Members should be aware of the Rules of the River and will be provided with a copy of the Water Safety information on joining. Visiting crews will be offered a safety briefing to ensure the navigation rules for Henley Reach are followed.

Before going out on the river

For all coached crews, as well as all Juniors, Beginners and Visiting Crews. The decision as to whether the conditions are suitable for rowing must be taken by your coach.

For all other members – the responsibility to assess conditions rests with you.


Other factors to be assessed include:

  • Speed of stream and water level. Consult the Environment Agency advice to boaters
  • Wind strength and direction
  • Temperature of air and water (take into account wind chill effects)
  • Light levels
  • Congestion of river due to other users or river restrictions
  • Fitness of crew to carry out the proposed activity
  • Compliance of boat, blades, clothing and communication devices with RowSafe standards.
  • Should your outing include rowing below Henley Bridge, conditions should be assessed both above and below the bridge before a decision is made – this is particularly relevant with regard to wind direction and the effect on stream.


The rule is keep to the right; that is crews (and scullers) proceeding downstream from Henley Bridge to Hambleden Lock keep to the Berks (Clubs) side, and those coming upstream from Hambleden Lock toward the Bridge keep to the Bucks (Town) side. Temple Island is always passed to the right (ie. the island on stroke side).

Crews being overtaken have a duty to stay clear but must take care not to stray into the centre of the river particularly when coming upstream.

Crews should always boat facing upstream and have a duty to avoid those coming downstream.

Particular care must be taken when crossing to and from the Bucks (Town) side to gain access to or leaving club landing stages, and crews coming downstream have right of way at all times.


There are three designated turning areas:

  1. At the New Street Public Slipway
  2. Between the bottom of Temple Island and the Gate
  3. At the 3000 m marker (White Cottage boathouse)

Under no circumstances may crews turn around or below the ‘Danger’ board at Hambleden Lock.

Crews turning, particularly at Temple Island and the New Street slipway, must take care to avoid other boats already on passage, especially those on set work pieces.

There are two designated crossing points:

  1. Upper Thames Rowing Club
  2. Leander Club


Counting from the Berkshire bank crews coming downstream should use arch two and going upstream arch four. The centre arch should always be left clear for cruiser traffic. Crews leaving the Leander raft must always ensure that the river is clear for them to do so and likewise when crossing from the Bucks side to the raft.

See river diagram:



As a club affiliated to British Rowing we follow the  Rowsafe code