Support Rules

Supporters provide a vital role in providing food, drink and spare kit to their paddlers, as well as monitoring their well being. They are an essential and valued part of the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race.


The behaviour of support crews can affect public perception of the race far more than that of competitors. Supporters must behave responsibly and considerately at all times and shall observe restrictions along the course and adjoining areas as may be imposed by the organisers.


Competitors are responible for anyone who turns up to watch or support them. Competitors / Team Leaders must ensure all supporters and spectators are fully aware of the rules. Ignorance will not be an acceptable excuse in the event of a protest of a penalty.


There are a number of unofficial guides to the DW, eg: Paul Homisham's River and Canal guides. Please be aware condtions and routes can change throughout the year and even during the race, so if using these guides it is imperative to cross reference them against current rules. Penalties and even crew disqualification can occur for infringment.


Common sense is the underlying principle of the supporting arrangements. The organisers will not penalise anyone who provides sustenance, replaces essential kit or effects repairs to a competitors boat in the event of a proven emergency. Substantial penalties will apply to any crew, team or organisation deemed to be in breach of the spirit of the rules.


Supporting Instructions - for supporters of ALL crews

Driving and Parking

Do not race from lock to lock as you will arrive too early and add to congestion at the next portage. The average speed of a kayak on the canal is less than 6 mph. Observe local parking restrictions; do not obstruct emergency access or driveways, railway crossings or junctions. Do not park on private property. Observe specific race access and parking rules.


Do not swamp the course with support crews and vehicles. Minimise the number of cars following. Stage race classes are subject to specific rules set out below. Do not allow dogs to cause nuisance of any sort. Keep noise and disturbance to a minimum in residential areas, especially at night. Obey instructions from officials at locks, where access may be restricted on safety grounds to one person per crew.

Closed Portages

No supporters are permitted at any of the following locks. There are no exceptions to this rule:

· Little Bedwyn

· County

· Blake’s

· Shiplake

· Boveney

· Sunbury Lock and Rollers (Crews may be fed along the lock cut.)

· Molesey Lock and Rollers

· Teddington Lock and Rollers


Parking/driving restrictions apply at the following locks:

· Crofton Flight: Observe all parking notices and cones. Do not park on or by the Freewarren Bridge (middle bridge). Please use the Pay and Display Car Park at the Pumping Station, if that is full there is parking available in the adjacent field. To reach the canal make your way on foot through the grounds of the pumping station, under the railway line and out on to the canal where you can turn right or left to get to a lock. Marshalls will be on site on both Friday and Saturday.

· Cunning Man, Burghfield: Do not park in the pub car park.

· Sonning: Do not park on the access road to the lock.

· Boulter’s Island, Maidenhead: Do not park on the main road or on/in/at the approach to the island. Use the public car park. Following residents’ complaints, the DW Race is now required by the local council to pay for traffic wardens there; illegally parked vehicles will be ticketed. Use the public car park which will be fully open.

· Bell Weir: Do not go through the Runnymede Hotel grounds to access the portage; these grounds are for hotel guests only and are out of bounds to supporters and their vehicles.

· Sunbury Lock: Rollers closed to supporters. Following complaints from the pub landlord, do not drive down towards or park in or near the Weir Public House. Please note, even if you use the pub, any car in the pub car park with a canoe roof rack may be clamped. All support crew must now park only in the car park of the Walton Leisure Centre and may provide support anywhere along the lock cut on the towpath side.

· Molesey Lock and Rollers: Closed to supporters. Support may be provided from the towpath up or downstream of the lock.


Other restrictions may apply. In all cases, follow directions from race officials.

Substantial time penalties will apply to crews whose supporters ignore any of these restrictions or closures.


Do not shine lights directly at paddlers as it damages their night vision. Do not use flashing or novelty lighting. Carry spare white light-sticks and torch batteries.


Restrictions at the Finish (St Thomas' Hospital)

St Thomas is a working A&E hospital, and a strategic London location in the event of a major emergency or terrorist incident. The following restrictions apply:

· NO minibuses, vehicles with trailers or any vehicles sporting v-bars/canoe racks will be permitted in St Thomas' car park. Instead, all these vehicles must use public parking elsewhere, such as the South Bank.

· DW supporters' cars without canoe racks may continue to use the St Thomas' Hospital car park but no boat loading will be possible there.

· At the end of the race, all boats must be taken from the steps area at the finish toward the Festival Hall and must be loaded directly onto vehicles.

· No boats are to be carried upstream of Westminster bridge, placed in the DW village area by St Thomas' hospital or loaded onto cars in the hospital car park.

· No race supporters may use any facilities inside the hospital buildings. 

· DW supporters, competitors and support crew may only stay within the clearly marked DW village area

· Race marshals will be posted as appropriate to ensure the above measures are followed