ECSAC Joins the BSAC Thames Boat Run - 14th October 2023

The Diving Club is more than just Diving, it’s 63 years of experience and acquiring many assets such as our lovely boats.


At the beginning the diving season some 14 years ago we decided to take our boats to the Menai Strait just to have a day out and to raise money for the RNLI. Over the subsequent years this event was opened to others and attracted interest from as far away as Cornwall and with over 40 boats became quickly oversubscribed, never the less we raised thousands of pounds for the Beaumaris Lifeboat so a real success all of which is recorded on our website.


Clubs from London and further south were so impressed by our event and frustrated by not being accepted on ours they decide to run a trip of their own on the Thames through Central London. Unfortunately their plans were thwarted by COVID-19 but they weren’t put off and last Saturday was their turn, so off we went (of course!).


Kevin, Sue, Jane and Malcolm, Hannah, Mike and Paisley, Loz and Roger put names down and I was to tow Top Cat, this meant traveling on Friday, launching and mooring up in the afternoon and staying overnight in a convenient Travel Lodge with an even more convenient pub opposite. Saturday saw us reporting for duty at 7am at Erith Yacht Club on the south bank of the river, unfortunately we were now down to seven.


On the way down at Watford Gap Services we parked up next to Vale Royal with their big RHIB which got us in the mood! 


As you can imagine there has been a lot of red tape and several risk assessments to read as well as briefing and zoom calls to attend (the river is a working waterway and strictly controlled by the Port of London Authority) but we took this all in our stride.


Friday’s weather was awful and it poured with rain and blew a gale all night but low and behold Saturday dawned with a cloudless sky and little wind – perfect!


After a final briefing for the coxes (I was to helm our boat) 20 off us set off at 8:30am in a numerically ordered line (we were no 8). We were accompanied by the RNLI with a press boat in attendance and a lead and tail boat. The event was run by BSAC to both celebrate the organisation’s 70th birthday but also to raise money for the RNLI which was presented to them at a ceremony at Tower Life Boat Station (for those that don’t know the busiest station with over 700 call outs a year).


The trip was the most amazing experience and far exceeded my expectations which is what most other Clubs said, the Thames has history everywhere not just in the centre of London. We went along the north shore coming back on the south side The first experience was traveling through the Thames Barrier after 10 miles (one of the largest movable flood barriers in the world),  under the 300ft high cable car, Greenwich, O2 Arena, Cutty Sark (sister ship to the Norman Court which was wrecked near Rhosneigr on Anglesey), preserved slipway of Brunel’s SS great Britain (at the time the largest ship in the world), the Shard, HMS Belfast, Golden Hind, The Globe Theatre, Millennium Bridge, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Tate Modern, National Theatre as well as St Paul’s, all the most incredible modern buildings and various docks etc etc – too much!!

We arrived back at Erith after 5 hours, recovered Top Cat, said our goodbyes and headed home with Kevin towing back – rain again but it helped to wash the boat I guess. Kevin and Loz travelled back via home and managed a full meal cooked by Julie and met up with us at the Club (who hadn’t eaten – boo hiss!). Boat washed out, engine run and put to bed to end a fabulous trip – I did sleep well that night!

An experience we’ll never forget I’m sure.

– Paul Tyers

Many thanks to Kevin & Loz for sharing the most amazing photos & video of the day.

The sights of London from Top Cat

BSAC rhibs on the Thames

Heading back to Erith Yacht Club