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Tidal Thames to River Medway

We are moving our narrow boat from the River Wey to Rochester, requiring a 12 hour trip along the tidal Thames. I am a confident and experienced boater, but the amount of open water is making my nervous - though many people must have done a similar journey. Should I just bite the bullet and get her tansported by road, or am I being a wuss? I have selected 14 July ( a neap tide) for the journey. Any comments or advice would be appreciated, especially from those who have made the journey and lived to tell the tale!

Asked by: Andrew Kennedy  | 12.31am, Thursday 7 June


WW says:

Cruising the tidal Thames to the Medway is quite an undertaking in a narrowboat, but not impossible!
Although a neap tide means less current, and the ability to punch a counter tide to a degree, it does mean that you might be less likely to make the journey in one go- in fact, it is quite unlikely that even with a neap tide, you would be able to go against the tide, possibly meaning that anchoring to await the turn of the tide.
The journey is also one that is not normallu covered by standard narrowboat insurance, so would be worth checking out.
You would also need to ensure that your boat has proper navigation lights, lifejackets for all (and worn!), ideally a liferaft (or permanently inflated dinghy), VHF radio, distress flares (two handheld red flares, two orange smokes as a minimum), a clean diesel tank (motion on the seaway can dislodge water and sediment in the tank, leading to blocked filters) and a set of spares.A good quality anchor and chain/rode is needed as well.
As well, be confident that you can maintain high speeds without overheating the engine
Last year I delivered a Dutch barge from Gdansk to London by water and have navigated the tideway in all manner of conditions (including at night,heading inbound on a sping tide!).
If you want any more specific help, then please drop me a line at mark.langley@waterwaysworld.com and I will be glad to help you as much as I can.

Mark Langley  | 10.25AM, Thursday 7 June

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