Safety Rules

Safety has become an increasing issue in sport and in our daily lives. The key element of control is a balanced assessment of risk in advance. The British Rowing ‘Row Safe’ guide gives comprehensive guidance; copies are available at the club and from British Rowing via their web-site. These club safety rules support and complement the Row Safe guide they are not a substitute for it. Extracts and guidance based on these rules and the Row Safe guidance will be issued from time to time as appropriate as will additional specific guidance.

The purpose of these rules is to maintain a safe culture in rowing and support everyone involved in the sport to achieve this.

The club has a responsibility to provide information, education and training about safety. Individuals have a responsibility to find out, learn, question and put this into practice.

Safety Notice Boards
The club will maintain a designated safety notice board; this will contain a list of vital numbers relating to safety in general and emergencies in particular as well as other important safety related information. Individuals should actively make themselves aware of the contents of safety notices and positively contribute to the topics displayed.

Risk Management
The club shall ensure that its activities have undergone a suitable and sufficient assessment of risk and that activities are as safe as necessary. Safety Plans and Emergency Action Plans will be published and communicated as appropriate. Individuals must read, understand and comply with any rules, advice and guidance given. They must assess the risk of their own activities and manage them to a tolerable level, seeking guidance if necessary.

The club shall ensure that insurance cover is held appropriate for its activities. Individuals shall ensure that they are covered by insurance for their rowing activities. The British Rowing Members’ Insurance Scheme covers the vast majority of rowing activity undertaken by individually registered members. However, as with all insurance matters think about what you do and ensure that your liability for your insurance obligations to a third party are adequately covered and you have personal insurance appropriate to your needs.

Club Safety Plans
The club will produce and communicate suitable Safety Plans for members to follow and actively promote a culture of safe practice. These Safety Plans will highlight local hazards and navigation rules. They will also contain appropriate emergency contacts. Individuals must read, understand and follow the Safety Plans asking for help and guidance if required.

Competition Safety Plans
A Safety Plan will be produced to cover competitions. This Safety Plan will identify the risks involved in the event and outline steps to be taken by organisers, officials and competitors to minimise those risks. Pertinent parts of the Safety Plan and more specific safety instructions will be sent to competing clubs prior to the event. The Competition Safety Plan will be reviewed following the competition and updated accordingly. Competitors have a responsibility to make themselves aware of any safety instructions given and observe those instructions.

Training Camps
If any training camps are organised the club safety rules apply to all those involved and the minimum standards set out in Row Safe will be complied with. Training camp organisers shall make suitable and sufficient risk assessment prior to the activity and ensure that insurance cover is in place. Individuals will familiarise themselves with the rules that apply to the training camp and comply with them.

The club will set out rules and guidance for outings covering local weather conditions, inform members of these rules and guidelines and ensure that they are observed.
Individuals will assess the weather and water conditions for the duration and type of outing they are undertaking and adhere to the rules and guidelines available. Individuals must also be aware of their personal limitations and the local conditions and act accordingly; they should also respect the concerns and capabilities of other participants and crew members.

Cold Water Immersion
No matter how good a swimmer a person is sudden and unexpected immersion in cold water causes an initial cold shock that affects the ability to swim, hypothermia can quickly take effect. The club has a responsibility to control the risk of cold water immersion before outings commence. Individuals must comply with any rules, guidance and instructions given. They must be aware of their own capabilities and respect the capabilities of others.

Swimming, Capsize or Swamping
The club will ascertain that members participating in rowing meet the minimum swimming standard, that members are provided with information regarding capsize and advice on precautions for those who do not or cannot meet the minimum swimming standard. Individual participants must inform the club of their swimming ability, attend any test, training or practice required by the club. They must also be aware of what to do in the event of capsize or swamping.

