Safety on the Water
Landings stages, pontoons and house boats:
The river is home to houseboats, working shipyards and other sports clubs, all of whom, like us, have their own access points to the water. Learn where these are and exercise caution when approaching them.
Low tides present additional hazards with the very real risk of grounding boats, losing fins and damaging launch propellers. Notorious danger areas at low tide are the slipway area opposite the club (near the trailer), the 'beach' on the Surrey bank at the top end of Eel Pie Island and around the River Lane slipway on the Surrey bank at the top of Glovers Island.. Make sure you steer an appropriate line to avoid these danger areas.
Rowers are a hardy bunch and don't allow a bit of rain, snow or low temperatures prevent an outing. However, you still need to make a risk assessment before heading on the water, and that includes checking the forecast prior to an outing. High winds or risk of thunderstorms may require you to cancel your planned water session. Make sure you are appropriately dressed to deal with bad weather.
Waves, current and tide:
The Twickenham stretch of water is tidal. There may be strong currents in certain places or at certain times, especially around bridges and islands. The wind could affect the water, making waves, and if the wind changes direction this might affect how big the waves are. Tide tables are on display on the central bay doors and on this website under the 'river conditions' section. During periods of excess rainfall the river may experience increased flow rates which can present increased manoeuvring risks.
Trees and plants:
Overhanging branches can tangle poorly steered boats, potentially injure rowers and damage equipment.
Fisherman and other tow path users:
Shore based anglers occasionally cast their lines too far out into the river and risk ‘hooking’ rowers. Dog walkers have been known to throw objects into the water for their pets to retrieve….often straight into the path of an oncoming boat.
Other river users:
Apart from the other sports clubs that use the river: the Yacht Club, Canoe Club and the skiff rowers based at Richmond Bridge, there are often irregular river users - paddle boarders, swimmers and rowing dinghy rentals - all of whom need to be looked out for.
Objects in the water:
Logs, beer barrels, bottles and other debris can often be found in the water, especially after a high tide. The danger is that these objects sit just below the surface and are difficult to see. While most debris will bounce harmlessly off the hull of the boat some larger objects have damaged hulls or removed fins. If you see a hazardous object in the water warn other club rowers when you get the opportunity.