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Is there a speed limit on the Thames?

Yes, mandatory Thames speed limits apply in different areas.

  • a speed limit of 12 knots applies between Margaretness ((just down river of City Airport!)and Wandsworth Bridge.
  • an 8 knot speed limit also applies above Wandsworth Bridge; in all creeks linked to the tidal Thames; and off Southend (in the inshore area).

For more info see Thames Byelaw 16.2.

We also advise people navigating on the tidal Thames:

  • you must ensure you proceed at a safe speed at all times. You must also take the prevailing wind and tidal conditions, the size and type of your vessel, your location in the river, and the safety of others into account.
  • Remember - your wash is your responsibility! Even at 8 knots, many vessels can create an unacceptable amount of wash and you may need to reduce your speed further in the vicinity of piers, smaller craft, or riverworks.

When there are local speed restrictions, London VTS will broadcast this information during regular bulletins on VHF Channel 14. You should maintain a good lookout and be mindful of your wash when passing these activities.

For commercial operators, a High Speed Craft Zone exists in two areas  between Margaretness and Wandsworth Bridge. Only authorised vessels that comply with the Thames Byelaws requirements and which have been issued with a Certificate of Compliance are allowed to exceed the speed limit. Vessels currently authorised, include; passenger vessels, RIBs and other craft operate at speed.

Are there any rules on the scattering of ashes into the tidal Thames?

The Port of London Authority does not have any particular rules on the scattering of ashes into the tidal Thames but we do request that you do not scatter them from bridges. This is because the tidal Thames is a busy commercial river and there is a strong possibility of scattering your loved ones ashes onto a passing boat.

Our advice is to find a suitable and safe location of your choosing, ideally this location is not busy and we would suggest a quiet time of the day when you carry out the scattering.

Please ensure that you retain the container.

The Environment Agency has produced some clear guidance on this subject; please click here for further information.