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Regulations and Guidance

Rules, guidelines and best practice for navigation on the tidal River Thames.

Updated as of September 2023
The General Directions for Navigation in the Port of London are rules and regulations on the tidal Thames.
October 2023
Rules and regulations concerning compulsory pilotage for certain vessels.
Rules and regulations covering the licensing of certain commercial vessels.
Byelaws 1991 (as amended)
Rules and regulations covering the transport of dangerous substances in bulk.
Updated Regularly
An A-Z listing of PLA services and navigation documentation for river users.

Notices and Bulletins

Essential, up to date information and advice to those supporting navigation and commercial shipping in the Port of London.

The latest notifications for agents, berth and ship operators.

Special announcements about safety practices on the river.

The latest SMS Reports containing reviews, incident statistics and trends.

Sign up to receive our Notices to Mariners and other lists by email.

Codes of Practice

These codes provide general guidance and advice for safe marine operations and recreation on the tidal River Thames.
The Code of Practice for the Management and Operation of Commercial Vessels on the Thames establishes a common standard for the safe operation of commercial inland waterway vessels.
Code of Practice for Craft Towage Operations on the Thames aims to provide guidance and advice on craft towage on the tidal Thames and illustrate examples of good practice.
Code of Practice for the Safe Mooring of Vessels on the Thames 2010 describes established good practice for the safe and efficient mooring and unmooring of vessels on the Thames.
Amended July 2023
Code of Practice for Ship Towage Operations on the Thames describes safe working practices for ship towage operations and guidelines for the utilisation of ship towage tugs.
The PLA, British Rowing, British Canoeing and a number of Thames watersport clubs and centres, has produced a new combined rowing and paddling code.
The Port of London Authority, in partnership with its key stakeholders, has developed a Code of Conduct for Personal Watercraft Users in the Thames Estuary.

River User Guidance

These guidance documents from the Port of London Authority promote safe working and recreation practices on the tidal Thames
Recreational Users Guide
Tidal Thames Recreational Users Guide
Recreational Users Guide
Tidal Thames Recreational Users Guide
Living on the tidal Thames
Our guide to living on the river.

The Mariners' Guide to Bridges on the Tidal Thames is available for purchase, the book provides an overview of navigating London's bridges, and highlights the safety issues associated with this challenging environment.
Guidance to Berth Operators on the Thames 2012 (as amended) highlights the obligations placed upon berth operators by national legislation, the Port Marine Safety Code and Codes of Practice.
Houseboat Mooring Guidance contains advice and best practice for the mooring of houseboats on the tidal Thames, which has been reviewed and commented on by the PLA Wash Forum.