Cruise control

Environment Agency

From the Environment Agency:

Speeding boats can destroy riverbanks, wildlife habitats and can be incredibly dangerous for other river users.  But now the Environment Agency has cracked down on speeders on the River Thames by checking the speed of passing crafts.


Environment Agency officers used a laser -operated speed gun which takes the speed of vessels navigating along the river.  Speed checks were undertaken at two locations on Cliveden Reach between Maidenhead and Cookham.  

Andrew Graham, Waterways Operation Manager for the Environment Agency, said:

“Cliveden Reach is one of the classic scenic stretches of the River Thames and it is renowned for its natural beauty and rich wildlife. The wash from speeding boats causes damage to the riverbank and much distress to the river’s creatures, especially nesting birds.

“Although no vessel broke the speed limit on this occasion,  it was blatantly clear our presence had an immediate deterrent effect which sends out an important message that speeding is not tolerated.”
For years there wasn’t a speed limit on the non-tidal River but there was a general rule that a boat should not exceed a brisk walking pace which is roughly 4 to 5 miles per hour. However, there is now a statutory speed limit of 8 kilometres per hour over the bed of the river.

Several boats at Cliveden Reach made excessive waves and although they were not exceeding the limit they were warned by Environment Agency officers of the effects that this has on the environment as well as the health and safety implications for other river users and themselves.

“We aim to increase our speed checks along the River Thames and hope that more and more boaters take action and navigate responsibly” Mr Graham added.