River Safety at The Thames with Dittons Skiff and Punting Club

At present when Environment Agency Yellow/Red Boards are displayed members wanting to boat must get approval from one member of the River Safety Panel. The River Safety Panel is made up of experienced members who between them cover all current and recognised boating times. River safety at on The Thames is our priority.

Boating is not allowed for anyone if flow is at 200m3/s or above.

The water level on our high water mark on the upstream slipway wall must not exceed this mark whether on yellow or red board. If it does boating is not allowed.

The list of Safety Panel members is on the boat house doors.

Panel members base their decision on the following criteria.

Websites with updates on river conditions

Board Warnings https://www.gov.uk/guidance/river-thames-current-river-conditions

There are two sites that can be monitored for river speed at Kingston


The site that updates circa every 15 mins is below: https://environment.data.gov.uk/flood-monitoring

Weather Conditions i.e. any Storm warnings/Wind against current


Competence, Experience and Strength of the member(s) seeking approval including coxes

The safety with which boats can be launched and returned to the hard.

Other conditions to take into account

  • Please refer to our red and yellow boards notice on this page. They are also on the doors into the boat house and on the doors to the hard.
  • Must comply with the River Safety notices displayed on the boat house doors
  • Must write name of crew and time of outing on blackboard hanging on boat house door
  • Must REMOVE name from blackboard on returning from outing
  • The Panel member consulted must be called/texted again when the outing is safely concluded
  • Panel members may decide when taking all these factors into account that a less experienced person may boat but only together with two other experienced members in the same crew but may also give guidance as to the order of the crew to ensure for example than an experienced person coxes downstream. There will be no discrimination based on sex or age.
  • If members are made aware of the decision making, then they can check for themselves on the various web sites as to whether or not an outing may be possible before they ask a Panel Member

Safety and Confidence on the River

Here are pointers that will assist in gaining more confidence on the river.
If you are unsure about any aspects of safety on the river, please ask any club member.
All members should be familiar with the Code for River Safety, and pay particular attention when the Environment Agency Warning Boards (Yellow or Red) are displayed at Teddington Lock.

Identical yellow or Red warning boards will be displayed at the club for information of members. This information can also be obtained from the River Condition Environment Agency link shown below in red.

This code is mandatory to all and is displayed on the boat shed doors. For the avoidance of doubt, when the Environment Agency Red Warning Board applies, no crews may boat uncoxed, except in singles. No crews may boat in darkness and must come off the water before darkness falls.

Please be aware of what boats you can use; novices should only use the novice doubles and singles.

If you are unsure, please seek advice.



  • Get to know the different types of boats
  • Be aware of which boats you can use
  • Look after the boats & oars and report any damage on the board in the boathouse


  • Watch 200 yards ahead and behind your boat as crews may not hear or see you
  • Be aware of other people’s abilities – for example an in-experienced passenger boat, sailing boats and a Sunday morning hire boat
  • Be aware of the capability of your crew – age, strength, concentration and experience.


  • Be aware of the effects of the stream (flow rate of the river)
  • To steer in a straight line – select an object far away, above bow or stern and keep it there
  • Imagine the course as a line on the water
  • Use short pulls on the rudder when the blades are out of the water
  • Turn the boat using the stream

Responsibility of the Cox

  • Nothing should be done without an instruction or permission from the cox
  • Ensure the crew understands basic commands- Easy All, Hold it Up, Back it Down, Bow and Stroke side


  • Keep to the right
  • When skiffing upstream, keep close to the bank
  • When skiffing downstream, keep to the right of centre
  • If there are sailing boats around, keep to the bank so they can tack short of you
  • When starting and finishing an outing, always have the skiff facing upstream and maintain the clockwise circulation pattern in front of the clubhouse