Safety Aids
The club will provide and adequately maintain sufficient lifejackets, buoyancy aids, throw lines and space blankets to cover the needs of the club and its activities. The club will provide training as appropriate and have procedures in place for the checking and maintenance of these safety aids. Individuals should familiarise themselves with the use of any safety aids and follow the club rules on their use. All lifejackets must conform to the relevant standard. All coxswains must wear an approved lifejacket or buoyancy aid on top of all other garments when in a boat. In ‘front-loader’ boats only a manually operated lifejacket can be worn to allow easy and unrestricted escape from the boat. All launch drivers and passengers must wear an approved lifejacket or buoyancy aid on top of all other garments when in a launch. Lifejackets and buoyancy aids should be stored properly in a suitable place. Lifejackets and buoyancy aids must be checked by the intended user prior to use and not used if faulty. Any fault must be brought to the attention of the club.

Steering and Navigation
The club will provide advice and training for those who steer boats and ensure that steering equipment is suitably maintained. A plan of the local water and instructions on circulation patterns will be displayed at the club. These along with any relevant local bye-law will be pointed out to those who steer boats. Individuals will check the steering equipment on any boat that they intend to use before the outing as part of their normal boat checking. Any defects must be reported. Individuals will make themselves familiar with any circulation patterns and local rules and comply with any instructions given. They will report any transgressions of navigation rules to the club. When using the River Nene all boats must keep to the starboard side (Cox’s right-hand side) of the centre line of the river. All bridges must be navigated with caution through the centre arch. Boats going downstream (i.e. towards the Dog in a Doublet) have the right of way over those coming upstream. Turning of boats should be done downstream of any bridges. When turning at The Staunch (upstream) end of the river, boats are not permitted to go beyond the road bridge before turning. At The Dog in a Doublet (downstream) end of the river, boats should not approach closer than 250m from the lock before turning. Crews may overtake other boats only when the river is seen to be clear and it is safe to do so. For a distance of 1Mile downstream of the Fitzwilliam bridge there is no speed limit, crews must therefore exercise caution on this stretch of the river owing to the possible presence of speed boats. Stationary crews, whether resting or being coached, should not be in a position to cause a hazard or annoyance to others. When rowing on The Lake the circulation pattern as displayed in the club must be adhered to at all times except during regattas when separate instructions apply. When rowing on The Lake during the hours of darkness crews must have permission from the chairman his deputy or other member of the Rowing Committee, display a white light showing ahead and a red light showing astern. Care must be taken when entering the River Nene from ‘The Cut’ due to the possible presence of motorised traffic or returning crews as well as stream on the river. While on the river vigilance should be employed regarding the presence of fishermen with ‘long poles’. At all times when going afloat on either river or lake, crews should endeavour to make themselves aware of the presence of other boats or crews already afloat. Extra caution is needed when launching or pushing-off from the landing stages being mindful that other boats may be coxless. Boats launching or pushing-off should wait or give way to approaching boats. When fog is present consideration must be given to conditions before going afloat, if in doubt ask for guidance.

Boats and Blades
The club shall ensure that all equipment used for rowing, sculling or coaching is properly and regularly maintained, is safe and adequate for its intended purpose. Instructions and training will be given in the checking of equipment as is necessary and appropriate. Any new boats purchased, including private boats stored and used at the club, must comply with the relevant buoyancy standard and be plated accordingly. Older boats should be assessed and additional buoyancy put in place as necessary. Boats must be fitted with a suitable ‘Bow-ball’ as well as effective heel restraints. Individuals must check any boat or equipment that they intend to use is in a safe condition and working order prior to each outing, including the checking of any additional buoyancy device that is fitted. Any defect must be reported to the club prior to use. Prior to going afloat the ‘boat tag’ must be filled in and left in the appropriate tray. On return it must be cleaned and attached to the boat. This system serves to inform others who is on the water.

Launch Driving
Only those deemed competent by the club chairman or his deputy will be permitted to drive club launches, all occupants will wear lifejackets on top of all other garments and clothing suitable for the prevailing conditions. Launches are to be suitably maintained in good condition. Adequate launch cover will be provided for competitions. Launch drivers will ensure that they are familiar with the particular launch that they are driving, report any defects that they find and obey any local rules. If a launch is to be used for rescue purposes it should be fit for that purpose. The maximum load of the launch should not be exceeded.

