Radios | Launch Drivers | Safety


The aim of the MRC Safety Plan is to ensure that all members and visitors are made aware of the safety requirements of rowing, sculling and related activities at Marlow so that they may participate safely.

2 The Safety Plan is supplementary to the ARA Water Safety Code of Practice, which is the overall authoritative document and which is displayed at the Club. The requirements apply to both Marlow and Cookham Reaches and to Club members when operating away from MRC except where local safety procedures are issued for the location visited. These instructions are also to apply to crews visiting MRC and any other person boating from the premises


3. The MRC Committee has appointed a Safety Adviser who is responsible for advising on all safety matters both on and off the water. The Safety Adviser is a member of both the full Committee and the Rowing Sub-Committee (RSC). The contact details for the Safety Adviser are displayed in the Boathouse.

In order to provide safety supervision during Club training sessions, a Duty Safety Officer (DSO) will monitor activities at MRC during the period 0730-1230 at weekends or as separately notified. Any coach or competent rower will be liable for this duty as notified by the Safety Adviser. The responsibilities of the DSO are as promulgated on the Safety notice board in the Boathouse. The safety supervision by DSO is normally provided during the winter months of November to March. This period may be varied by a decision of the rowing sub committee.


All members of MRC are responsible for complying with the ARA Safety Code of Practice, the MRC Safety Plan and any instructions issued by the officers of the Club in respect of safety. Any individual failing to comply with these instructions, or behaving in a way which jeopardises the safety of himself, or any individual or group of individuals, must answer to the RSC and may be suspended from rowing or have his/her membership terminated.

6.Individuals are responsible for declaring on joining the Club, their swimming ability and confirming the absence of any medical or physical condition precluding heavy exercise. Anyone joining the club is required to complete a form confirming their good health. For junior athletes this is to be signed by a parent or guardian. They may have an existing medical condition which most of the time does not preclude them from rowing. Details of any such conditions will be listed on their membership forms and transferred to a medical information form by the membership secretary. The medical information form must then be held and kept up to date by the head coach of each squad who is responsible for ensuring that only coaches of the squad have access to this confidential information


7 Safety Lights. MRC operates a Safety Light System. Red, amber and green lights indicate to members the current regulations which apply. Indicator lamps are located externally above the boat bays and internally in the entrance hall of the Boathouse. Control of Safety Lights When there is a safety officer on duty, the state of the lights is controlled by the captain or duty safety officer. At all other times the state of the lights is controlled by the captain, safety adviser or any club appointed coach. The definition of each state is as follows:

RED - No Boating, No Exceptions, and No Excuses – applies to both Marlow and Cookham Reaches.

AMBER Adverse Conditions, Restrictions Apply. All boats upstream of Bridge. Any person wishing to boat, must be entitled to do so under the Rowing and Sculling Proficiency Scheme or have specific dispensation from the Captain or Safety Advisor.

GREEN Normal Safety precautions apply. Normal Restrictions apply and a green light does not necessarily mean that an individual is competent to cope with the conditions.

RED/AMBER CONDITION The Red and Amber lights will both be switched on when, subject to strict application of the following rules, training can take place in marginal conditions: Red/Amber will apply ONLY on Saturday and Sunday club training sessions between the times of 0730-0930 and 1030-1230. The decision to set the lights to RED/AMBER rests with the captain and he must remain on the premises while the lights are in this state. The captain should consult with senior coaches prior to making the decision to set the lights to RED/AMBER. Only very experienced crews with the Captain’s permission may boat and only Eights, Fours and Quads will be permitted on the river. Doubles will exceptionally be allowed if conditions permit. Full safety cover is to be provided in accordance with the previously agreed safety plan. Each crew must be accompanied by at least one coaching launch unless there are more than three crews on the river in which case there should be three launches on the river stationed at the boathouse, Bisham church, and Temple in addition to any used for coaching. All boats are to have turned upstream of the club and under no circumstances are boats to go below the bridge. Scullers and Rowers who have standing Captain’s permission to boat in Amber conditions are not permitted to boat in Red/Amber conditions without the specific approval of the Captain. Captain’s permission to boat under Red/Amber conditions will apply only to a specific training session. The warning light will be returned to Red on completion of the Red/Amber sessions. All crews and individuals are to comply with the traffic circulation patterns for the Marlow Bridge and Temple Mill Island ends of the Marlow reach. The patterns are displayed at the Boathouse and on the website. All crews and coaches are to ensure that the circulation pattern appropriate to the safety light state is used.

Condition of Equipment. Prior to use, all equipment is to be checked to ensure that it is serviceable and appropriate for the purpose for which it is intended. Any unserviceabilities are to be reported using the forms on the Boathouse notice board.

All accidents are to be reported to the Captain and the Safety Adviser. An Incident Report form (ARA water safety code Appendix 4) is to be completed for incidents occurring on the river, which result in personal injury or boat damage. The incident report form is to be passed to the Safety Adviser as soon as possible. Emergency Services are to be contacted by the best means possible as appropriate to any accident or emergency situation.

First Aid Box. First Aid boxes are located in the Gym, Kitchen and the Eight’s Bay. Accidents are to be recorded in the record books held in the Kitchen or Eight’s Bay first aid box.

