London Kayakathon Rules and Regulations

The following rules are for the safety of participants and other water users.  Navigating a kayak on the Tidal Thames or Thames Tideway, as it is also known, requires knowledge of the river and how it operates.

 Regulations that affect you:

  • A vessel of less than 20m in length or a sailing vessel shall not impede the passage of a vessel, which can safely navigate only within a narrow channel of fairway.
  • A vessel shall not cross a narrow channel or fairway if such a crossing impedes the passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within such channel or fairway
  • Each participant must attend the comprehensive safety briefing on the morning before the event.
  • Each participant must wear the reflective high visibility bib supplied.
  • All competitors must wear an Integral foam Buoyancy aid offering the wearer a minimum 50 Newton of inherent buoyancy and must conform to one of the following European standards: EN 393 or EN 395 or ISO12402-5 or ISO12402-6
  • Each kayak must display their race number on the bow of the kayak so that it is visible from above and on the back of the bib.
  • Keep a good look out in front and behind at all times – large passenger vessels can appear from behind unexpectedly especially where the line of sight is restricted by bridges and by bends in the river.
  • Every boat must be covered by public liability insurance up to £2 million for any one claim and for any loss, injury or damage to property or persons.  This will be covered by your BCU membership.  If you do not have BCU membership you will need to pay a fee of £4 to be covered.
  • Spray decks must be worn at all times
  • All participants are to have the appropriate skills and experience to kayak on the Thames.
  • Competitors must be able to swim 100 metres in kayaking equipment.
  • Competitors must sign to say that they are aware of the inherent dangers of kayaking on the river and understand their responsibilities.
  • The Group is to remain together within the safety vessels at the front and rear of the group.
  • Kayakers should be able to maintain a steady three-knot pace and stay as a tightly formed group.
  • A notice to mariners will be broadcast to inform other vessels but the group may still need to alter course and speed to avoid other vessels.
  • Keep a constant look out for signals from the marshals.

It must be remembered that ultimately the following applies:-

Anyone navigating a kayak or canoe on the Tidal Thames is a Vessel Master.

A master who navigates his vessel on the Thames-

  • Without due care and attention; or
  • In a manner liable to injure or endanger persons, other vessels, the banks of the Thames (whether above or below mean high water level) or any structure or installation in or beside the Thames:

Shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum and on conviction on indictment to a fine of £5000