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 and restrictions

The ‘find more detail link’ in the ‘What’s happening’ column will download guidance with details of the closure or restriction.

River closures: updated 30 June 2015

There are currently no closures on the River Thames.

River restrictions: updated 30 June 2015

When Where What’s happening
Until further notice Cookham Lock Due to a technical issue, Cookham Lock is only operable by handwind during any periods of self-service until further notice (this was previously the case between 10pm and 7am only).
October 2013 to July 2015 Teddington Reach, Kingston railway bridge between Teddington and Molesey Locks Maintenance work to Kingston railway bridge: work is required as part of a planned maintenance program. At least one of the three bridge arches will remain open for navigation. The visitor moorings on the upstream end of Kingston Wharf will be suspended for the duration of the work. Details of traffic management system to follow shortly.
November 2014 to August 2015 Reading Bridge (immediately upstream of Caversham Lock) Reading Bridge strengthening work: scaffolding will cover the outer two thirds of the bridge, leaving the centre third open for navigation. The navigation channel will be 20.45 metres wide. The normal headway through the channel will be available (5.38 metres). Find more detail on Reading Bridge strengthening work.
November 2014 to July 2015 Between Reading Bridge and the downstream end of Fry’s Island Construction of the new Reading cycle and footbridge: navigation will remain open and will either be redirected along the north side of Fry’s Island or through a restricted channel on the south side. Access to Fry’s Island and the services located there will be possible throughout the works. Find more detail on the construction of the new Reading cycle and footbridge.
March to July 2015 Moulsford Railway Bridge, between Cleeve and Benson Locks Moulsford railway bridge repair works: there are two navigable arches at Moulsford Railway Bridge. One bridge arch will be closed at a time. The closed arch will be signalled with a red disc and yellow buoys in front of the arch. Find more detail on Moulsford Railway Bridge repair works.
6am on Monday 15 June 2015 to 6am Wednesday 1 July 2015 Henley Reach Henley royal regatta practice and Henley women’s regatta: the navigation channel will be on the Buckinghamshire (Fawley Court) side of the river. Find more detail on Henley royal regatta practice and Henley women’s regatta.
Wednesday 1 July to Sunday 5 July 2015 Henley Reach Henley royal regatta: the navigation channel for river traffic will be on the Buckinghamshire (Fawley Court) side of the regatta course. Find more detail on Henley royal regatta.
Saturday 4 July 2015, 6am to 8am Boulter’s Lock to the Waterside Inn upstream of Bray Lock Boulter’s to Bray swim: swimmers will have high-visibility caps and will be escorted by canoe guards. Please navigate slowly Find more detail on the Boulter’s to Bray swim.
Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 July 2015, 8am to 6pm Molesey Reach National Sea Scout Regatta: the navigation channel shall be established on the Middlesex side of the river. Racing boats will be using a buoyed channel between the River Mole and the Thames Ditton Island on the Surrey side of the river. Regatta boards will mark the upstream and downstream extent of the course. Racing will start at 8am and will be over by 6pm. Masters of all boats to maintain a safe speed and lookout between River Mole and the Thames Ditton Island. Those in charge of boats should be aware that they are responsible for avoiding collision. Find more detail on National Sea Scout Regatta.
12 noon on Monday 6 July 2015 to 6am on Friday 24 July 2015 Henley Reach Deconstruction of the Henley Royal Regatta course.
Wednesday 8 July to Sunday 12 July 2015 Henley Reach Henley events: the Henley music festival, Henley masters regatta and the Henley mile swim will be taking place. Find more detail on Henley events.
Saturday 11 July 2015, 11:30am to 3pm Teddington Reach Royal canoe club junior regatta: the navigation channel will be on the Surrey side of the river. Find more detail on Royal canoe club junior regatta.
Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 July 2015, 8:30am to 7pm Teddington Reach Kingston amateur regatta: the navigation channel will be on the Kingston side of the river. Regatta boards will mark the upstream and downstream extent of the course. Find more detail on Kingston amateur regatta.
Saturday 18 July 2015, 9am to 5pm Sunbury Reach Thames Valley Skiff Club Regatta and rag Regatta: the navigation channel shall be established on the Middlesex side of the river. Racing boats will be using a buoyed channel between the Anglers Wharf and Gridley Miskins Wharf on the surrey side of the river. Regatta boards will mark the upstream and downstream extent of the course. Masters of all boats to maintain a safe speed and lookout between the Anglers Wharf and Gridley Miskins Wharf. Those in charge of boats should be aware that they are responsible for avoiding collision. Find more detail on Thames Valley Skiff Club regatta.
Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 July 2015, 8am to 6pm Molesey Reach Southern Area Sea Cadets Regatta: the navigation channel shall be established on the Middlesex side of the river. Racing boats will be using a buoyed channel between Platt’s Eyot and Hampton sailing club while racing however access will be permitted to and from the boatyard facilities on the surrey side of Platt’s Eyot. Regatta boards will mark the upstream and downstream extent of the course. Racing will start at 8am and will be over by 6pm. Masters of all boats to maintain a safe speed and lookout between Platt’s Eyot and Hampton sailing club. Those in charge of boats should be aware that they are responsible for avoiding collision. Find more detail on Southern Area Sea Cadets Regatta.
9am on Saturday 18 July 2015 to 6pm on Sunday 19 July 2015 Henley Reach Thames traditional boat festival: the navigation channel will be on the Berkshire side of the river, along the Henley Royal Regatta course. Find more detail on Thames traditional boat festival.
Sunday 19 July 2015, 9:30am to 4pm Kingston Reach Kingston Rotary Club dragon boat event: the navigation channel will be on the Middlesex side of the river. Regatta boards will mark the upstream and downstream extent of the course. Find more detail on Kingston Rotary Club dragon boat event.
Friday 24 July 2015. 9.30am to 5.30pm Sunbury Reach Weybridge Community Regatta: the navigation channel shall be established on the old river channel at Shepperton. Racing boats will be using the Desborough channel will be closed to navigation between 9.30am 5.30pm. Regatta boards will mark the upstream and downstream extent of the course. Racing will start at 9.30am and will be over by 5.30pm. Masters of all boats to maintain a safe speed and lookout between the head and tail of the Desborough channel. Those in charge of boats should be aware that they are responsible for avoiding collision.Find more detail on Weybridge Community Regatta.
Saturday 25 July 2015. 9am to 6.30pm Penton Hook Reach Staines Amateur Regatta: the navigation channel shall be established on the Surrey side of the river. Racing boats will be using a buoyed channel between the Riverbank flats and Silvery Sands on the Middlesex side of the river. Regatta boards will mark the upstream and downstream extent of the course. Racing will start at 9am and will be over by 6.30pm. Masters of all boats to maintain a safe speed and lookout between Riverbank flats and Silvery Sands.hose in charge of boats should be aware that they are responsible for avoiding collision.
Saturday 25 July 2015, 9:30am to 6pm Cleeve Reach Goring and Streatley regatta: the navigation channel will be on the east side of the river. Find more detail on the Goring and Streatley regatta.
Saturday 25 July 2015, 7pm to 8:30pm Henley Reach Club to pub swim: the navigation channel will be on the east (Wargrave Road) side of Bird Island and Rod Eyot. Find more detail on club to pub swim.
Sunday 26 July 2015, 8:30am to 6pm Laleham Reach Burway sprint regatta: the navigation channel will be on the Middlesex side of the river. Find more detail on Burway sprint regatta.
Friday 7 August 2015, 8am to 8pm Marsh Reach Wargrave and Shiplake regatta and swim: the navigation will be on the Berkshire, Wargrave-side of the river. Find more detail on Wargrave and Shiplake regatta and swim.
Saturday 22 August 2015, 9am to 5pm Sunbury Reach Thames valley Skiff Club Walton Reach Regatta: the navigation channel shall be established on the Middlesex side of the river. Racing boats will be using a buoyed channel between the Black Swan Sea Cadets building and Gridley Miskins Wharf on the Surrey side of the river. Regatta boards will mark the upstream and downstream extent of the course. Masters of all boats to maintain a safe speed and lookout between the Black Swan Sea Cadets building and Gridley Miskins Wharf on the Surrey side of the river. Those in charge of boats should be aware that they are responsible for avoiding collision. Find more detail on Thames Valley Skiff Club regatta.

