Canoeing laws in the UK & Ireland

Canoeing laws in the UK & Ireland

Canoeing is a leisure activity and a popular pastime in the UK & Ireland, but the law applies slightly differently to different types of waterways in England, Scotland, and Wales.

Here’s everything you need to know about canoeing on rivers in England:

Canoes must not be used upstream from bridges carrying power cables or above areas that are marked with red and white posts.

Children under 14 years old can only use paddles if they are supervised by someone who is at least 16 years old.

Children under 8 years old cannot paddle on open water unless they are supervised by someone who is at least 16 years old.

Canoeing on rivers in Scotland:

Canoes must not be used upstream from bridges carrying power cables.

Children under 14 can only use paddles if they are supervised by someone who is at least 16 years old.

Children under 8 cannot paddle on open water unless they are supervised by someone who is at least 16 years old.

In Wales, canoeing is also a popular pastime, but the law is slightly different to that of England and Scotland:

Canoeing laws in Wales

Canoes must not be used upstream from bridges carrying power cables or above areas that are marked with red and white posts.

Children under 14 years old can only use paddles if they are supervised by someone who is at least 16 years old.

Children under 8 years old cannot paddle on open water unless they are supervised by someone who is at least 16 years old. (https://www.padlespesialisten.no)

Canoeing in Ireland

Canoeing in Ireland has two entirely different sets of regulations for the two main waterways, the Shannon and the Loughs (in order to distinguish between these, these waterways in Ireland are referred to as the Shannon and Loughs), but was not regulated at all before 1994, as canoeing was seen as a form of tourism rather than a leisure activity. (https://www.padlespesialisten.no/categories/sup)

Now, canoeing on the Shannon is regulated and laws have been put in place to ensure that any potential dangers posed by canoeing are limited.

On the Shannon:

Canoes must not be used upstream from bridges carrying power cables.

Children under 14 years old can only use paddles if they are supervised by someone who is at least 16 years old.

Children under 8 years old cannot paddle on open water unless they are supervised by someone who is at least 16 years old.

In addition, there are specific water areas within the Shannon where canoes must not be used because of dangerous undercurrents and other problems with the waterway. If any such place is encountered, the canoe should be brought back to the bank of the river and be re-launched using another part of the river.

Canoeing in Loughs:

Canoes must not be used upstream from bridges carrying power cables.

There are no restrictions on children under 14 years old using paddles, but it is recommended that they are supervised by someone who is at least 16 years old.

It is not recommended for children under 8 years old to paddle on open water unless they are supervised by someone who is at least 16 years old.