This section sets out the water safety policy of London Rowing Club and must be adhered to by all members. Information within this section explains how risks can mitigated and what actions to take in the advent of an issue.

Safety is an issue managed at Committee level, decisions are taken by the committee and must be adhered to by all members. The Water Safety Advisor advises the committee and members on safety on the water. Safety within the club building is overseen by the Hon House Steward. Questions or concerns can be raised to the Water Safety Adviser (WSA)


Make a risk assessment
Rowing on the Tideway
Guidance for Rowers and Canoeists on shared water

For 2019 events:
Boustead Cup risk assessment
Boustead Cup safety plan instructions

Safety plan






  6. Annex 2 – STEERS POLICY


All steers and coaches must be familiar with the Tideway code and navigation rules contained within. 

A copy of the circulation pattern, including key hazards and emergency points is located on the ground floor water safety notice board.

Hazardous conditions

There are some circumstances that make conditions and usual hazards more dangerous. In the following circumstances a risk assessment should be considered before boating, or the outing plans suspended:

  • Heavy fog (where the Fulham wall is not visible from the Embankment) and other low visibility

  • High winds

  • PLA warning flags (see below)

  • Thames Barrier lowered

  • Extreme temperatures

  • Thunder storms/lightning

  • Extremely high/low tide predicted

PLA Warning System

All steers and coaches must be familiar with the PLA’s flag status before boating. This can be found on the PLA and LRC websites.

  • Green = navigate with caution and maintain a good look out

  • Amber = Fluvial flow stronger than average – schools, novices, juniors and those below Experienced (crew boats) and Expert (1x/2x-) level should not boat unless agreed a with an accompanied by a qualified and paid coach.

  • Red = Fluvial flow is higher than usual and extreme caution is urged. Expert steers in crew boats only.

Black = Fluvial flow is less than usual and lower than predicated tides are expected. Navigate with caution at low water.


All members are responsible for reporting incidents (see Rules and Responsibilities). Incidents must be reported as soon as is practical to the captain and CWSA and where required via the British Rowing online system within 24 hours. 

Al incidents will be reviewed by the CWSA who will take the decision to escalate to the rowing subcommittee or club committee where necessary. Actions required will be agreed by appropriate Officers of the club.


Telephones and contacts

Telephones are located:

  • Payphone: Fairbairn Room

  • Free phones: The office, the catering office (access through kitchen or bar)

  • Additional telephones for emergency use can be found at KCS boathouse, next door to LRC. 

In event of an emergency call 999 and ask for the required service (request Coast Guard for on the water emergencies). The address of the club is ‘London Rowing Club, Embankment, Putney, SW15 1LB.’

Club officials contacts can be found in the office and on the water safety notice board.


A defibrillator can be found next door at King’s Wimbledon. There is currently no defibrillator in the club.

First aid kits can be found in the office and behind the bar. Please ensure any item taken from the first aid kit is reported to the catering manager and all incidents requiring attention are recorded in the accident book/s, located next to the external door by the lift (water related incidents) or behind the bar (land based incidents).

Throw bags are located in each launch and should not be removed. Any use of the throw bags should be reported to the WSA, Captain, British Rowing (via online reporting system) and Chief Coach. Throw bags will be checked after each use and/or annually at ‘club pride day’.

Lifejackets are required for all coxes and launch drivers/passengers. Lifejackets are found in the equipment room next to the ground floor disabled lift. Self-inflating life jackets must not be used in bow loading boats – the method of inflation is marked on the reverse side of the lifejacket. Any deployment of a lifejacket must be reported to the captain and WSA and if appropriate recorded in the incident book and reported via the British Rowing online system. Lifejackets are tested and serviced yearly on Club pride day. Anyone using their own personal lifejacket takes on responsibility for ensuring that it is in good working order and has been tested. 

Additional heel restraints and bow balls can be found in the workshop. It is the responsibility of each crew to check these items before boating. Any use of spares must be reported to the Head/Assistant Coach so adequate stocks can be maintained. 

A hypothermia prevention bag containing dry clothes can be found in both the men’s and women’s changing rooms. All use resulting from an incident on the water must be recorded in the incident book and reported via the British Rowing online system. Bags are checked yearly at Club Pride Day.


Responsibilities of all members and coaches

Each member has a responsibility to ensure the safety of themselves, their crew and other river users. All members are expected to be familiar with and/or comply with:

  • British Rowing Row Safe Guide;

  • the PLA’s Tideway Code;

  • LRC’s club byelaws; 

  • LRC’s Steers policy; and

  • all reasonable instructions from the Captain, Chief and Assistant Coaches and Water Safety Advisor.

Failure to so do may result in suspension of steering and/or boating privileges, even in privately owned boats.

