From a river length review carried out by Thames Water in 1982 the concept of having user groups was mooted. The objective was to allow users to have a say in the way the river was being used and act as a conduit to Thames Water from the users – all users not necessarily just boaters.
There had already been in existence a small liaison group to avoid congestion on the water between Teddington and Kingston Bridge. Michael Shefras who was the Honorary Secretary of the Thames Motor Yacht Club formed RUG8 in 1983 and the Upper Thames Yacht Club between Cookham and Marlow formed another RUG6 at about the same time. Harry Fountain, the deputy chair of ATYC took upon himself to set up the other six groups and eventually RUG 1 & 2 combined and RUG 4 & 5 also combined. So there were RUGs between Teddington to Lechlade.
Both National Rivers Authority and subsequently Environment Agency understood the value of these groups and continued to support them. RUG Chair now sit as members of the EA Thames Navigation User’s Panel and through this also sit on the Thames User Group (Navigation) the users overarching coordinating body.