Environmental management – guidance

River Thames conditions, closures, restrictions and lock closures

Reach closures, restrictions and lock closures affecting boaters on the River Thames.

River conditions

Find out the latest river conditions and strong stream warnings by:

River closures: updated 15 July 2016

There are currently no river closures.

River restrictions: updated 15 July 2016

When Where What’s happening
Wednesday 11 May to Sunday 24 July 2016 Sheepwash Railway Bridge Installation of walkway: follow directional signage and instructions given by Environment Agency and Network Rail staff.
Sunday 3 July to Sunday 24 July 2016, 10pm to 6am Old Windsor lock cut bridge Strengthening work: assisted passage under the bridge will be provided by an onsite safety boat positioned at Old Windsor lock. Find more detail on strengthening work at Old Windsor.
Monday 4 July from midday to 6am Friday 22 July 2016 Henley Reach De-construction of the Henley Royal Regatta course. While the Henley Royal Regatta course is being dismantled, these restrictions apply to all boats navigating between Henley Bridge and the downstream end of Temple Island (except: from 7am on Friday 8 July to 6pm on Saturday 9 July, between 8am and 3pm on Sunday 10 July and from 9am on Friday 15 July to 6pm on Sunday 17 July). Find more detail on De-construction of the Henley Royal Regatta course.
Friday 15 July 2016, 5pm to 8pm Teddington Reach South London Swimming Club River Thames swim. The navigation channel shall be established on the left, Kingston upon Thames side of the river. Find more detail on South London Swimming Club River Thames swim.
Saturday 16 July 2016, 9am to 5pm Sunbury Reach Thames Valley Skiff Club Regatta and Rag Regatta. The navigation channel shall be established on the right, Middlesex side of the river. Find more detail on Thames Valley Skiff Club Regatta and Rag Regatta.
Saturday 16 July 2016, 9:30am to 6pm Cleeve Reach Goring and Streatley Regatta. The navigation channel shall be established on the right, east side of the river. Find more detail on Goring and Streatley Regatta.
Saturday 16 to Sunday 17 July 2016, 8am to 6pm Molesey Reach Molesey Amateur Regatta and Moulsey Mile. The navigation channel shall be established on the right, north/non-towpath side of the river. Find more detail on Molesey Amateur Regatta and Moulsey Mile.
Saturday 16 to Sunday 17 July 2016, 9am to 6:30pm Henley Reach Thames Traditional Boat Festival. The navigation channel shall be established on the left, Berkshire/Remenham side of the river, along the Henley Royal Regatta course. Find more detail on Thames Traditional Boat Festival.
Sunday 17 July 2016, 6:30am to 8:15am Marlow Reach F3 – Marlow River Swim and Marlow Half Iron Distance Triathlon. The navigation channel shall be established on the left, Bisham side of the river. Find more detail on F3 Marlow River Swim and Marlow Half Iron Distance Triathlon.
Sunday 17 July 2016, 7:30am to 10:30am Eynsham Lock to 100 metres upstream of Godstow Bridge Oxford 6 kilometre Swim. Swimmers will hug the left, towpath bank of the river and will leave a clear navigation channel for boat traffic along the centre of the river. Find more detail on Oxford 6 kilometre Swim.
Sunday 17 July 2016, 9.30am to 4.30pm Kingston Reach Kingston Rotary Club dragon boat event: the navigation channel will be on the right-hand side of the river. Find more detail on Kingston Rotary Club dragon boat event.
Sunday 17 July 2016, 10am to 5pm Dreadnought Reach Southern Area Sea Cadet Regatta. The navigation channel shall be established on the right, Oxfordshire/non-towpath side of the river. Find more detail on Southern Area Sea Cadet Regatta.
Saturday 23 July 2016, 9am to 6:30pm Penton Hook Reach Staines Amateur Regatta. The navigation channel shall be established on the left, Surrey side of the river. Find more detail on Staines Amateur Regatta.
Saturday 23 July 2016,10am to 5pm Teddington Reach Hampton Court and Dittons Amateur Regatta. The navigation channel shall be established on the right, Hampton Court side of the river. Find more detail on the Hampton Court and Dittons Amateur Regatta.
Saturday 24 July 2016, 8.30am to 6pm Chertsey Reach Burway Sprint Regatta. The navigation channel shall be established on the right, Middlesex side of the river. Find more detail on the Burway Sprint Regatta.
Friday 29 July 2016, 8am to 5pm Sunbury Reach Weybridge Community Regatta. The navigation channel shall be established on the old river channel at Shepperton. Find more detail on the Weybridge Community Regatta.
Saturday 30 July 2016, 6am to 6.30pm Shepperton Reach Chertsey and Shepperton Regatta. The navigation channel shall be established on the left, Surrey side of the river. Find more detail on the Chertsey and Shepperton Regatta.
Saturday 6 August 2016, 8am to 5pm Bray Reach Maidenhead Rowing Club Annual Regatta. The navigation channel shall be established on the left, Berkshire side of the river. Find more detail on Maidenhead Rowing Club Annual Regatta.