Launch drivers

No launch driver should go afloat without a kill cord. Kill cords must always be used and secured firmly in place. Launch drivers must wear a suitable lifejacket or personal floatation device (PFD) when on the water. Any launch driver paid for their work must hold a RYA power boat certificate. Voluntary drivers must have been given training by a qualified or suitable instructor and be familiar with how to perform a rescue from within the launch and the tideway code.

Coxes and steers of crew boats (and their crews)

Coxes and steers have legal responsibility for their crew. Coaches and other crew members must respect this at all times and should not ask or encourage a cox to perform any activity or take any action that is unsafe or violates the Tideway Code. Coxes/steers have a responsibility to ensure that safety of all crew members and must raise concerns if they are asked to do something that is unsafe (e.g stopping or starting pieces under bridges).

Steers policy

All steers must be accredited and can only boat in conditions appropriate to their accredited level, or if accompanied by an Expert or paid coach who has carried out an assessment to ensure that conditions are safe. It is the responsibility of the individual member to ensure their level is recorded in the Club Office once it has been agreed by the captain, (paid) coach or WSA. A copy of the Steers Policy can be found on the notice board above the signing out book on the ground floor. 

Rowing at night

Rowing at night is restricted to:

  • Crews boats steered by Advanced steers and accompanied by a launch

  • Crew boats steered by Tideway Experts (preferably accompanied by a launch)

  • Single sculls steered by Tideway Experts accompanied by a launch or in flotilla

  • Single scullers steered by Tideway Experts who were a suitable floatation device AND have received permission from the LRC Committee

No individual should boat alone after dark unless given express permission by the Committee to do so, coaches must ensure they stay within shouting distance of another boat or crew.

No rowing boat should navigate below Putney Bridge after dark under any circumstances.


All rowing boats are required to have FOUR working white lights attached to the boat canvass (A steady beam on the stern, a flashing beam on the bow). Crews without sufficient lighting must not boat. All launches are equipped with a lighting bar than must be fixed and checked prior to going afloat in poor light or in any circumstance where visibility may become poor.

Annex 1 


In the event of capsize, collision, ill health or equipment failure resulting in a boat being un-rowable the first priority must be getting all people involved to a place of safety and out of the water. The safest course of action in the event of capsize is nearly always to stay with the boat.

In the event of capsize the crew should follow the guidance in the British Rowing Row Safe document (section 3.7). 

Use the capsized boat as a floatation device to reach the shore. In cold weather be sure to get as much of your body as possible out of the water. Do not attempt to paddle directly to the shore, instead aim for a diagonal point in the direction if the prevailing stream. All members of the crew should attempt to stay together.

Use of safety launch

Extreme care must be taken in performing rescues into a launch. Launches should be loaded from the side to avoid capsize. Where possible engines should be switched off and extreme care taken near the propeller. In cold weather or if unwell individuals removed from the water should be taken to the nearest boathouse.

The launch driver should alert the Coastguard as soon as possible in any situation where there are multiple people in the water or in cases of unconsciousness or severe ill health.

All launch drivers have a responsibility to rescue anyone in need, not just members of LRC.


Hypothermia is a serious concern after a capsize and can be serious if not treated. Hypothermia is a drop in body temperature below 35C (normal temp is around 37C). Early symptoms include:

  • Shivering

  • Cold and pale skin

  • Slurred speech

  • Fast breathing

  • Tiredness

  • Confusion

In several cases, or where you are unsure always call 999. NHS advice on first aide for hypothermia is to follow these five steps:

  1. Move them indoors

  2. Remove wet clothes and dry them

  3. Wrap them in blankets

  4. Give them a warm non alcoholic drink but only if they can swallow normally

  5. Give energy food that contains sugar (if they can swallow normally)

Avoid the following actions:

  • Do not put them in a hot bath

  • Do not massage their limbs

  • Do not use heating lamps

  • Do not give them alcohol

Annex 2


Tideway Steering at LRC: Updated 2018

Our obligations

  • The PLA/TRRC requires that all Tideway clubs keep a record of members who are competent to steer as a cox, in a single, or in the bows of a coxless boat. 

  • All clubs who intend to train on the Tideway should make sure that the cox/steer of the boat is a Tideway Expert or is supervised by a Tideway Expert. 

  • Each steer should be certified according to their level of expertise (follow the links to see a detailed explanation of each level).

  • Annually / after any significant changes to the Tideway Code we are required to run update sessions or inform their certified steers of changes by email. 

Each squad at LRC has an organiser/leader who is responsible for ensuring members of their group are categorised, acting in a safe manner and obey the navigation code, they can escalate concerns or seek advice from the LRC Water Safety Advisor (WSA) when they need to. That individual will be a point of contact for the safety advisor on any issues with members of that squad should it be required and will be used to cascade messages and information. They may be asked to help the WSA when matters concerning their squads are raised by the PLA/TRRC or help the WSA in giving additional advice or training to crews that have been involved in an incident or are subject to a complaint, on the rare occasions where this occurs. These individuals are responsible for ensuring anyone within their group is accredited to seer at the appropriate level and that lists are compiled and sent to the office to be held/updated as required.

