Riverside safety

How we assess and maintain safety

Open water access assessment

A river safety audit was completed in 2011 resulting in a number of recommendations to update and improve safety. Organisations involved in the planning stage of these improvements include the Council, London Fire Brigade, the police, the RNLI, RoSPA, Kingston First and Quadron Services Ltd.


An open water access assessment was undertaken in 2012 to inform this plan. The purpose of the access assessment is to:

  • ensure that potential safety problems are properly understood
  • check whether existing control measures are adequate
  • reduce risk to an acceptable level or identify whether more needs to be done
  • prioritise unacceptable risks identified in this way for further action

The assessment is arranged around the following headings:

  • Misjudgement, ignorance or disregard
  • Unlimited access to hazard
  • Supervision
  • Ability to save oneself or be rescued

Rescue equipment

Rescue equipment is located along the riverside for public use. RoSPA have advised that the existing level of provision is adequate. Each life buoy has a set of clear instructions of how to use the equipment, who to call and the location point.



There are a number of accessible defibrillators situated in Kingston town centre, including at the Guildhall, the Rose Theatre, Kingston Police Station, the Bentalls Centre and the Eden Walk car park. Two further possible defibrillator sites have been identified for Kingston train station and on Clarence Street outside Marks and Spencer.



Monitoring and inspections

Rescue equipment is checked daily and replaced as necessary as part of the Quadron grounds maintenance contract. All advisory signage must be maintained to a sufficient standard so that the public are able to clearly view them. Advisory signage is included within regular inspections of the site.

Incident reporting

Incidents along the river have historically been difficult to record. This is being addressed through training organised by Kingston First and the registration of Kingston on the Water Incident Database (WAID). Any incidents reported will be used to inform future decisions regarding river safety.


Water front businesses

There a number of water front businesses along the river attracting a lot of people, especially during the summer months and on bright days in the winter. Businesses that are part of Pubwatch have undertaken annual water safety training organised by Kingston First. The following businesses have basic water safety equipment such as throw lines - John Lewis, McCluskys, Browns, Slug and Lettuce, Woody’s, Bishop Out of Residence, Kingston Mill, Riverside Vegetaria, The Ram and La Tasca.


Nighttime safety

The riverside attracts a range of people at night, especially young people. This plan has been given to the street pastors who work in the town centre providing help and support to those in need, particularly young people.


The plan is also circulated to the Kingston University Students' Union.


London Home and Water Safety Council

We are a member of the London Home and Safety Water Council. The aim of the council is to reduce the number of accidents in the Greater London area by educating the public in home and water safety.

Airwave Thames One

There are a number of CCTV cameras along the river which help the police and/or fire brigade respond to incidents. Where necessary a lifeboat can be deployed from Teddington in quick response.

Our CCTV control centre communicates with the police and coastguard using Airwave Thames One, a radio communication system owned by the RLNI. In normal circumstances the coastguard does not operate beyond Teddington Lock and therefore cannot respond to every incident within Kingston waters.

Open water swimming

From time to time there are organised open water swimming events that pass through Kingston. Recently one such event caused some participants to become ill. The following information provides advice and guidance on how to reduce the risk of illness when swimming in open water:

Swim healthy - how to reduce the risk of illness when open water swimming (Public Health England)

River sections

The river has various uses and attractions along its length, each requiring a different set of circumstances. For this reason the riverside has been divided into six key sections with sub-sections. The following pages describe and outline each of these sections and their requirements. 

Last Modified: 17/10/2020 23:31:55