Trailers and Transport
The club will ensure that any vehicle or trailer used by the club is suitably maintained and insured. Only those deemed suitable and instructed to do so may drive vehicles and tow trailers under the control of the club. Drivers will obey club rules and instructions when driving or towing on behalf of the club and will be responsible for their own standard of driving on the highway. Drivers should ensure that the vehicle and any trailer are in a fit state to use, pay attention to prevailing conditions and be mindful of the length of any journey and breaks that may be needed. When necessary a trailer loading plan or suitable instruction will be given.

The club will ensure that all beginners are given an effective induction with suitable emphasis on safety and safe practice, ensuring a higher level of duty of care is promoted with juniors, adaptive rowers and vulnerable adults. The club supports the principle that safety is everyone’s responsibility. Individuals will attend induction activities and follow advice given; they will take an active part in gaining knowledge and information about safety related issues and take responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others affected by their activities. Information will be given and recorded in accordance with the club’s membership policy. All new members must be aware that rowing and its training activities are strenuous and be aware of the potential health risks associated with strenuous exercise and must bring to the attention of the club any relevant pre-existing medical condition to allow the club to consult, as appropriate, the club medical advisor. All matters will be dealt with confidentially and sympathetically. Beginners are not permitted to use the river until deemed competent by the chairman or his deputy.

British Rowing define junior as anyone under the age of 18. The club will ensure that juniors have an effective induction with an emphasis on safety, safe practice and respectfulness for others. A high standard of duty of care will be promoted for and among all juniors. Juniors will be encouraged to realise that safety is everyone’s responsibility.
The safety and welfare of the individual junior will be the overriding principle. All matters will be dealt with confidentially and sympathetically. Before activity takes place the club will record the individual junior’s swimming ability, obtain written permission from a parent or carer to act ‘in loco parentis’ for the administration of first aid or other medical attention if the need arises, contact details for emergency contact, obtain written consent by a parent or carer before any activity takes place; this must contain information about any pre-existing medical condition to enable the club to consult, as appropriate, the club medical advisor. The club must also obtain written permission from a parent or carer before taking or allowing any photographic material in any form. Juniors will attend induction sessions as requested and follow the advice and guidance given. They will take appropriate responsibility for their own safety and others affected by their activities and ask a coach, club official or welfare officer about any aspect which causes concern or they are unsure about. Coaches must ensure that these rules are adhered to, be an excellent role model by maintaining appropriate standards of behaviour and lead by example. They must respond to any concerns raised by juniors and exercise a higher level of duty of care. Coaches must understand The Safeguarding and Protecting Children Policy and any relevant guidance. Coaches should ensure that they do not work in isolation. All club members shall be aware of the duty owed to juniors and act accordingly.
Juniors are not permitted to use the river until deemed competent and accompanied by a Coach or senior competent adult.

Adaptive Rowing
In addition to the clubs standard safety and welfare practice the club will discuss with the individual their needs and aspirations and will involve and include carers as appropriate.
The club will establish procedures for managing incidents involving adaptive rowers; seek advice on suitable equipment and check suitability if adaptations are made. A risk assessment will be made for each individual adaptive athlete to enable an action plan to be produced. Suitable rescue facilities will be in place as required for the activities taking place. Individuals and their carers, as appropriate, will inform the club about any relevant disability or illness and any known ‘warning signs’, check equipment is safe to use and appropriate to their circumstance, seek advice and provide information as appropriate. They should also keep the club up to date with any changes in their circumstances.
Coaches will identify ability and develop a needs analysis for each individual, they will have an understanding of the individual’s disability or illness and any necessary emergency action; seeking practical advice to address needs within their duty of care. Coaches will communicate information and seek advice where appropriate.

