Henley booms separate regatta boats from river traffic

Changes on the river could see the end of a summer tradition at Henley.

Mid-river booms attached to piles in the Thames are used to cordon off the Henley Royal Regatta course from general Thames traffic.

But the booms could be removed immediately after the royal regatta amid safety fears.

For many years the booms have stayed in place for some time afterwards allowing boaters to moor up and listen, for example, to performances at the Henley Festival which follows soon afterwards in the Thames diary.

HRR Chief Executive Daniel Grist told River Thames News; “We are meeting the Environment Agency for talks and decisions will be taken in the light of what is discussed.”

The move has been criticised by the president of the Thames Traditional Boat Rally. The booms are used to segregate boats involved in the annual event from other vessels using the river.

Lady McAlpine told the Henley Standard said: “Last year the booms meant that we could have the boat festival traffic on one side of the river, like the sail pasts of the Dunkirk Little Ships, while the other traffic could flow up and down the other side.

“It’s a lot safer if the river is divided and even more so as the Environment Agency have given us permission, as it did last year, to run [Sir Malcolm Campbell’s record-breaking 1937 speedboat] Blue Bird. (pictured above)."

Lady McAlpine said: “There’s no way we’re going to run Blue Bird without these booms in place. You can just imagine the average day tripper wandering across — it’s too dangerous.”

Story dated Feb 29th 2016