The tidal locks to the Thames are Thames Lock Brentford, Limehouse, Bow and West India Dock Entrance. Whether you're joining our waterways or leaving for the Thames, there's important things you need to know.
The tidal locks at Thames Lock Brentford, Limehouse, Bow and West India Dock Entrance can only be used when our staff or volunteers are on site. The use of tidal locks depends on the tide.
When booking a lock, you may be invited to leave a message on an answering machine. Please ensure you explain:
Lock closures can be viewed by visiting the stoppage pages of our website.
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 you can encounter waves over a metre tall and tidal flows in excess of four knots.
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
Boats cannot enter our 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 our London network 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.
We have produced a 2018 timetable that sets out availability of the lock.
To book the lock, call 0303 040 4040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Any bookings must be made with us at least 48 hours in advance. Please note: our team works 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.
Limehouse Lock is not available for around 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 8.00am to 6.00pm. It is also possible to use the lock from 5.00am and to 10.00pm if it is booked 24 hours in advance.
In the winter (1 October to 31 March), the lock is open for use between 8.00am to 4.00pm. It is also possible to use the lock from 5.00am and to 10.00pm if it is booked 24 hours in advance.
To book the lock, call 020 7308 9930.
Bow Lock must be booked 24 hours in advance. Availability is restricted to two hours either side of high water at London Bridge between 5.00am and 10.00pm.
To book the lock, call 0303 040 4040 or email email@example.com.
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 7.00am to 4.30pm. 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 are available from the PLA website: https://pla.co.uk/Safety/Tide-Tables
Last date edited: 2 January 2018