London Kayakathon Event Information

Event overview

This year we hope to build on previous year’s events and get 100 experienced kayakers on the river Thames, on 7th May 2017, to paddle 26.2 miles. This year will once again be run as a group paddle and will be supported by support boats and experienced leaders. The London Kayakathon is not a race and the emphasis is on completing the distance as a group and paddling past some amazing sights along the way.  This year we expect to fill all of the available places and so we are setting a suggested fund raising target of £100 to take part.  Raising money for a charity of your choice is the core principle of the London Kayakathon and we hope to exceed the £30,000 total that we raised in previous years.

Event route

We will start at Shadwell Basin and paddle up river with the flood tide to Chiswick Bridge (13.1miles).  We will then paddle back to Shadwell with the ebb tide.  You will paddle right trough the city centre with great views of the Houses of Parliament, London Eye, Tower of London, Tower Bridge and much more.  The City centre from Tower Bridge to Westminster Bridge is a very busy area and so we will paddle together as a group guided by safety boats.


Please fill in the online registration document available on the website.  You must read the event rules and the PLA regulations before you register, which too can be found on the website.  You will also need to print off and fill out a participant consent form and bring it with you to the registration at Shadwell Basin.

Registration fee

The £50 registration fee (£90 for a tandem),  is to cover the costs of the support boats, Notice to Mariners, use of Shadwell Outdoor Centre and administration.  To pay: please click on the payments tab situated on the website under the registration tab.

Experience required

For this years event we are asking for experienced paddlers that have the appropriate skills and experience to paddle on the river as part of a group.  If you have any concerns about your ability please feel free to contact us. 

Times and Locations:

Registration                        07:30 to 08:45                     Upstairs in Shadwell

Briefing                                08:45                                     In front of the Centre

Launching                           09:15 to 09:30                     Beach next to Centre

Start                                      09:45                                     Tower Bridge

Finish                                    16:00                                     Tower Bridge

Debrief  + soup                   17:00 – 19:00                      In front of the Centre


Only suitable sea kayaks that are capable of maintaining 3kn pace over the period of the event shall be allowed to enter.  The minimum length of kayak is 15ft.  Sea kayaks require deck lines and sealed bulkheads front and rear.  It is possible to reserve a kayak for hire when you register online. You should wear suitable clothing for the prevailing conditions on the day.  We recommend the use of drinking bladders over water bottles as this allows kayakers to drink while maintaining speed.


The main purpose of the event is to raise money for charity.  You can easily create your own donation site with  You are welcome to raise money for a charity of your choice or for Shadwell Basin.  You can link to the London Kayakathon on your Virgin fund raising page.  Between all of us we hope to raise over £30,000 for different charities.  You can download a form, to take into work or show friends, off the website.


If you are travelling from outside London you are welcome to stay on the floor at the Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre on the Saturday night.  Please let us know in advance if you require this.  You will need to bring a sleeping mat and bag.  There are showers in the building.  There is no charge for this however a £10 donation to Shadwell Basin Outdoor Centre would be very welcome.  There is secure parking organised across the road for overnight and during the day.

Car parking :

There is parking opposite the centre for cars to park during the day on Sunday and Saturday night.

Third party Insurance:

All participants are required to have third party liability insurance.  If you are a BCU member then your annual membership will cover this.  If you are not a BCU member then you will need to pay £4 to be covered by the BCU for the day.  This can be paid at registration on the day.


We will be paddling through the city (Tower to Westminster Bridge) as a large group.  We ask that you do not stop to take photographs for this section as this will disrupt the flow of the group.  We will however have professional photographer on the support boat to take photographs which will be available on the website to download after the event.

What to bring:

  • Signed participant consent form
  • Paddling equipment
  • Drinking bladder
  • Lunch
  • Energy snacks
  • Any safety equipment
  • Camera
  • Towel
  • This document!