How to Book a Bridge Lift
Bridge lifts are available at no charge, 24 hours a day.
The requirements of the City of London (various powers) Act 1971 and certain other conditions need to be met.
1. Any vessel with a mast or superstructure of 30ft (9m) or more wishing to enter or leave the Upper Pool of London can ask for a Bridge Lift.
2. Bookings have to be made in writing and received at the Bridge at least 24 hours in advance of a lift, by email to BridgeLifts@towerbridge.org.uk, fax on +44 (0) 20 7940 8396 or by letter to the following address:
FAO Operations Manager
Tower Bridge Road
London, SE1 2UP
3. Bookings can be made by a ship's agent, owner or Master. All requests must be submitted with the following information:
- International Maritime Organization (IMO) or Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number
- Vessel name
- Air draught
- Contact information for skipper and organiser (if applicable).
When vessels are accompanied by tugs, the tug operator makes the additional bookings required to allow tugs to leave after a berthing operation.
4. When a booking is made, Tower Bridge will issue confirmation in the form of a numbered Bridge Lift order, and add the lift to the Bridge Lift schedule.
5. Tower Bridge provides a 24 hour Bridge Lift information telephone line on +44 (0) 20 7940 3984. Visit the Bridge Lifts Times page to view the very latest information on booked Bridge Lifts. Any changes to information made within 24 hours of a lift, for example time changes or emergency situations, require the Bridge staff to inform the Emergency Services before any changes can be agreed.
6. Bridge Operation: (i) 30 minutes before the booked Bridge Lift time, the bridge and control room will be staffed and a listening watch set on VHF channel 14. (ii) Tower Bridge will call the vessel expected as soon as they are staffed and no later than 30 minutes before arrival. The ship is to call Tower Bridge at the same time to confirm ETA. (iii) Vessels are to keep Tower Bridge advised of their progress and advise whether or not the vessel will be swung before approaching the Bridge. Tower Bridge will keep vessels advised of any machinery problems, when the traffic is being stopped and the Bridge is lifting. N.B. It is very important that vessels arrive at the pre-booked time of a Bridge Lift. Ships can expect no more than five minutes leeway on booked time during road traffic busy times. During late night/early morning lifts more leeway on arrival/departure time may be available but ships should be aware that staff are only called in for the booked times and that any changes to times require Emergency Services to be advised as a matter of urgency. Note that the staff are likely to have closed down 15 minutes after the last scheduled lift.
7. Please be aware that every effort will be made to accommodate your Bridge lift, however, there may be operational, security or safety reasons where your lift is delayed or has to be cancelled. The Bridge Driver will be in contact with your vessel at least 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled lift and as necessary in the event of any issues being encountered.
8. Bridge Lift Height: The Bridge will be lifted by the Bridge Driver to a nominal height dependant on the type and size of vessel requiring passage. This is to reduce lifting and lowering times as much as possible. Should Master or Pilots be concerned that the bascules are not high enough they should call Tower Bridge on VHF and request bascules are lifted further. If Pilots approaching the Bridge are concerned with the handling of their vessel or the prevailing conditions they should make this clear to Tower Bridge as soon as they make contact.
Last minute changes to ETA/ETDs Should vessels change sailing or arrival times, Tower Bridge must be told as soon as possible to ascertain whether a new slot is possible and to cancel any previous arrangement. The security control at Tower Bridge is staffed 24 hours, telephone +44 (0) 20 7940 3975.