Floating lifelines installed around Kingston Bridge to improve river safety

Bridge buttress lifelines around Kingston Bridge
Bridge buttress lifelines around Kingston Bridge

Kingston Council has installed lifelines under Kingston Bridge to help anyone who gets in trouble in the water, working with Teddington RNLI Lifeboat Station.

Called Bridge Buttress Lifelines, the simple floating ropes designed with added floatation aids were the brainchild of Kingston Council’s Resilience Planning Manager Chris Begley and the RNLI’s Tim James, working with the borough’s River Safety Forum. 

Making the borough even safer for everyone who lives, works and visits is a top priority for Kingston Council. The lifelines have been placed around the base of the arches of Kingston Road and Rail Bridges, providing anyone who accidentally ends up in the water with something to grab hold of. 

Following a number of tragic deaths over the years, the council and the River Safety Forum wanted to take action to find a way to help anyone in trouble in the water. As the bridge is listed, there are restrictions on what can be attached to it. They came up with the idea of floating lines, which encircle each buttress in a continuous loop, and do not require a lengthy planning permission process. 

Kingston Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy, Regulatory Services and River Safety Councillor Roger Hayes said: 

“This World Drowning Prevention Day, as we head into the height of summer, it’s vital we do all we can to help people understand how to enjoy spending time around the river safely. These lifesaving floating lines around the base of Kingston’s Bridges could provide a vital lifeline to anyone who gets in trouble in the water. 

“The ropes are part of a wider initiative by Kingston Council and the borough’s River Safety Forum to improve river safety and raise awareness of what to do if someone gets into trouble in the water.”

As well as the buttress lifelines around the bridges, 12 new throw bag boards are being installed along the banks of the River Thames in the borough. The boards give clear instructions on how to help someone who may be in difficulty in the river using the throw lines that sit alongside them. The council and the RNLI have been delivering throw line training to employees of local businesses/ since 2012, to ensure staff know how to use the throw lines. 

Kingston is also working with Richmond and Hounslow councils on a campaign to raise awareness of river safety among young people, supported by the RNLI.

Published: 25th July 2023