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Thames Skills & Knowledge course (TSK1)

mix - Up to 12 people


The Thames Skills & Knowledge (TSK) 1 course aims to provide a good knowledge of the main risks for people navigating the Thames in unpowered craft. It has been developed with advice and help from the Port of London Authority (PLA). All content has been agreed with the Assistant Harbourmaster responsible for sport and recreation.

Although mainly aimed at paddleboarders, this training also relevant to canoeists and one canoe club has been recommending it to members. Participation on this course is required by the PLA for anyone wanting to paddleboard downstream of Putney Bridge and above Chelsea Bridge. It is aimed at people who have some experience of SUP / canoeing on the Tideway but who want to expand their knowledge and paddle alone / in unguided groups (above Putney) or in small unguided groups (Putney – Chelsea Bridge).

What to bring

No specialist clothing is required. In warm weather, ordinary gym gear will be fine (shorts/leggings/T-shirt/sweatshirt), with old sandals or trainers you don't mind getting wet. Or you can get cheap neoprene wet shoes from most large supermarkets. No bare feet, footwear is required at all our SUP locations.

In colder weather (November - March), a wetsuit would be advisory. We have wetsuits available if requested in advance. Always bring a towel and a change of clothes just in case you take a little dip during the SUP lesson.


The 4-hour course includes detailed information about tides and how they affect Thames users. Also wind effects and navigation rules for paddleboarders and other river users are covered. Risks, such as being pinned by strong currents against moorings and pontoons and collision with other craft are discussed, as are strategies for avoidance. The course is organised into two parts. 

Part A covers theory and is classroom based using slides to illustrate hazards, tide tables and internet resources available. 

Part B is carried out on water and aims to illustrate the risks discussed in Part A on the river. Participants are also expected to demonstrate a level of personal competence and confidence on the river and be able to paddle against the tide, carry out a self rescue, cross the river safely and turn effectively.


Rigid: Guaranteed full refund if cancelling 5 days prior.

You will be entitled to a full refund under the following circumstances:

  • If your booking is under £200 and you cancelled at least a full 72h prior to the activity start time.
  • If your booking is over £200 and you cancelled at least a full 5 days prior to the activity start time.
  • If the centre cancels the activity at any time.

If the conditions on the day aren’t ideal but the activity still takes place, you will not be eligible for a refund.

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£75 for adults
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