Guidance

Inland waterways: get permission to hold an event

How to apply to hold an event on an Environment Agency river.

Organise an event on a river or canal

If you’re planning an event on an Environment Agency river or canal, please contact the relevant waterway office in advance.

You must make suitable arrangements for the safety of participants, spectators and members of the public during the event.

Anglian waterways

Please let the Environment Agency know at least 6 weeks in advance that you plan to hold an event.

If you are organising an event and need to know what to do, or if you want to place marker buoys for floating notices in the river, please phone the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506*, email them at waterwaysanglian@environment-agency.gov.uk, or write to them:

Environment Agency
Waterways Department
Kingfisher House
Goldhay Way
Orton Goldhay
Peterborough
PE2 5ZR

You can also telephone their National Customer Contact Centre on 03708 506 506*.

*Find out about call charges

All river users must follow the Anglian waterways byelaws.

River Medway

You can only arrange events using unpowered boats on the River Medway. Please ring the Allington Lock Waterways Officer on 01622 685 219 or complete an events form and email it to Allington Lock allington.lock@environment-agency.gov.uk or post to:

Environment Agency
Lock House
Castle Road
Allington
Kent
ME16 0LU.

The Environment Agency will write to you within 10 working days of receiving your form to let you know if your event can go ahead. If it can, you will need to pay the Environment Agency the appropriate fee.

If you want to place marker buoys or floating notices in the river, ring the Allington Lock Waterways Officer on 01622 685 219 first, to check where and when you can place them to avoid blocking other river users. You will not be charged you for this.

All river users must follow the River Medway byelaws.

Royal Military Canal

If you want to hold an event on the Royal Military Canal between West Hythe Dam and Iden Lock, telephone Scots Float Depot on 01732 222 860.

Rye Harbour

If you want to hold an event in Rye Harbour, please phone the Harbour Office on 01797 225 225.

All harbour users must follow the Rye Harbour byelaws.

River Thames

If you want to hold an event on the River Thames, please email waterwaysthames@environment-agency.gov.uk at least 4 weeks in advance, to agree event details, including any charges. You need the Environment Agency’s written consent to place marker buoys, floating notices or other temporary works or obstructions in the river.

When you contact the Environment Agency about your event please let them know:

  • the type of event you are holding
  • the dates and timings of your event
  • details of where your event will start and finish
  • the number of competitors or participants
  • contact details for the day of your event
  • details of any buoys or other markers or structures you want to place in the river

For some events the Environment Agency will provide a patrol launch service. They will charge for this service.

All river users must follow the River Thames registration byelaws and the River Thames navigation byelaws.

See more in River Thames: guidance for event organisers.

River Wye

If you are planning an event on the River Wye, email the Wye Navigation Officer wye-navigation@environment-agency.gov.uk .

Give details of any marker buoys or floating notices you want to place in the river, to check where and when you can place them so that you don’t block other river users. The Environment Agency may charge you for this.

All river users must follow the River Wye byelaws.

Check events listings

For lists of events taking place on all inland waterways, visit the Canal & River Trust Events calendar, the Inland Waterways Association Events page and the River Wye event calendar.

Published 31 March 2014
Last updated 2 November 2016 + show all updates
  1. Email address changed to Waterways Thames.
  2. Added new link to event guidance for the River Thames.
  3. First published.