Rowing Safety

Safety Information

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All members of BRC have a duty to:

  • Act in 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.
  • ACTIVELY RESPOND to their 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.

The club complies with the BR’s “Row Safe”. A copy is on the club notice-board or can be viewed or downloaded from the BR’s website.


  • Club members are responsible for their own safety and are to take reasonable precautions in this respect and to behave in a responsible manner.
  • Club members are to treat all other members, other water users and members of the public with respect at all times.
  • Club members row and use club equipment at their own risk.
  • Club members are required to declare whether or not they can swim 100m wearing full rowing kit, i.e. jogging trousers and long sleeved sweatshirt.
  • No member is allowed out in a single scull without a qualified instructor (see below) present unless they have achieved Level 3 in the Club’s Proficiency Tests and have proven they know how to react in the event of a capsize.
  • No juniors should be on the water without adult supervision.
  • Junior members should always be within sight of an adult when afloat. Adult members and junior members are jointly responsible for the observance of this rule.
  • The Cox will have the sole control of the crew unless he or she is under instruction or for the purpose of training, in which event the Club Captain may designate control to another crew member.
  • All Club members at any rowing session are equally responsible for the rigging and de-rigging of all boats and equipment and the safe storage of equipment.
  • All breakages and equipment defects are to be entered immediately into the log and reported to the Club Captain and Safety Advisor as soon as possible and subsequently reported to the BR via their website.
  • No rowing or sculling is to take place if either the Club Captain, Safety Advisor or Qualified instructor present decides the conditions are unsafe.
  • Club members will not be allowed to scull or row if the Club Captain, Safety Advisor or Qualified instructor decides that that club members is inappropriately dressed for the weather conditions.
  • No boat is allowed on the water during the hours of darkness, or if visibility is limited.


Jon Benest-Bartram
Ben Turner


In order to assess the Club safety system, ALL accidents and incidents are to be reported to the Club Safety Advisor as soon as possible. They will advise whether this should be reported to the BR via their website (on right hand side of home page there is an “Incident Reporting” button).

Everything should be reported to Club Safety Advisor, anything that involves damage to equipment or injury must also be reported to BR within 24 hours.


A poster of the capsize drill is located on the boathouse door but the golden rule in the event of capsizing is STAY WITH YOUR BOAT. It is a buoyancy aid and will keep you afloat.

The club carries out a capsize drill annually to ensure that all club members know what to do in the event of a capsize. The capsize drill will include:

  • The need to stay with the boat and use it as a life raft
  • Precautions to be adopted before going afloat to reduce the risk
  • The need to get out of the water quickly and on top of the boat to reduce heat loss
  • The effects of water temperature, water conditions and clothing
  • The means of summoning assistance and how to plan for this

It is recommended that all club members bring a towel and a change of clothing to every session.


The water we row on is not always as clean as we would choose and certainly is not pure enough to be swallowed without giving more than a passing thought to the possible effects it will have on our internal systems.

The three main diseases to be aware of are:

  • Weill’s disease – Leptospirosis
  • Blue Green Algae – Cynobacteria
  • Gastro-intestinal illness

There are a number of simple precautions to take to reduce the risk of infection.

  • Cuts and abrasions (including blisters) should be covered with waterproof dressings.
  • Wear footwear to avoid cuts and protect feet when paddling in the water.
  • Shower after contact with the water
  • Wash hands thoroughly before handling food (eating and drinking).

If after immersion (capsizing) you develop flu like symptoms (within 1-3 weeks) or have swallowed some water, your doctor should be contacted and advised of the circumstances.


  • Keep to the right-hand (bow/starboard) side of the river – remembering, as you travel backwards the right hand side feels like your left! Before turning, check that you will not be obstructing other water users.
  • Ensure there is room before overtaking, you do not have right of way when overtaking motor boats.
  • Rowing boats do not have right of way over other river users.
  • Give way to sailing vessels and obey the helm’s instructions.

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