Planned lock closures: updated 17 March 2016

The Environment Agency carries out a programme of works on the River Thames every year between November and Easter. In order to carry out this work, it often needs to close a number of locks for relatively long periods.

So that river users can plan their winter cruising and boat movements well in advance, the Environment Agency publishes the first issue of its programme of works in early August each year.

The Environment Agency’s programme of work is subject to change, due to weather and other circumstances, often beyond its control. It therefore publishes revised issues of the programme of works throughout the winter, so customers can keep up to date. To receive this information, you can sign up to the email update service by emailing riverthames@environment-agency.gov.uk. You can also check this webpage.

During the 2015 to 2016 investment programme, the Environment Agency invested £1.3 million in River Thames locks. These works have now been completed as listed below:

  • St.Johns Lock: re-sheeting the head lock gates and repairing the tail lock gates
  • Godstow Lock: re-sheeting the lock gates
  • Culham Lock: refurbishing the lock chamber
  • Days Lock: minor repairs to the lock chamber
  • Temple Lock: refurbishing the lock chamber
  • Marlow Lock: fitting baffle plates to improve the head gates
  • Boulters Lock: re-sheeting the tail lock gates

Keep up to date

Get the latest river information before you go boating. Call the Environment Agency Floodline on 0345 988 1188 and when prompted select option 1 followed by:

  • River conditions and strong stream warnings: 011131
  • Work on the river and lock closures: 011132
  • Events on the river which affect boating: 011133

Find out about call charges.

Email

The Environment Agency sends email updates on River Thames closure and restrictions. To subscribe to this service, email riverthames@environment-agency.gov.uk with ‘subscribe to harbourmaster’s notices’ in the subject line.

Know your river conditions

Any river activity poses a greater risk when there are strong currents, high river levels or cold weather. River flows can increase even during the summer months – never assume sunny weather means the conditions are not hazardous.

Warning boards may be displayed at locks to inform river users of the conditions. Read the explanations of what these mean for you. Don’t take risks and never underestimate the power of the river.

When these red boards are displayed on lock gates, we advise users of all boats not to navigate because the strong flows make it difficult and dangerous.

People in hire boats arriving at a lock where these boards are displayed should stop immediately and contact their hire boat operator to ask for instructions.

Strong stream warning
Strong stream warning

When these yellow boards are displayed on lock gates, we advise users of all unpowered boats not to navigate and users of powered boats to find a safe mooring. This is because river flows are likely to strengthen, and red boards could be displayed very soon and without further warning.

Stream increasing warning
Stream increasing warning

When these yellow boards are displayed on lock gates, we advise users of all unpowered boats not to navigate and users of powered boats to navigate with caution.

Stream decreasing warning
Stream decreasing warning

Dealing with changing river conditions

Read this section carefully to find out what to do if you find yourself in conditions where we advise you to stop navigating. Remember, not all conditions will be serious enough to require all the measures suggested below.

  • Please take the advice to stop. Even the most experienced boater can be caught out, so think about those who could be put in danger if they have to help you.
  • Moor your boat in a safe place, preferably in a marina or at a recognised mooring. Limited space may be available at some locks. Moor against high banks if you can.
  • Ensure your mooring lines are fastened to secure fixings such as bollards, rings or even trees; put out extra lines for additional security and allow enough slack for a further rise in river levels; don’t rely on your own mooring pins or stakes, they might not hold.
  • If possible, put extra fendering (eg scaffold poles or strong timber posts) between your boat and the bank side, to prevent your boat drifting onto the river bank and becoming caught up when levels drop.
  • Make sure you have a safe exit ashore from your boat. If not, you should consider returning home or finding alternative accommodation until conditions improve.
  • If you are running low on essential supplies or have other safety concerns and are not able to vacate your boat safely, treat this as an emergency and dial 999 to ask for evacuation.
  • Those in hire boats: if you are advised to stop navigating, you should stop immediately and contact your hire boat operator and follow their instructions.

Please remember your life is more important than your boat.

The Environment Agency are not an emergency service and are not able to carry out search and rescue, or provide supplies to stranded boats.