We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Locks to the River Thames

The tidal locks to the Thames are Thames Lock Brentford, Limehouse, Bow and West India Dock Entrance. Whether you're joining the Trust's waterways or leaving for the Thames, there's important things you need to know.

View of Limehouse Basin on Limehouse Cut with boats and flats in the foreground and skyscrapers in the background Limehouse Basin, Limehouse Cut

Important information

The tidal locks at Thames Lock Brentford, Limehouse, Bow and West India Dock Entrance can only be used when Canal & River Trust staff or volunteers are in attendance. The use of tidal locks is dependent on the tide.

When booking a lock, you may be invited to leave a message on an answering machine. Please ensure that you explain:

  • The date and time of your call
  • Your name and telephone number
  • Your boat’s name and index number
  • The lock you’re intending to book
  • The date and time you’d like to book
  • Your direction of travel i.e. up from the Thames, down to the Thames.

Lock closures can be viewed by visiting the stoppage pages of our website. Please be aware that all locks are closed from 24 December to 2 January inclusive. If you wish to use a lock within this period, please book before 18 December.

Boating on the Thames

Boating on the tidal Thames presents a unique set of challenges, but for the experienced it can be a most rewarding experience. Safe passage requires a sound knowledge of the effects of the tidal stream, including the resultant currents and variable depths which are not found on the (non-tidal) canal system. The passage between Teddington and Limehouse is only recommended for the experienced boater, as waves over a metre tall and tidal flows in excess of four knots can be encountered.

The General Directions of the Port of London (PLA) require a number of vessels, and those of 13.7m or more in length overall,  to have an operational VHF radio on board.

The PLA has information and a very useful guidance document available at: http://www.boatingonthethames.co.uk/Narrow-Boating

Teddington Lock can be contacted on 020 8940 8723, Richmond Lock on 020 8940 0634, Port of London Authority on 01474 562 200.

Boating on the waterways of the Canal & River Trust

Boats cannot enter Canal & River Trust’s waterways without a licence. If you do not have a licence, then you must contact us on 0303 040 4040 or buy your licence online.

You should also have proof of a valid Boat Safety Certificate and current insurance cover.

Maximum craft dimensions for the Canal & River Trust in London are: length 21.95m (72’), beam 3.96m (13’), air draft 2.13m (7’).

In an emergency, you can call us on 0800 47 999 47.

Thames Lock Brentford

We have produced a timetable that sets out availability of the lock.

To book the lock, call 0303 040 4040 or email enquiries.london@canalrivertrust.org.uk.

Limehouse Lock

Limehouse Lock is not available for approximately two hours either side of Low Water at London Bridge.

In the summer (1 April to 30 September), the lock is open for use between 08:00 to 18:00. It is also possible to use the lock from 05:00 and to 22:00 if it is booked 24 hours in advance.

In the winter (1 October to 31 March), the lock is open for use between 08:00 to 16:00. It is also possible to use the lock from 05:00 and to 22:00 if it is booked 24 hours in advance.

To book the lock, call 020 7308 9930.

Bow Lock

Bow Lock must be booked 24 hours in advance. Availability is restricted to two hours either side of High Water at London Bridge between 05:00 and 22:00.

To book the lock, call West India Marine Control on 07710175280.

West India Dock Entrance

West India Lock must be booked in advance. Availability is restricted to one hour either side of High Water at London Bridge (minus approximately 20 minutes) between 07:00 to 16:30. Only where you have a confirmed berth or booked visitor mooring is there no charge. In addition, entry to West India Dock requires full salvage cover / wreck removal insurance.

To book the lock, call West India Marine Control on 07710175280.

Tide times

Tide times are available from the PLA website: https://pla.co.uk/Safety/Tide-Tables

 

This information is available in a printable version here.

Last date edited: 9 November 2016