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Northampton Risk Assessment

The AquaPaddle Northampton is at Earls Barton. The route is two laps of the tranquil River Nene between Whitemills Lock and Earls Barton Lock.

Northampton – Description of route and hazards

General Hazards 

Narrow boats, wide beams, day boats, and other craft on the water: The Nene is shared with other craft, and we need to keep ourselves safe. Please keep a look behind from time to time to make sure you are not going to be in collision with another river user.  If you see a boat, please shout to other paddlers warning them of the danger and giving them a chance to move to the right-hand side of the river. If they are coming close, draw their attention to you, shouting and waving. Also move out of their way and if necessary, kneel. 

Anglers. At various places on the banks along the Nene. Paddle by cautiously, and giving enough space around where they may be casting. Move to opposite side of river if safe to do so

Swimmers: Wild or Open Water swimming has become very popular and you as the overtaking craft need to keep clear. Please shout to draw their attention to you as you come up behind them. Please keep at least 1.5 metres away from them. 

Main Launch, Exit and Emergency Evacuation Point 

The Newt Ponds, Earls Barton NN6 0RB

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The launch point is from the platforms on the right-hand side to the main meeting point and car park. The ground to the platforms are made up of hardcore and soil. The platforms are a raised area with an edge, the water is shallower at the platforms.

Anglers occasionally drive on the hardcore, please move over to allow them access.


  1. The launch point is alongside the towpath with walkers, dogs, and cyclists.
  2. The towpath could be wet and muddy, so care must be taken not to slip. The platform can get wet, so care must be taken not to slip. Remember don’t rush and always take your time. “Slow is Pro” 
  3. Paddling to the Start Point, be aware of other river users. We have a marina nearby and a boat may be coming out of the lock.

   4.  Anglers occasionally drive on the hardcore, please move over                          

        To allow them access.

Secondary Launch, Exit and Emergency Evacuation Point 

The mooring point at Whitemills lock

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The launch point is on the Mooring

The launch point is a concrete, wood, and metal area. It is at a height above the river. 


  1. The launch point is at some height above the river, and the paddler will have to take care when lowering themselves onto their craft. Take your time and don’t rush. 
  2. The mooring can be busy with boats waiting to enter the lock. The lock can be busy with boats coming through. Give yourself plenty of time before the start and don’t rush to launch.

The Start 

The start of the AquaPaddle is near Whitemills lock. The Time Lord will call the AquaPaddlers forward once everyone has arrived and will start the event. The AquaPaddle heads downstream.


Other river users.

Other AquaPaddlers. Please give everyone space to move about. The river is wide enough. 

The River and Riverbank.

The riverbank has several fishing platforms on the right-hand side. Please pass any anglers quietly and slowly and give them space.

If whilst passing someone fishing you are approached by a boat, please stop, and move over to the right-hand side of the river. If you get caught in any lines, stop and apologise. We share this space. Please don’t get into an argument, regardless of what the Angler is saying to you. Once free of the line, continue. 

River is shallow at both sides.


Fishing hooks being cast from the side of the river

Boats behind and coming towards you. Keep a good look out and be prepared to stop. Sail has right of way. 

Yellow Buoy on right hand side to warn all craft of an obstruction in the water. Please leave space to go past it as the obstruction may hit your fin.

The river is shallow at both sides, be aware that your paddle might touch the bottom easily if you are at the side.

Swans and other wildlife, please give them space.

Over hanging trees. Please move a distance away from them.

Earls Barton Lock. The Upstream Turning Point 

The turning point is by the portage point at Earls Barton lock. There will be a Member of the Crew on their board or kayak at that point. Please go round them.


Other AquaPaddlers. Please give each other space to turn and cross the river. 

Moored boats. Stay at least 2 metres away.

Turning on the river. Watch out for boats and other river users as you turn. They have right of way. Be prepared to stop. Do not risk crossing in front of any craft. 

Please shout if someone is likely to hit you. 

Falling off. If you should fall in, if you can’t re board quickly, please swim your board away to the side, before trying again. A Crew Member will come and assist you. If you see someone fall in, without putting yourself in danger, please go and give help.  


The Finish 

The Finish point is marked by a flag. Please keep paddling towards the flag. Once you finish, please keep clear of the finish line. If you want to stay and cheer on the other AquaPaddlers, please gather on the riverbank and away from the Timelord and be prepared to move if an angler drives by.

Other information.

First Aid Kit is carried by every Marshal and The Timelord.

Defib is on the gate at Whitemills Marina.