Issue date: 7th December 2012
The Environment Agency is expecting flood conditions on the River Thames to improve soon, and are therefore encouraging boat owners still moored on the river to check the security of their boat's moorings if possible. However the Agency has cautioned boaters not to put themselves or others at risk in doing so.
As water levels decrease there is a risk that some boats may become caught up on the river bank or mooring structures. EA urgies boat owners who are able to gain safe access their boats to check the position and condition of mooring lines and fendering.
As flood water recedes and river levels come back within the banks, the flow rates will increase in speed. Red strong stream warning boards are currently displayed throughout the river and are likely to be out for some time. EA advice to boaters remains not to navigate because the strong flows make it difficult and dangerous. In addition, boat wash can worsen the situation for properties already at risk of flooding.
Extremely cold weather over recent nights means tht some areas affected by flooding may now be experiencing frozen floodwater. Frozen flood water next to rivers is dangerous and EA urges people not to walk on it. It’s easy to lose your footing on ice, and skid toward the river without any way of stopping yourself.
Boaters, walkers, cyclists and anyone working near a river should also take extra care, watching out for ice and avoiding it wherever possible.
The River Thames is currently very high, very fast, and extremely cold, anyone falling in would immediately find themselves in extreme difficulty. If you see someone in difficulty, call the emergency services on 999 immediately.
There is more information on dealing with changing river conditions on the EA website. IWA endorses this sound advice, which is equally applicable on many other waterways that have experienced high rainfall recently.