Launches. Launches are to be used only by drivers authorised by the Captain and as checked out by the Boatman or the Safety Adviser. The list of current approved drivers is maintained by the Safety Adviser. All drivers and passengers are to wear lifejackets. The driver is responsible for ensuring that a launch rescue kit is carried. Any items used or missing are to be notified to the Safety Adviser as soon as possible. Drivers are to ensure that launches are handled with consideration to other river users and that the rules of the river are complied with. Guidance for all Launch drivers at MRC is detailed at Annex A and includes that published by the ARA. The launches are designed to carry two persons, the driver and the coach. In the event of a capsize recovery operation the maximum number of persons on the launch may exceed two persons in order to safely convey athletes to the bank or boathouse. The rules and operating instructions for the use of the Club radios are as detailed at Annex B.

Coxswains. The wearing of lifejackets by coxes is compulsory and novices are instructed in the operation of manually operated gas inflated lifejackets. If front-loaders are being coxed, care is to be taken to ensure that the lifejacket does not prevent a cox from escaping in the event of a capsize or sinking. The cox is responsible for overall safety of the boat and crew.


All Coaches are to be ARA qualified with IA as the minimum standard and supervisors are encouraged to obtain C.A. standard.

Coaches are to ensure that: Crews are aware of the appropriate safety procedures. Crews use safe rowing/sculling equipment. The outing is conducted appropriate to the prevailing weather and water conditions. Consideration is shown to other water users. Crews are appropriately dressed for the session. The Coach is to be particularly alert for symptoms of hypothermia and heat stroke / dehydration. In particular, when coaching young children, the whole crew should be dressed suitably. When coaching coxed boats, care must also be taken to ensure that the cox is properly dressed. Particular attention is paid to the coaching of coxes as their competence is essential to water safety as well as the crew’s success. When coaching from the bank a throw line and radio is taken when appropriate. The coach/athlete ratio for junior athletes should be one coach to no more than ten junior athletes. Also there must be no more than twenty junior athletes from each squad on the water at any one time. i.         

Junior athletes under the age of 18 are not allowed on the water unless attended by a coach.

Rowing and Sculling at Night. In accordance with the EA rules, all rowing/sculling boats must show lights after sunset. A white light, mounted on the boat to both bow and stern, must be shown. LED lights are permitted. Flashing lights are not to be used as main lights. Lights should not be fixed to the riggers as they can be obscured when negotiating bends and turning.

Unescorted Outings.Outings by individuals and crews outside of the normal club training sessions are to be booked out using the board mounted adjacent to the boat bays. An estimated return time is to be stated along with crew details. Individuals are to ensure that they book in on return to avoid false alarms.

Lifting of Boats. Coaches and crews are to ensure that every care is taken to prevent injury when lifting boats in and out of the racks and the river. One person is to be in charge or the manoeuvre, giving clear instructions before and during the lift.


19.Gym. No Junior members or School Club members may use the weights while unsupervised by qualified Coach or delegated supervisor. All members using weight training equipment are periodically checked for technique by B.A.W.L.A. qualified instructors.

20.Fire. In the event of a fire the Boathouse is to be evacuated and the Compleat Angler car park used as a muster point. An attempt is to be made to account for individuals. Members are responsible for the safety of their guests

21. No Smoking Policy. The Club has a No-Smoking policy and smoking is not permitted in any part of the Boathouse. Members are responsible for ensuring that their guests are briefed accordingly.

22.Telephone. There is no telephone at the club. A list of useful numbers is displayed on the wall in the entrance to the club and on the river side of the boathouse.

23. Kitchen. Users of the kitchen and it’s cooking appliances are to ensure that care is taken in their use, that the cooker is not left unattended when in use and that all appliances are left safe when finished with. Furthermore, work-tops, crockery etc are to be left in a clean and hygienic state.

24. Car Park. Extreme care is to be taken by all members when using the car park in order to prevent injury to people on foot or carrying boats whose vision may be obscured.

25.Members of the Public. Owing to the nature of the premises, members of the public frequently enter the site in the belief that there is public access to the river. All members are to exercise care and attention to prevent members of the public being injured and are to, if appropriate, politely ask them to leave the premises for their own safety.


26.Drivers. Only individuals authorised by the Club are to drive the Club truck and trailers. All drivers are to be conversant with the ARA Code for the Towing of Boat Trailers.

27.Trailer Loading. When crews are travelling to regattas or alternate training locations, the Boatman will detail the trailer loading plan and attach it to the Club notice board and trailer. Loading is to be strictly in accordance with this plan and the driver is to check compliance with the plan prior to departure. The driver is to ensure that all boats and equipment is safely secured prior to departure and that the necessary requirements for rear projections and lighting are observed.


28. Safety is a standard item on both main Committee and RSC agendas, and is reviewed at every meeting.

29. Safety can only be consistently achieved through a process of good communication, education and periodic review. If any individual identifies any safety related issue which is not documented, or that they feel others can learn from, they can make a significant contribution by discussing the topic with the Safety Adviser who can then take the appropriate action.

Richard Lewis

Safety Adviser

Marlow Rowing Club