River Thames: current river conditions

The current conditions affecting boaters on the River Thames and what the warnings mean.

Before you take your boat out on the River Thames, you should find out the current river conditions and make sure you understand what they mean. You should also check if there are any closures or restrictions in your area.

Find out current river conditions: updated 2324 January 2023

You can also talk to lock staff to get the latest river conditions and strong stream warnings.

Lechlade to Oxford

Reach Current conditions
Upstream of St John’s Lock Caution strong stream decreasing
St John’s Lock to Buscot Lock Caution strong stream
Buscot Lock to Grafton Lock Caution strong stream
Grafton Lock to Radcot Lock Caution strong stream
Radcot Lock to Rushey Lock Caution strong stream
Rushey Lock to Shifford Lock Caution strong stream
Shifford Lock to Northmoor Lock Caution strong stream
Northmoor Lock to Pinkhill Lock Caution strong stream
Pinkhill Lock to Eynsham Lock Caution strong stream
Eynsham Lock to King’s Lock Caution strong stream
King’s Lock to Godstow Lock Caution strong stream
Godstow Lock to Osney Lock Caution strong stream
Osney Lock to Iffley Lock Caution strong stream

Oxford to Henley

Reach Current conditions
Iffley Lock to Sandford Lock Caution strong stream
Sandford Lock to Abingdon Lock Caution strong stream
Abingdon Lock to Culham Lock Caution strong stream
Culham Lock to Clifton Lock Caution strong stream
Clifton Lock to Day’s Lock Caution strong stream
Day’s Lock to Benson Lock Caution strong stream
Benson Lock to Cleeve Lock Caution strong stream
Cleeve Lock to Goring Lock Caution strong stream
Goring Lock to Whitchurch Lock Caution strong stream
Whitchurch Lock to Mapledurham Lock Caution strong stream
Mapledurham Lock to Caversham Lock Caution strong stream
Upstream of Blake’s Lock Caution strong stream
Caversham Lock to Sonning Lock Caution strong stream
Sonning Lock to Shiplake Lock Caution strong stream
Shiplake Lock to Marsh Lock Caution strong stream
Marsh Lock to Hambleden Lock Caution strong stream

Henley to Teddington

Reach Current conditions
Hambleden Lock to Hurley Lock Caution strong stream
Hurley Lock to Temple Lock Caution strong stream
Temple Lock to Marlow Lock Caution strong stream
Marlow Lock to Cookham Lock Caution strong stream
Cookham Lock to Boulters Lock Caution strong stream
Boulters Lock to Bray Lock Caution strong stream
Bray Lock to Boveney Lock Caution strong stream
Boveney Lock to Romney Lock Caution strong stream
Romney Lock to Old Windsor Lock Caution strong stream
Old Windsor Lock to Bell Weir Lock Caution strong stream
Bell Weir Lock to Penton Hook Lock Caution strong stream
Penton Hook Lock to Chertsey Lock Caution strong stream
Chertsey Lock to Shepperton Lock Caution strong stream
Shepperton Lock to Sunbury Lock Caution strong stream
Sunbury Lock to Molesey Lock Caution strong stream
Molesey Lock to Teddington Lock Caution strong stream decreasing

Call to hear current river conditions

Alternatively, to get the latest river information before you go boating:

  • call the Environment Agency Floodline on 0345 988 1188
  • select option 1 for river information for boaters
  • when prompted, enter one of the quick dial numbers for the area of the river you want to hear about

Floodline quick dial codes

Quick dial codes Area Description
415000 Upstream of St John’s Lock to Radcot Lock St John’s to Radcot locks, including Buscot and Grafton locks
415001 Rushey to Godstow Lock Rushey to Godstow locks, including Shifford, Northmoor, Pinkhill, Eynsham and Kings locks
415002 Osney to Iffley Lock Osney to Iffley locks only
415003 Sandford to Clifton Lock Sandford to Clifton locks, including Abingdon and Culham locks
415004 Days to Mapledurham Lock Days to Mapledurham locks, including Benson, Cleeve, Goring and Whitchurch locks
415005 Caversham to Shiplake Lock Caversham to Shiplake locks, including Sonning Lock
415006 Marsh to Boveney Lock Marsh to Boveney locks, including Hambleden, Hurley, Temple, Marlow, Cookham, Boulters and Bray locks
415007 Romney to Bell Weir Lock Romney to Bell Weir locks, including Old Windsor Lock
415008 Penton Hook to Chertsey Lock Penton Hook to Chertsey locks only
415009 Shepperton to Teddington Lock Shepperton to Teddington locks, including Sunbury and Molesey locks
415010 River Kennet upstream of Blakes Lock River Kennet for upstream of Blakes Lock and down to the confluence with the River Thames

Find out about call charges.