The list of squad organisers is below (please notifying the WSA with any changes)

Irregulars: Eddie Markes

Millennials: Tim Grant /

Masters: Bob Silver /

Squad: Rob Dauncey /

Learn to row: Lina Brazinskaite

Water Safety Advisor: Jessica Pearce /



Allowed to steer a boat only when accompanied by a coaching launch with an approved coach, the coach will take responsibility for the behaviour and safety of the steersperson (although legal responsibility always rests with the steer) in mild conditions. 

The coach must be someone approved by the ‘squad organiser’ and be deemed a tideway expert




Anyone below Intermediate including all learn to row and novice members will be classified as beginner until they qualify for the next level (see below)

Beginner/Learn to Row crews should remain in coxed boats until regatta season, or if starting in the summer for the first 3 months. No beginners should steer in the dark, during wind, fog or strong/unusual tides

All beginner crews must have a safety launch with them. This should be 1:1 for crews with beginner steers (including coxes) or a maximum 3:1 if the coxes are advanced/expert level. All crews must remain insight of the coaching launch at all times.

NOTE: beginner crews carry a higher level of risk than other crews as those rowing will lack the skills and awareness to get out of trouble if required, therefore the steer level of the cox/bowsteer does not set the boating permission level.

A beginner may go out in a double with a tideway expert if they have permission of an appropriate person (see below).



Allowed to scull unaccompanied in good conditions and in daylight

Allowed to steer/cox a crew boat during sessions with appropriate safety launch cover or if accompanied by a Tideway expert in the boat (safety launch can be supervising multiple crews) in daylight and good conditions

Allowed to cox a crew containing tideway experts (at least half crew) without a launch in daylight and good conditions


  • Is familiar with the Safety and Navigation documents required by the club and the PLA (Tideway Code, Coxing on the Tideway, introduction to steering on the tideway)

  • Given a water safety and navigation induction by Qualified Coach, WSA or TRRC

  • Coaches/Squad Organiser satisfied the person can:

  • Work out which way the river is flowing and be aware of how this affects navigation 

  • Cross the Tideway quickly and safely

  • Aware of obstacles and hazards

  • Has the physical and technical skills required to manoeuvre and control the boat


Beginners can move up to Intermediate once they have undergone a full navigation briefing, passed a written multiple choice or verbal test given by an appropriate person or squad organiser  and been observed at least three times by a coach. New rowers are expected to have rowed a full season before moving up.

All new club members that have at least two years rowing/coxing experience (at competition level) can pre qualify as intermediate once their competence has been verified by an appropriate person.



Is competent to scull and steer a boat without a safety launch present provided there are no adverse conditions prevailing eg:

  • When it is dark or is about to become dark 

  • When there is a very strong stream running 

  • If there has been a severe weather warning 

  • If there are white horses on the water at the beginning of the outing 

  • When the Fulham wall is not visible through fog

In these cases if it is deemed safe to go afloat steers must be accompanied by a safety launch (to a sensible ratio for the conditions)


  • Satisfies all requirements above (at Intermediate)

  • Has successfully steered/sculled supervised on the tideway over a number sessions in various conditions

  • Is deemed to have the skills as a rower/sculler/cox to cope with a variety of condition by an appropriate person or squad organiser

  • Passes an advanced written or verbal test on the tideway code given by an appropriate person


Sign off as above

Anyone steering the tideway for the past 2 years or more that has been signed off by a coach as competent can pre qualified as Advanced.

Intermediate level steers can qualify as Advanced if they meet the requirements on the left.


Tideway Expert

Can steer unaccompanied at any time on own risk assessment


  • Familiar with the Tideway and its hazards from Westminster Bridge to Richmond Lock at all states of the tide (on the ebb and flood) 

  • Able to apply the Tideway Code 

  • Able to perform their own risk assessment prior to boating 

  • Has experience steering in the following conditions (on the tideway) AND has been deemed Expert by appropriate person

  • Extremes of high and low tides

  • During strong stream conditions

  • High winds (white horses)

  • Fog

  • During darkness


Squad organiser can automatically  sign off any member as Expert if they have been on the tideway more than 4 years and coach/Captain/WSO are content they are safe and abide by the code. New members or coxes from other tideway clubs known to an appropriate person may also be given automatic status if appropriate.

Newer members can be signed off if they have been observed and found to be safe over time in the conditions listed by a coach or person approved by the WSO/Head Coach.

This permission can be revoked at any time should the steersperson give cause for concern.

Advanced steers can move up to expert only when they can fully satisfy the conditions listed on the left AND have been deemed expert by an appropriate person.

Appropriate Persons 

Club Captain, Chairman, WSA.

Qualified Coach (either a paid coach or as deemed by the Captain/Chairman)