Club Update – COVID-19 Lockdown Guidance

[ Message issued by Tom (Chairman) on 7th Jan 2021 ]

Hi all,

Hope everyone had a good Christmas and made the most of the time outdoors before we were all stuck inside again!
Unfortunately we are all back in another lockdown…. And with that comes changes to how we operate as a club again.

The latest guidance from British Canoeing and the Government is that all clubs should postpone any activities during the lockdown. This means all trips are off and we aren’t able to meet in groups larger than 2.
The rules are as follows:

  • No using the Bristol canoe club equipment. You may use your own kit if you bring it with you or if it is stored in the cage, but the club kit can’t be used for the time being because the club is effectively closed. See the email below for more info if you are collecting your personal kit from the cage.
  • We are allowed to paddle on the harbour but you must stick to the government rules relating to exercise. You can only exercise with your household, social bubble, or one other person. Check the gov link here for more info around the latest lockdown
  • No trips organised through the club. As the club is shut down for the time being, please don’t use the club email to organise trips, unless it’s so far in advance we’ll all be free from Covid!
  • If using the harbour, stick to social distancing rules and advice from the government

I know this isn’t the best info for anyone who uses the club regularly but we need to follow what advice and incinerate told so I hope you all understand. We’ll all make it through this and be ready for a cracking summer of paddling, drinking and BBQing together(let’s hope in groups of more than 6)!

Stay safe and we’ll all be back to normal before you know it! 


Harbour Office COVID-19 update

This Notice to Mariners was issued by the Harbour Master’s office on Wed 6th January.

Events in Bristol Harbour

03/21 Harbour Office COVID-19 update

Following the government’s announcement of a national lockdown. From Wednesday 6 January 2021 harbour use will be subject to new imposed restrictions.

The harbour is closed to all visiting craft

Travel outside of your local area is not permitted, and so we’re not able to facilitate visits to the harbour.

Powered Vessels

Leisure use of powered vessels is not listed by the government as a reasonable reason for leaving home and so not permitted. Owners of powered craft must not leave their moorings unless it’s to access necessary maintenance, and then only after permission has been sought from and given by the Harbour Authority.


In line with government regulations on exercise, owners of manually propelled craft that hold Annual Navigation Licenses may continue to use the Harbour. Such use must adhere to government restrictions.

Licensed, manually propelled club activity may also continue with adherence to government restrictions and compliance with relevant association guidelines.

Navigation Licenses

No new licenses will be issued. If a Navigation License is not already held for a vessel, use of the Harbour is prohibited.

Harbour staff

Harbour staff will be on duty every day from 9am to 5pm to carry out dock patrols and essential locking and tidal duties. They will respond to emergencies, and will carry a limited supply of pump out tokens, electricity cards and other sundries for purchase by card only.

The emergency telephone service: 0117 903 1484, option 2 will still be available during operational hours.

The Harbour Office is closed to the public and should you wish to contact the office by telephone, call 0117 903 1484 between 10am until 3pm, or email

Harbour Authority Tier 3 And 4 procedures

This Notice to Mariners was issued by the Harbour Master’s office on Mon 4th January.

Events in Bristol Harbour

02/21 Harbour Authority Tier 3 And 4  procedures in force from 4 January 2021

Fom Monday 4 January 2021 the Harbour Authority will be changing some of their Tier 3 and 4 procedures. 

This is because of the sudden increase in the Covid-19 cases in the Bristol area. It’s essential that we protect our staff and the Harbour community to effectively fulfill our statutory and essential duties.

These changes will remain in force whilst Bristol is in Tier 3 or above. 

Harbour staff

Harbour Staff will be on duty daily from 9am until 5pm to carry out dock patrols and only essential locking and tidal duties. 

They will also respond to emergencies and will carry a limited supply of pump out tokens, electricity cards and other sundries for purchase by card only.   

Emergency telephone service

The emergency telephone service 0117 903 1484, option 2 on the answering service. 

Public slipway

The public slipway will be open daily between 9am to 4:30pm for all leisure craft that hold an annual navigational license. However use must be in accordance with the latest government Covid-19 guidelines

Short Term Navigation Licences

No Short-Term Navigation Licence’s will be issued until the Harbour Authority feel it is safe to do so. Any vessel failing to comply with Government rules will be removed from the Harbour and licenses will be suspended until further notice. 