What the warnings mean

Any river activity poses a greater risk when there are strong currents, high river levels or cold weather conditions. River flows can increase even during the summer months. Never assume that sunny weather means the conditions are not hazardous.

The Environment Agency may display warning boards at locks to inform river users of the conditions. Read the explanations of what these mean for you. Do not take risks and never underestimate the power of the river.

Strong stream warning

A red sign with white text reading 'Caution: Strong stream'.

Strong stream warning board

When these red boards are displayed on lock gates, the Environment Agency advises users of all boats not to navigate. The strong flows make it difficult and dangerous.

People in hire boats arriving at a lock where these boards are displayed should stop immediately. Contact your hire boat operator to ask for instructions.

Stream increasing warning

A yellow sign with black text reading 'Caution: Stream increasing'.

Stream increasing warning board

When these yellow boards are displayed on lock gates, the Environment Agency advises:

  • users of all unpowered boats not to navigate
  • users of powered boats to find a safe mooring

River flows are likely to strengthen, and strong stream boards could be displayed very soon and without further warning.

Stream decreasing warning

A yellow sign with black text reading 'Caution: Stream decreasing'.

Stream decreasing warning board

When these yellow boards are displayed on lock gates, the Environment Agency advises:

  • users of all unpowered boats not to navigate
  • users of powered boats to navigate with caution

Using navigation marks

When travelling upstream, keep red navigation buoys to your left and green navigation buoys to your right.

When travelling downstream, keep red buoys to your right and green buoys to your left.

You may pass single yellow marker buoys on either side.

In all cases, keep well clear of navigation buoys. Be aware of possible shoals on the inside of river bends.

Dealing with changing river conditions

If you find yourself in conditions where the Environment Agency advises you to stop navigating, please take the advice and stop. Even the most experienced boater can be caught out, so think about those who could be put in danger if they have to help you.

You may find the following measures helpful. Not all conditions will be serious enough to need all the suggested measures.

Moor your boat in a safe place, preferably in a marina or at a recognised mooring. Limited space may be available at some locks. Moor against high banks if you can.

Ensure your mooring lines are fastened to secure fixings such as bollards, rings or even trees. Put out extra lines for more security and allow enough slack for a further rise in river levels. Do not rely on your own mooring pins or stakes, as they might not hold.

If possible, put extra fendering (such as scaffold poles or strong timber posts) between your boat and the bank side. This may prevent your boat drifting onto the river bank and becoming caught up when levels drop.

Make sure you have a safe exit ashore from your boat. If not, consider returning home or finding alternative accommodation until conditions improve.

If you are not able to vacate your boat safely and are running low on essential supplies or have other safety concerns, treat this as an emergency. Dial 999 to ask for evacuation.

Those in hire boats should stop immediately if you are advised to stop navigating. Contact your hire boat operator and follow their instructions.

Please remember your life is more important than your boat.

The Environment Agency does not provide emergency services. We are not able to carry out search and rescue, or provide supplies to stranded boats.

Contact the Environment Agency

General enquiries

National Customer Contact Centre
PO Box 544
S60 1BY


Telephone 03708 506 506

Telephone from outside the UK (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm GMT) +44 (0) 114 282 5312

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

The impact of COVID-19 means you may experience some delays in responses.

Environment incident hotline

Telephone (24 hour service) 0800 80 70 60


Telephone (24 hour service) 0345 988 1188

Type talk (for the hard of hearing) 0345 602 6340

Published 12 February 2020
Last updated 2324 January 2023 + show all updates
  1. River Thames: current conditions updated for Tuesday 24 January 2023. Two changes; St John's reach and Teddington reach Caution Stream Decreasing.

  2. River Thames current conditions updated for Monday 23 January 2023. Upstream of Blake's Lock now Caution strong stream

  3. River Thames current conditions updated for Sunday 22 January 2023. Blakes Lock now Caution stream decreasing.

  4. River Thames current conditions updated for Friday 20 January 2023. No stream warning changes.

  5. River Thames current conditions updated for Friday 20 January 2023. No changes.

  6. River Thames current conditions updated for Thursday 19 January 2023. No changes.

  7. River Thames current conditions updated for Wednesday 18 January 2023. No changes.

  8. River Thames current river conditions updated for Tuesday 17 January 2023.

  9. Updated for 16 January 2022

  10. River Thames current river conditions updated for Sunday 15 January 2023

  11. River Thames current river conditions updated for Saturday 14 January 2023

  12. River Thames: current river conditions updated for Friday 13 January 2023

  13. River Thames current river conditions updated for Thursday 12 January 2023.

  14. Added a section on using navigation marks.

  15. Added contact details for the Environment Agency.

  16. First published.