Rowing: Boat Race calls in the Marines to prevent any more protests

Service boats will patrol Thames as review of last year's chaos prompts greater security presence

Royal Marines in inflatable boats will be stationed along the length of the Boat Race course on Sunday to ensure the event is not disrupted by another protester in the water.

Last year's race had to be halted when Trenton Oldfield swam into the path of the two crews and narrowly avoided being struck by an Oxford oar as he attempted to sabotage an event he regarded as elitist. As a result, David Searle, the Boat Race executive director, promised an improved security presence along more than eight miles of Thames River bank and warned against anyone taking to the water.

"We are taking additional measures this year and have reviewed all our actions last year in detail," Searle said. "The Boat Race course is four and a quarter miles long so we have eight and a half miles of river bank to manage and monitor.

"There will be an increased presence on and off the water, including support from the Royal Marines, but as with any security plan I cannot disclose the exact details.

"What I would say to anybody thinking of disrupting the race is that it's unbelievably dangerous. You risk injuring yourself, the crews and the other people following the race. Nobody wants that to happen. This is just a sporting event."

Oldfield was released from prison in December, having served seven weeks of a six-month sentence after being found guilty of causing a public nuisance. The Metropolitan Police contacted Oldfield by letter and on Twitter to establish whether he was planning any action this year, saying they were "keen to facilitate any peaceful protest".

In a statement, the police stressed they were not offering to organise a protest for Oldfield but to afford him the opportunity to exercise his "lawful rights without causing disruption or danger to themselves or others".

However, Oldfield told The Spectator that he would be nowhere near the Tideway on Sunday. "In spite of the Metropolitan Police's kind offer I'll probably have a ramble across the Cotswolds instead," he said.

Last year's race was eventually restarted after Oldfield was fished out of the water but his intervention was only the start of the drama. Oxford, who had been narrowly ahead when the race was stopped, suffered a broken oar in a clash soon after the restart and ended up losing by more than four lengths.

Oxford bowman Alex Woods then passed out after his crew had crossed the finish line and was taken to hospital by ambulance, where he spent the night before being discharged.

Matthew Pinsent, the former Olympic rower, is this year's umpire, having served as an assistant last year. He said: "Last year was just chaotic for the guys involved in the race – a Boat Race has seldom been stopped before – so the umpire needs the ability to deal with that decision-making and get the race started again."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Parker says: 'I once had a taster use the phrase 'smells like the sex glands of a lemming'. Who in the world can relate to that?'
food + drinkRobert Parker's 100-point scale is a benchmark of achievement for wine-makers everywhere
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing