on the state of the tide. Major danger points at low tide are of the shoals just downstream of Barn Elms, the occasional spit on the way to Hammersmith, the shoals and debris downstream and upstream of Hammersmith Bridge, the too large ‘spits’ immediately above St Paul’s, the outflow pipe opposite the Eyot, at very low tide the sandy spit just before the next bend above the Eyot.

2

Go round the bend until you reach the tree jutting out at an angle of 45° and its associated spit about a hundred metres beyond the bend and, take care to ensure you keep clear of COMING downstream (it should be on the starboard station) and easying, if necessary, to do so, crossover aiming for the smallest poplar tree furthest upstream on the north bank.

3

Continue along the north bank, watching out for the shoals immediately downstream of Civil Service and Emanuel, and through the north arch of Barns Bridge (unless it is VERY low tide — when it may be necessary to go on the starboard side of the centre arch) until you are about 400 metres or so below Chiswick Bridge at which point there is a crossover.

4

Crossover as previously described watching out for crews from the local clubs that may have strayed, wrongly, and easied in the crossing point. Carry on along the south bank, watching out for shoals all the way at low tide, particularly 400 metres above Putney Town Rowing Club, and go through the south arch of Chiswick railway bridge (at very low tide as close to the of the centre arch as is possible — bearing in mind the starboard rule coming in the opposite direction should be right of centre of this arch), watch out for the spit jutting out located about 300 metres above the rail Bridge and carry on upstream until you approach Kew pier. THIS IS A DANGER AREA.If the tide is very low it may be that you have to go through the centre arch of Kew Bridge. There is very little room to accommodate three vessels navigating the centre arch concurrently, which is, if you think, what the Rowing Rules allow. (There are the two ColRegs rights of way according to the starboard rules and a supplementary Rowing Rule in the opposite direction of the downstream Starboard right of way). This means that on the left-hand side of the centre arch of Kew Bridge as you face it travelling upstream against the stream, two sets of craft have to fit in one (the rowing craft) snuggled up close to the left pier and one going in the opposite direction just to the starboard of the centre line of the fairway.

At a higher tide, even going through the left-hand arch this area is dangerous. Vessels coming downstream on the starboard side of the river must travel to the right of the centre arch. A rowing boat travelling against the stream must move out very close to the root such a vessel is taking in order gets past Kew pier, particularly if there is a vessel tethered to the pier. Thus, it is incumbent on any rowing boat to go as close to the pier or the vessel as is practicable (i.e. a metre or preferably less) and to keep a very sharp lookout for vessels coming on their rightful station in the opposite direction. The buttress of Kew Bridge obstructs the view of vessels coming downstream. Thus, rowing craft should only proceed upstream when they are sure that it is safe so to do and, if necessary, should stop and check. Do not let yourself get carried out into the centre of the river by the stream. You may well have to row bow side only for several strokes as you pass the pier to avoid this risk,

Note: All motorised vessels are, by law, required to sound their Horn once when approaching Kew Bridge from either direction.

Immediately after Kew Bridge there is a further set of obstacles in the way of pontoons and possibly more boats and only after a couple of hundred metres is possible to edge back into the bank.

5

After this proceed on the south bank until the Sion crossing, which is a couple of hundred metres above the last of the barges. As with all other crossing is you have no right of way and must give way to vessels coming downstream on the starboard station. This area is another danger area as the river is often quite narrow and rowing boats tend to stray onto the Port station going downstream.

6

After crossing to the north bank, proceed on the north bank taking care of all the many shoals particularly the one immediately after the Pink Lodge. Watch out for all the outflows along the island leading up to Richmond Lock. From this last crossover point normal starboard river navigation rules apply

tideway-upstream

Moving upstream against the tide

At Hide Tide

5

Do not follow the best stream. You are required to stay on the starboard station. This is the righthand side as you travel up river with tide behind you. There is a huge temptation to go on to the left-hand side of the river where you know the best stream lies but this is precisely the passageway for vessels coming in the opposite direction which as we know happens quite often in the summer particularly on bank holidays. This means for Coxon’s travelling from Putney to Hammersmith you do NOT “aim for the second lamppost” but instead aim to be right of centre of the centre lamppost. This is true of the whole of the river up to Richmond Lock and beyond. This rule is not understood by a large minority of Tideway oarsman who persist in taking the best stream on the Port station. This causes problems with cruisers and other motorised vessels.

6

Below Chiswick, as far as Profit Dock, it would be possible to keep to the south bank, but less easy to steer.

7

Below the crossing it is the only safe option to use the Surrey bank as far as Putney.
At Low Tide

1

Watch out for all the shoals marked on the map and do not overtake at any pinch points.

2

Below Chiswick Bridge there is a series of “flats” in the area of the brewery and Bull’s Alley.

3

The south arch of Barnes Bridge is too shallow to use at low tide, forcing crews to use the centre arch.

4

There are storm water outfalls from Beverley Brook above the White Hart Pub and just above Barnes Bridge which can cause severe turbulence after rainfall.

5

From the bridge down to the Crossing, especially in the area of Profit Dock there are extensive shallows, which would force crews into the main navigation channel.

6

From the Crossing down to Putney it is sensible to remain on the south bank.

tideway-against

Pinch Points

Putney

The moored boats and the pier can cause problems

Hammersmith

At low tide this area will always need care. It must be remembered that the river is narrowed here for a small proportion of the day particularly if there is a low tide.

Kew Bridge

Visibility is a problem at the bridge especially when moving downstream. Moving upstream on the ebb it is safest to be out of the way on the south bank. There are sometimes large craft moored at the pier which are difficult to get round.

Crossings

The crossing at Putney is sensible and reasonably safe.

The crossing at Corney Reach is sensible and reasonably safe.

The crossing below Chiswick Bridge has more risk. Crews wishing to cross have poor visibility of craft coming down through Chiswick Bridge. There is also confusion caused by crews returning to the boathouse at the bridge, stopping and turning into the side. At very low tide there can be congestion at the north arch of the bridge.

The crossing at Isleworth reach in use since 1993 is risky and care must be taken as the river is very narrow at low tide

tideway-crossings