Club Water Safety Rules

The safety of the members is paramount. The river is a great place to be, but has lots of hidden dangers. Please always follow the safety guidelines.

If In Doubt Don't Go Out

There is a guide on the notice board in the container. Please read all the information regularly. Club Members - have a duty to:

  • Act in a manner that will not compromise the safety of themselves, Club members, other water users and the general public.
  • Assess risks and base their decisions on such assessments.
  • Abide by the Club's safety rules.
  • Be proactive in warning others of impending danger.
  • Inform coaches and other crew/Club members of any medical condition that may present a risk to themselves and/or their crew. In the case of juniors, parents have a duty to advise those in charge.
  • All crews MUST sign themselves out with the time of going out on the water in the BOAT-USE LOG BOOK placed by the notice board in the container. On return the entry should be crossed out. This is for your safety. If you do not sign out no one will know you are on the river and to watch out for you. At best you could get back to the club to find everything locked up; at worst, if you do not return, no one would know to come and look for you. Always let someone know that you are going out on the river and when you expect to return home.

No crew is to go out after dark.

No inexperienced crew or oars-person is to go out on the water unsupervised. 

Boat Handling

It is important to be careful when handling boats. They are designed for speed in the water and are very cumbersome yet delicate on dry land. Please ask to be shown how to handle singles and other coxless boats. Any experienced oarsmen at the club would be happy to help. With the bigger coxed boats it is important to listen to the cox who will tell you what to do. Remember your backs. Never lift a boat with your back. Always lift boats with your legs and arms, keeping your back straight and the core muscles strong.

Watch out for hazards. The boat shed is a crowded space with other boats and their riggers. Move slowly, watching for anything that you could catch yourself or the boat on. A rigger can hole a boat and your skin. Be aware. There will be other people around the club and on the landing stage. Make sure that you do not hit them with any part of your boat. If the landing stage is full of boats wait patiently before removing yours from the racking. Getting the boat into the water. Again keep you back straight and lower the boat gently in to the water making sure that it is clear of the landing stage.

Getting in and out. Rowing and sculling boats are fragile things so the designers have made certain areas of each boat stronger so that you can stand on them. AT NO POINT SHOULD YOU PUT YOUR FEET IN THE BOTTOM OF THE BOAT. Getting into a sculling boat is an art that you need to practise, getting into a rowing boat is a simpler affair because there is always someone else there to hold the boat on to the bank and keep it steady. Position yourself so that you are beside your seat, place the foot nearest the river on the strengthened standing point (if in doubt ask) then bring the remaining foot on to the shoes in the foot stretcher and sit down on the seat. Once your oar is secured in the swivel and fully extended and flat on the water put your feet in the shoes and secure. To get out release the feet from the shoes and place on top, place the foot furthest away from the bank on the strengthened standing point and stand up moving the foot from the shoe and on to the bank.

To remove the boat from the water remember to lift with the legs and not with the back.

Before you go out on the water always check the boat for loose rigger and swivel nuts, missing or worn heel restraints, missing or damaged bow-balls, hatch covers and bungs, and any other obvious defects. If there is any damage please take action as described later in this booklet in Section 5 of the Rules for Outings.

Before putting the boat away after an outing give it a wash down. The boats are designed to be hydrodynamic and a thick layer of scum will do nothing for your speed! Equipment lasts longer if it is looked after.

First Aid

There are first-aid boxes around the club, if you require them. They are:

  • In the green box hanging in container
  • In the red bag in the green portakabin
  • In the centre seat locker of the safety launch
  • On the cockpit shelf of the catamaran

Please be aware of the potential risks of being in and around river water. Keep any cuts covered and if flu like symptoms develop after a wound has come in contact with river water seek medical advice.

For more information, including a list of qualified first-aiders, see the emergency procedure flow chart.

Fire and Emergency Procedures

Anything you do at the club you do at your own risk, but you must never knowingly leave any piece of equipment in a dangerous place or position or in a state that could cause injury when next used. If any part of the site or structure thereon is damaged or could be a hazard, do not ignore it, make it known to other people, and either try to fix it or report it to a committee member.


  • Some boats are more prone to capsize than others. Nearly everyone who has ventured out in a scull has fallen in. The larger boats such as 4's, quads and eights are very difficult to capsize, but for your safety you will be asked to do a capsize drill at a local swimming pool and to read this chapter carefully.
  • If you capsize the first thing to remember is DON'T PANIC. Boat shoes are fitted with heel restraints and Velcro straps with cord on them. This makes releasing your feet a quick process. Once your feet are free the first thing to do is to swim back to the boat. STAYING WITH THE BOAT IS VITAL. Unless holed, a rowing boat will not sink (a single scull can support the weight of 4 oarsmen). Swim with the boat back to the bank and try to get back in so that you can row back to the club. Once you are back at the club it is recommended that you change into some warm dry clothes.
  • You must then report any capsize by informing the Safety Adviser (see Appendix 2) and filling in (or getting someone to do it for you) an Incident Report Form.
  • Capsizes can happen to anyone. This is a reason why YOU MUST SIGN OUT IN THE BOAT USE LOG and remember to cross the entry out when you get off the water. It is also essential that you take a mobile phone in a water-tight case with you. If you come down to the club outside of normal club hours let someone know where you are going and how long you intend to be. On a practical note remember to bring a spare set of clothes and towel with you. In an emergency there is a selection of spare clothing in the yellow (middle) portakabin
  • It is a good idea to take a thermal blanket with you on outings. They may be bought from a committee member, price &pound2.