Planned lock closures

The Environment Agency carry out a programme of works on the River Thames every year between November and Easter. In order to carry out this work, they often need 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 publish the first issue of their programme of works in early August each year.

The programme of work is subject to change due to weather and other circumstances. Revised issues of the programme of works are published throughout the winter. To receive this information, sign up to email updates or check this webpage.

The Environment Agency invested £1.8 million in River Thames locks during the 2014 to 2015 investment programme. These are the the completed works:

  • Grafton Lock: the tail lock gates have been replaced
  • Rushey Lock: the layby riser piles have been refurbished
  • Abingdon Lock: the lock gates have been inspected and refurbished
  • Caversham Lock: the lock gate hollow quoins have been repaired
  • Marsh Lock: the lock gate seals have been repaired
  • Marlow Lock: the lock gates have been replaced
  • Cookham Lock: the lock gates and sluice gears have been partially refurbished
  • Boulters Lock: the lock chamber and upstream layby have been refurbished with new timber fendering
  • Romney Lock: the lock gates have been replaced
  • Sunbury New Lock: the lock gates have been replaced and the lock chamber has been refurbished

Keep up to date

Get the latest river information before you go boating. Call our Floodline on 0845 988 1188 and when prompted select option 1 followed by the number shown below:

  • 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 and SMS updates

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.

Keep up to date with the current conditions on the River Thames, subscribe to email and SMS updates through our River Thames Conditions website.

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.
  • For hire boaters: if you are advised you to stop, you must call your boatyard 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.