The Environment Agency says apart from a few isolated incidents, boaters respected the new river and mooring conditions at this year's Henley Festival.

14 July

The new river and mooring conditions were introduced at this year’s Henley Festival to prevent overcrowding on the River Thames.

The Environment Agency, which is the navigation authority for the waterway, said they were necessary for public safety.

During the festival, which ran from 6-10 July at Henley-on-Thames, agency enforcement officers carried out regular patrols to make sure boat owners complied with the new rules.

These conditions were also enforced at the Henley Royal Regatta, which finished on 3 July.

The River Thames waterways operations enforcement manager, Nick McKie-Smith said that generally the conditions were respected.

“We know the new conditions were not necessarily welcomed by everyone who chose to attend these events by boat, but our priority is to ensure the safety of all river users, and we are pleased that the event organisers worked with us to achieve that aim,” he said.

“We are also pleased that on the whole, the conditions were well respected, and more importantly, that both events passed without major incident,” continued McKie-Smith.

“And although there were isolated examples of poor skippering by some attendees, it is unlikely we will take any enforcement action. But we will review the evidence we gathered before making a final decision on that,” he stated.

McKie-Smith stressed that the “new and safer” mooring conditions were put in place to “reduce the risk of accident or injury”.

Regatta and festival organisers also monitored and enforced them.
1 July

Boaters attending this year’s Henley Festival are being warned of new rules for the mooring of vessels.

Henley Festival

Credit: Henley Festival/Twitter


Organisers were asked by the Environment Agency to update the regulations following concerns about safety as the event increases in popularity.

The festival is being held between 6-10 July 2016 at Henley-on-Thames.

Owners will, once again, be able to moor against the booms, which are left in place following the Henley Royal Regatta, which finishes on 3 July.

Henley Festival

Only boats that have paid a mooring fee are allowed in the enclosed festival mooring area. Credit: Henley Festival


In a joint statement, Henley Royal Regatta and the Environment Agency said the changes were necessary for navigational as well as safety reasons.

“As Henley Festival grows in popularity, so does the number of boats mooring against
the Regatta booms. Not only does this increase the risk of the booms getting
damaged, it also considerably increases the tension on them, especially during high
winds or if there is a strong current in the river,” the statement said.

“Left unchecked, this could easily see booms, or the piles to which they are attached,
working themselves loose and being carried downstream, along with any boats tied
to them. This in turn could result in boats and other property being damaged, and
boat occupants getting injured,” it stated.

Henley Festival

The booms will be reopened 10 minutes after the end of the firework display. Credit: Henley Festival


Only boats which have paid a mooring fee are allowed in the enclosed festival mooring area this year.

They have to be in their allocated position by 8pm, when the booms will be closed for safety reasons. These will be reopened 10 minutes after the end of the firework show.

Boats are also bared from double mooring.

“For health and safety reasons, Henley Festival does not allow boats to double
moor to paid for moorings under any circumstances, whether permitted by the
boat owner or not,” said the festival on its website.

“We reserve the right to enforce this rule on site, as necessary. We also remind you that adjacent boats must have sufficient space to manoeuvre in and out of their allotted moorings.”

Boat users who have not purchased a mooring, must continue to travel up and
down the river on the navigation channel.

“Dropping anchor is not permitted and the Environment Agency will move you on,” warn festival organisers.

Enforcement officers with the Environment Agency will be carrying out regular patrols during the Henley Festival to make sure boats owners comply with the rules.

The Environment Agency’s Harbourmaster for the River Thames, Andrew Graham, said: “I know from personal experience how wonderful it is to enjoy these events from a
vantage point on the river itself, so I’m really not surprised that more and more
people are coming to town by boat.”

He continued: “But things got a little bit out of hand last year, and we really don’t want anybody’s trip to be ruined due to a preventable accident. That’s what these moorings
conditions are all about.”

“If people respect them and they work well this year, then Henley Royal Regatta will be happy for boaters to moor against their booms again next year, and so will we. If not, we both might have to look at alternative arrangements,” added the harbourmaster.

More information is available from the festival website.

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