Kayak club leaders’ training day on tidal Thames – 27th February 2016

by Ian Tokelove
Kayaking on the River Thames. Image credit: PLA


Kayaking on the tidal Thames. Image credit: PLA

If your club needs advice and guidance on safely kayaking and navigating the tidal Thames an event is being planned to improve the knowledge base of kayak club leaders who take groups on the Tideway, or clubs planning to do so and requiring information.

The event is split into two sections with on and off the water training. The on the water section is a training session that has limited capacity and please note this is not a ‘come & try’ or recreational paddle. The land based training session is open to all.

This free event is being run by the London Kayak Company and is supported by The Port of London Authority, British Canoeing, Thames Clippers, The Royal Navy and Kayaking London and takes place on Saturday 27th February 2016.

On water training – kayaking the tidal Thames

Starting from the Cremorne Riverside Centre at Chelsea, join kayak guides on a trip from Chelsea to Tower Bridge and return. On the water looking at route choice, factors effecting safe passage, pinch points, group positing on the river and associated hazards you will need to know about when leading groups safely on the tideway. All equipment boats/ paddles etc are supplied, this is day-long event and at Tower Bridge we will be disembarking to join the land based training happening at HMS President before returning to Chelsea by kayak.

The water training is only open to British Canoeing affiliate clubs. Paddlers wishing to take park must be competent paddlers whom are leading groups in their clubs or planning to do so. All participants must be current members of British Canoeing for insurance purposes. Post event participants should be able to take the information from the day back into their own clubs to improve knowledge and safety when planning to use the Tidal Thames. If you wish to apply for a space on the day please email below for further information. Max two spaces per club, there is no cost to this event.

  • 8.45 Arrive at Chelsea
  • 9.00 Briefing
  • 9.15 On water training, paddle to Tower Bridge
  • 11.15 Arrive HMS President
  • 11.45 Meet the Harbour Master
  • 12.00 Questions and answers
  • 13.00 View the Clipper
  • 14.30 Depart HMS President for Chelsea
  • 16.30 Arrive Chelsea
  • 17.00 Event closes

For more information please email the below advising the name club, your role in the club, applicants, their British Canoeing membership numbers, and contact details (please could you also include any Tidal Thames paddling experience if applicable) londonkayakcompany@gmail.com

Land based training

This will take place at HMS President located east of Tower Bridge. This event is open to all, paddlers, club members and those interested in the Thames, this is a classroom-based event with added bonus of viewing a Thames Clipper. A presentation will be given by the Port of London Harbour Master with a question and answer session to follow.

The presentation will cover who the PLA and the Harbour Masters are, their roles and responsibilities and why it’s important to keep up to date with the changes on the river. It will also cover what’s coming up in the next few years, such as the Thames Tideway Tunnel, other major projects and how these will impact on paddling. We will explain how unique the Thames is and how the variety of traffic makes it even more important to understand how the river works.

Post presentation there is a chance to view one of the Thames Clippers high-speed vessels that will be moored at President for the event. Chat to the Captain, view the bridge and the controls of the vessel whilst also getting the chance to see what the view is like from the bridge, This may be insightful to the paddling community as how visible those in kayaks are whilst on the tideway.

  • 11.30 Arrive at HMS President
  • 11.45 Met the Harbour Master
  • 12.30 Question and answers
  • 13.00 View the Clipper
  • 14.30 Event ends

The event at HMS President is open to all but has a maximum capacity of 60.

Location of HMS President below, please note there is no parking on site. You are best to travel via public transport to this event

If you are invested in attending the land based training please email londonkayakcompany@gmail.com, there is no charge for this event.

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