Indoor Rowing and Training 
The club will ensure that all equipment used in the gym is maintained in good order.
Instruction will be provided as appropriate to the individual using the equipment.
Individuals will follow instructions and guidance given, wear appropriate clothing and maintain hygiene standards. They will inform the club of any reason that may put them at risk due to illness or injury. Individuals must check equipment prior to use, keep floor areas tidy and take responsibility for their own safety and those involved in activities around them. Coaches involved will manage activities under their control; check regularly on individuals identified as being at risk and run sessions in accordance with club rules, guidance and good practice. Juniors must not use the gym equipment unless supervised by the junior coordinator or delegated appointee.

Incident Reporting
Incident reporting including near misses helps to provide important learning points. The club will foster a culture of reporting of incidents and near incidents and channel these into the British Rowing reporting system. Individuals will make the club aware of any incident or near incident that they are involved in or witness. Coaches will do likewise. An incident reporting log will be made available at the boat house and monitored regularly.

Safety Audits
The club will ensure that an accurate annual safety audit is completed and channelled through British Rowing reporting system. The club will review the findings of these audits at committee level and implement recommendations as appropriate to its circumstances.
Club officers, individuals and coaches will cooperate and assist with this process.

Sunburn, Heatstroke and Exhaustion
The club will advise members about the risk of sunburn, heatstroke and exhaustion and any local guidance relating to these issues. Coaches will be mindful of these issues and advise and act accordingly. Individuals will comply with advice and guidance given and take personal responsibility for precautions including the need to take on fluids, wear suitable clothing including a hat as well as the use of suitable sun block bearing in mind the length of potential exposure.

First Aid
The club will consider first aid within any safety plans. First aid boxes will be provided and clearly identified in accessible places. Individuals will make themselves aware of the location of first aid facilities, report any usage or shortfall of materials from these facilities.
It should be borne in mind that Peterborough District Hospital Accident and Emergency unit is extremely close to the club facilities.

Water-borne Diseases
The club will provide information on diseases most likely to be encountered by club members, either on home waters or when visiting other venues. Individuals will follow advice and guidance given and should adopt good standards of hygiene. Water from the lake or river should never be used for drinking or splashing onto body or face. Suitable footwear should be used when launching or retrieving boats. Neither coxswains nor rowers should be thrown into the water no matter how tempting. Individuals should keep any immunisations up to date.

The club and individuals have a duty to be proactive in their approach to lightning and to act in a safe and responsible way. The 30-30 rule as suggested by British Rowing is to be used as guidance.

• When you see lightning, count the time until you hear thunder, if this is 30 seconds or less (meaning the storm is approximately 10km away) seek proper shelter.
• If you cannot see lightning and can only hear thunder, it is time to seek proper shelter.
• Wait a minimum of 30 minutes after the last lightning or thunder before leaving shelter.
• A typical storm moves at approximately 40km/hour, giving approximately 15 minutes to seek shelter.

On the rowing lake the only proper shelter is the boathouse and there should be time to row back, de-boat and shelter. On the River Nene finding proper shelter is more difficult, it may well be safer to stay in your boat than standing exposed on the (higher) bank. Whether you stay stationary in the boat, drawn into the bank, or seek to return to find or take shelter elsewhere will depend upon your location when lightning is first observed.

General and Sundry

  • Coaches etc who use bicycles need to exercise vigilance and care regarding other cyclists, pedestrians and dogs.
  • When in the boating areas athletes need to be aware of and exercise care regarding other people whether club members or members of the general public.
  • Access to the river is prohibited at times of strong stream or flooding.
  • The river may not be used during the hours of darkness.
  • Recreational swimming is not permitted in the Rowing Lake at any time.
  • Courtesy should be shown to all other members, members of the public and other water users at all times.
  • The club operates a boat tagging system, members and boat users must make themselves aware of this system and use it.
  • Separate and specific rules and guidance will be issued to visiting clubs who use the rowing facilities controlled by the club.
  • In this document the term British Rowing is used for the governing body of the sport of rowing. In previous documents the term ARA (Amateur Rowing Association) is used, for the application of this document the two are interchangeable.
  • The terms Rowing and Sculling are interchangeable as appropriate to the application of this document.