Group activities

Commercial and group based activities are still suspended and will not be permitted while Bristol remains in Tier 3 or higher. 

Harbour Office opening hours

The Harbour Office will remain closed.

To contact staff call 0117 903 1484 between 10am and 3pm. 

Tide/locking operations

Tidal and locking operations will only be done when essential and any unnecessary down and back journeys will not be permitted. 

Bookings must be made with at least 48 hours notice and approved by the Harbour Master (or his Deputy) before the commencement of any journey. 

For bookings call the Watch House on 0117 927 3633 leaving a message so a Harbour Staff member can return your call. 

Future updates

The Harbour Master will continue to review these changes and should Government guidelines or safety be compromised the Harbour Authority reserve the right to amend any of these procedures at short notice. 

Should, or when, Bristol be downgraded to Tier 2 (without the likelihood of returning to a higher Tier) the Harbour Authority will be pleased to review these changes.

Bristol docks are not yet open

We received this reply from the Harbour Master on 13th May. As such the docks are not yet open, and won’t be for a while.

Please see below- this is where we are for the time being.

As the Competent Harbour Authority for Bristol Docks and River Avon our current position is that our waters are not available for leisure use.

The focus of this department at the moment is on meeting our statutory duties and water level management. Those wishing to exercise unfortunately need to find an alternative venue for the time being.

We’re all looking forward to having this behind us.Best Regards

Pete Seed, Deputy Harbour Master, Harbour Masters Office, Bristol Docks, Tel 0117 9031484

New committee for 2018-2019

The Bristol Canoe Club AGM 2018 was held last week.

The new committee for 2018-2019 is:
Chairman: Jeremy Sykes
Treasurer: Fran Bamber
Secretary: Tanya Cownie
Membership: Nick Wainwright

Other committee members: Conor O’Neill, Dave Hill, Mark Gillett, Emma Newman, Iain Hissett, Lee Nicholls

Club policies and constitution

Here is the set of the club’s policies, collected together into one place.

Operational policies

  • Access to the boat storage cage at Baltic Wharf: Cage_Policy
  • Information for borrowing club boats: Boat_Policy

“Legal” bits


  • The Bristol Canoe Club Rules can be seen here, but these have partly been superseded by the new Operational Policies: Rules

Beginner’s course 2018

Please note that this course is now full.

The club will be organising a beginner’s kayaking course for adults in May/June 2018. This is intended for people who are interested in taking up the sport of kayaking in the future, and paddling with Bristol Canoe Club.

The course will consist of a session in a swimming pool, and then four 2-hour sessions on Bristol docks.

The dates are:

  • Wednesday 30th May; 8:30pm; Pool session at Bristol South Pool, in Bedminster
  • Thursdays 7th, 14th, 21st, & 28th June; 6pm; General session at Baltic Wharf on Bristol docks.

This course will cost £75, including membership of the club for the remainder of the year.

If you are interested, please email our enquiries address; see our contacts page.

Neil Cox Iceland Cost-to-Coast May 2017

Neil Cox, and Leanne Dyke, both members of Bristol Canoe Club, crossed Iceland with a Packraft (a type of inflatable kayak) in May 2017.
Here is Neil’s write-up, including video, and a river description.

Neil comments: “We believe this is the first recorded source-to-sea descent of the Þjórsá, with Leanne also being the first recorded woman to complete a packraft traverse of Iceland.”

Congratulations to Tim Trew in DW

Very many congratulations to Tim Trew who came 10th in the senior doubles class in this year’s Devizes to Westminster race on the Easter weekend, with a time of 20:17:53 (non-stop). He was paddling with a friend Adam Dumolo.

Also congratulations to recent new member George Botsford who paddled in the four-day event, finishing with a time of 22:31:22, coming 49th, paddling with Alfred Barnicoat, both from Bredon School.

Anyone who’s ever been involved in the race knows how much of a huge achievement this competition is, so very well done to everyone.

The full results are hard to find on the official DW website at the moment, but should be visible here: