Safety Guidelines


  • 1.1 Hillingdon Rowing Club fully supports and implements the British Rowing RowSafe Guide. The Management Team, through advice received from the Club Water Safety Advisor, will take all possible steps to ensure that the Club remains compliant with the RowSafe Guide.
  • 1.2 Hillingdon Rowing Club members have a responsibility for their own safety and a duty of care for those that they train with and are encouraged to use the guidance contained within this document as a basis for their safety practices. Furthermore Hillingdon Rowing Club members are reminded that if they wish to compete for Hillingdon Rowing Club in British Rowing affiliated events that they will need to be a registered member of the British Rowing organisation and that all registered members of the British Rowing organisation have agreed to abide by the guidance given in the British Rowing RowSafe Guide. Copies of the British Rowing RowSafe Guide can be found via the British Rowing website and the Hillingdon Rowing Club website; a hard copy is also available at the club premises.
  • 1.3 Every club member is encouraged to assist the Management Team in making continuous improvement to the club’s safety practices through the adoption and exercising of these safety guidelines.
  • 1.4 Everyone involved with the club has a Duty of Care to ensure their actions both on and off the water are conducted in a manner which does not compromise the safety of others. Adults also have a personal responsibility for their own safety.
  • 1.5 These guidelines have been set out by Hillingdon Rowing Club and do not necessarily reflect the practices of other clubs.
  • 1.6 You Must
    • Complete a capsize and swim test at the first available opportunity upon joining, or if a junior, before going afloat, in accordance with club rules.
    • Be in good health and wear suitable clothing.
    • Wear a lifejacket for coxing, and when on a launch.
    • Record any accident via the British Rowing website.
    • If coaching, take overall responsibility for the crew.
  • 1.7 All members should directly challenge any member or water user who is seen to be non-compliant with the RowSafe or the above guidelines and report it to the Club Captain, Club Water Safety Advisor or a member of the Management Team.
  • 1.8 All accidents on or off the water, whether involving personal injury or damage to equipment or not, and involving either club or private boats, or any near-misses, defined as taking a significant action to prevent an accident occurring that would not normally require an action, should be recorded online via the British Rowing website (
  • 1.9 The Management Team reserve the right to take disciplinary actions against any member(s) who act in an irresponsible or unsafe manner on or off the water. This right applies to members using their own equipment as well as those using club equipment.


  • 2.1 The Management Team will undertake periodic safety inspections of the Club’s fleet and equipment, and will record any reported issues in line with the boat repair process as outlined in Section 1.8.
  • 2.2 All members should report any unsafe, damaged or missing equipment, immediately to a member of the Management Team, who will make an assessment as to the onward suitability of that equipment to be used at the time of reporting.
  • 2.3 Before using club or private boats please check the following items to make sure the equipment is safe to use.
    • Bow Ball
      • Securely fitted, no cracks or splits
    • Heel restraints
      • In good condition and not frayed
      • Heels only come up so far above the stretcher to allow full movement
    • Bungs or corks
      • Check these are in place and secure
    • Steering equipment
      • Check rudder cables are free and have full movement
      • Check for frayed cable
    • Rudders and fins
      • Check rudder and fin are not bent
      • Free and full movement of rudder
    • Riggers
      • Secure and operating freely
    • Oars and Sculls
      • No damage
      • Buttons are secure and properly set
    • Hatch Covers
      • Secure and watertight


  • 3.1 Launches must be used as per the HOAC requirements and so can only be under the control of persons with a RYA Level 2 certification.
  • 3.2 Drivers and those accompanying drivers on launches shall wear life jackets at all times whilst afloat.
  • 3.3 The Hillingdon Rowing Club’s own lauch can only be used agreed in advance by the Captain.
  • 3.4 All launch drivers must carry an appropriate form of communication device to summon help where necessary.
  • 3.5 All coaching launches and safety boats shall carry the following safety aids:
    • A bailer, and, for inflatable rubber dinghies, a suitable inflation pump and a spare inflation valve.
    • A sound signalling warning device, capable of attracting attention over at least 200 metres.
    • A throw bag.(at least 25m line)
    • Thermal exposure blankets.
    • A basic first aid kit (contents recorded and checked as before).
    • A safety knife or rope-cutter.
    • Spare PFDs (Personal Floatation Devices)
    • Length of spare rope
    • A paddle.
    • Simple handholds fixed to the side of the launch to give help to any person being rescued and provide self-help should the driver fall overboard.
    • Engine cut-out lanyard device.
    • Mooring lines.


  • All members are to complete swimming & capsize training at the first available opportunity upon joining the club regardless of having completed one at another club. All members must be able to demonstrate competence and confidence in the following.
    • Swimming at least 50m in light clothing (front and then on back)
    • Treading water for at least 2 minutes
    • Swimming under water for at least 5 meters
  • 4.2 The Capsize Training will consist of the following, note not all the following elements will be assessed at the same time as the swim test:
    • Getting on top of the boat
    • Lying on top of and paddling a boat
    • Summoning Help
    • Buddy Rescue
    • Recovery using a throw line
    • Getting back into the boat
    • Developing confidence in the boat
  • 4.3 Prior to sculling unsupervised all elements of the capsize training is to be signed off by a club coach.


  • 5.1 No beginners or Juniors (under 18) should go out unaccompanied at any time. They should always be accompanied by a coach, preferably in the launch.
  • 5.2 No Novice / inexperienced coxes should cox inexperienced crews – ensure that novice crews have an experienced and competent cox and that novice coxes are trained in an experienced and competent crew.



    • 6.1 Crews are reminded that, especially during the winter months, the risk of hypothermia from wearing insufficient clothing or with inexperienced crews not moving vigorously enough to generate sufficient body heat is a real danger. Ensure that you are all wearing several thin layers of appropriate clothing, preferably with a waterproof garment on top. Coxes, especially, should be well protected, including hats and gloves (preferably waterproof). If layers are removed during the outing they should be put back on as you return to the boathouse to ensure you do not chill while waiting to disembark.


  • 6.2 No boats are to go afloat within 30 minutes of a lightning flash or thunder clap
  • 6.3 In the event that you are on the water when a lightning storm starts then you are advised to get off the water as quickly as possible and seek proper shelter.
  • 6.4 Although no place is absolutely safe from lightning some are safer than others and ‘proper shelter’ can be:
    • an enclosed substantial building with electric and telephone wiring and plumbing to provide a safe pathway for the current to earth to the ground.
    • a fully enclosed metal vehicle with windows shut. This acts as a Faraday cage and guides the lightning around the passengers – mini-buses are an excellent shelter for large groups of people.
  • 6.5 Unsafe locations and situations are:
    • open spaces – field, lake, small rain shelters, trees, umbrellas, tents & marquees
    • close vicinity to the tallest structure in an area
    • near metal or carbon objects – riggers, boats, blades, trailers, launches, etc.
    • using electrical appliances or plumbing such as water taps, sinks etc.


    • 10.1 The water we row upon 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 upon our internal systems.Members are advised to:
      • Never drink water from a river or lake
      • If contaminated water has been swallowed, refer to your doctor with full details of the incident
      • Only drink from your own water bottle
      • Always shower after contact with the water
      • Wash hands thoroughly and shower if necessary before eating or drinking
      • Do not throw your coxswain into the water
      • Cover cuts and abrasions (including blisters) with waterproof dressings
      • Wear suitable footwear when launching or retrieving a boat, particularly if it is necessary to wade into the water to prevent direct contact with the water and protect the feet from cuts and abrasions
      • Avoid immersion in, or contact with, water, particularly if there is an algal scum or bloom
      • Do not splash river or lake water onto your face or body in order to cool down (take a bottle of tap water with you for this)
      • Keep oar handles clean particularly if contaminated with blood
      • Wash, and thoroughly dry, any contaminated clothing before re-use
      • Maintain your immunisation regime against Tetanus, also Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Polio, Typhoid and Dysentery when training abroad
    • 10.2 The British Rowing Water Safety Code has its primary concern, the prevention of accidents involving physical injury, damage to equipment and at the worst, drowning. There are other risks to health associated with water based activities which arise from the micro biological or chemical quality of the water itself and of its immediate environs. The use of inland waters can never be risk free and it is essential that as users, we are aware of the risks present.

Weill’s Diseases – Leptospirosis

    • 10.3 The risk of contracting Leptospirosis from recreational water is very small, however the serious nature of the disease is such that we must be aware of the dangers and should take simple precautions to reduce the risk of infection.
    • 10.4 Leptospirosis is an infection caught through contact with infected animal urine (mainly from rodents, cattle or pigs).
    • 10.5 The causal organism can enter the body via cuts or abrasions of the skin or, the lining of the nose, mouth, throat or eyes. If flu-like symptoms develop shortly after contact with the water (1-3 weeks) then your doctor should be contacted and advised of the circumstances of exposure.

Blue-Green Algae – Cynobacteria

    • 10.6 Cynobacteria are commonly found in fresh and brackish water during mid to late summer. In favourable, stable conditions, blooms may form. Algal scums accumulate downwind on the surface of lakes and slow moving water. Toxins produced by large blooms have caused the death of sheep and dogs and skin and other disorders in humans, although no particular illness has been identified that can be linked with Blue-Green Algae.

Gastro-intestinal illness

  • 10.7 The use of inland water will never be risk free and it is essential that users are aware of the risk involved in using a particular stretch of water.
  • 10.8 Assessing the risks posed by water quality is difficult as conditions can vary substantially in a very short space of time. In general, the health risk will depend on the number and proximity of sewage effluent discharges in any particular body of water.
  • 10.9 There are currently no micro-biological standards for recreational water and at present only the powers provided under the Public Health Act 1936 – Section 259 to deal with “any pond, pool, ditch, gutter or water course which is so foul or in such a state as to prejudicial to health or a nuisance” provide us with protection.
  • 10.10 Many organisms causing gastro-intestinal illnesses (eg Salmonella) can be found in water contaminated with sewage and extra precautions should be taken when rowing on flood-water and water known, or suspected, to contain sewage


  • 11.1 A First Aid Kit containing plasters, sterile dressings, eye wash and a list of Emergency Responders is located in the corridor of the boathouse by the door. If for whatever reason you need to use any of the contents of the first aid kit, note in the book provided those items you used and inform the Club Water Safety Advisor.


  • 12.1 Prior to each trip the driver must check the tyres (including spare), lights, projection markers and the security load, jockey wheel and brakes.
  • 12.2 All trailers must carry a spare wheel and suitable tools and jack for changing a wheel.
  • 12.3 Drivers must always carry a passenger to help with navigation, maneuvering, and any emergency.
  • 12.4 Always be aware of the dangers of high winds and icy road conditions and consult the weather forecast before setting off.
  • 12.5 Any loading plan is to be approved by the driver prior to loading the trailer. The driver is responsible for ensuring all boats are securely loaded and evenly balanced.