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The PLA wants recreational users of the tidal Thames to enjoy their sport safely. To ensure safety, certain water sports activities are restricted to certain areas of the river. Please observe these restrictions and the speed limits that have been put in place on the river, as they have been put in place for your own safety and that of others.

The use of Personal Water Craft (PWC) is restricted to Fobbing Creek and West Beach, Southend.

Waterskiing is authorised at Marsh End Sands, Tewkes Creek and Holehaven Creek.

Windsurfing is only advisable on the tidal Thames to the west of Putney Bridge and in the following areas provided that they are clear of the navigable channel and approaches to commercial berths:

  • Erith Rands
  • Mucking Flats
  • Blyth Sands/All Hallows
  • Southend Pier to Canvey Island (Thorney Bay)

Please refer to the Port of London Thames Byelaws (below) for full details, but in summary:

  • Vessels are not to exceed a speed of 8 knots above Wandsworth Bridge, in all creeks linked to the tidal Thames, and off Southend-on-Sea. This limit is advisory at Coryton and Thurrock when gas tankers are berthed.
  • There is a mandatory 12 knot speed limit which applies to vessels navigating above Margaretness unless a Certificate of Compliance has been issied by the PLA for the areas between Margaretness and St Saviour's Dock and Lambeth Bridge and Wandsworth Bridge.

The guidance on this page covers the entire river, for local information please get in touch using the contact details below.


Guidance Documents

MAIB Report - Capsize of Speedboat

Personal Watercraft Code

Recreational Users' Guide

Teddington to Broadness

Broadness to Sea Reach

Vulnerable River Users Campaign

PLA Byelaws, Rules and Regulations 2012




Personal Watercraft Partnership

Southend Marine Activities Centre

Royal Yachting Association

On The Water



Estuary to Crossness
Deputy Harbour Master (Lower)
Crossness to Teddington
Darren Knight
Assistant Harbour Master Recreational
0207 743 7909
Interactive Map
PLA, London River House, Royal Pier Road, Gravesend, Kent DA12 2BG Tel. +44(0)1474 562200
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