Avon County Rowing Club

You are here: Home > About the club > Safety Policy >

Safety Policy

January 2004

Download this safety policy as a PDF

1. If there is an emergency phone 999 as soon as possible. If there are people around ask whether one of them has a mobile phone or knows how to operate the telephone in the boathouse. If you are by yourself try the houses across the A4. If that fails the nearest phone box is up the hill in Saltford.

2. Responsibilities for the safety conduct of the Club’s activities lies with the individual members. The club has its own Safety Policy which is given to all members with their membership application form. The member’s signature on the application form acknowledges the reading of the Safety Policy and acceptance of its contents. (N.B. The signature of a parent/guadian is required for all members under the age of 18.)

3. First Aid equipment can be found upstairs above the bar in a green box. Thermal/exposure blankets are also upstairs above the bar. A life buoy is on the inside of the main boathouse door. Life jackets for coxing and use of the launch are upstairs in the changing rooms. Displays on water safety, life saving and resuscitation procedures can be found upstairs. A Plan of the local waterway pointing out local hazards and rules is attached to these guidelines. If there is demand the safety advisor will organise First Aid courses for members of the club. All members should be aware of the ARA Water Safety Code which is on display in the
boathouse and can be borrowed from the safety advisor.

4. The club maintains adequate comprehensive insurance to cover personal injury on and off the water and personal injury and damage to property or third parties. All members of the ARA are also insured through that organisation.

5. Members under the age of 18 should not be allowed to use boats unless they are supervised by a qualified coach. The same holds for novice oars-persons and coxes until the captain decides that they are sufficiently proficient.

6. Before and after every outing:

  • Sign outing out in log sheet found upstairs in boathouse kitchen area (Coaches keep a log of all junior crews separately)
  • Check for leaks.
  • Check buoyancy compartments, seals and ventilation bungs.
  • Check outriggers, swivels, seats and stretchers for security.
  • Check that heel release mechanisms are effective.
  • Check rudder-lines, steering mechanism, rudder and fin.
  • Check the bow ball. Every boat has to have a firmly attached white rubber ball of at least 4 cm diameter.
  • After all outings the bungs or buoyancy compartment traps should be removed to allow ventilation.
  • Sign outing back in on log sheet

7. Do end your outing before sunset and certainly do not go out on the river when it is dark.

8. Do not go out in rough weather or when the Avon is flooded. If you are in doubt ask a qualified coach or safety advisor. 
Qualified coaches and committee members have the authority to suspend rowing activities if they think the conditions are too dangerous.

9. All coxes have to wear a life jacket (conforming to BS3595 or CE approved).

10. Members of any crew including the cox have to be able to swim 100m fully clothed. Junior members must take part in capsize drills and all others members are also expected to attend these sessions which are held at regular intervals.

11. If you find that equipment is damaged mark it clearly and tell the equipment officer or any other member of the committee so that it gets repaired quickly. There is a log book to note any such damage to equipment.

12. An accident log is maintained and available for inspection. It states details of incidents and is situated on the notice board downstairs. All cases involving injuries have to be reported to the regional council, ask the safety advisor for details.

13. Items 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 apply to privately owned boats whether they are stored in the boathouse or not. Club boats are n ot allowed on the water if any of the above rules are violated, private boats may go out but not use the Club 's landing stage. However, the owners are reminded that they may invalidate their own and the club 's insurance if they do go out with a boat that does not comply with the safety rules.

14. Land training should be properly supervised. All members should be made aware of the benefits of warming up and warming down to avoid injuries. Weight lifting should only be undertaken after instruction in the use of correct techniques.

15. Use of the Launch

  • Driver and passengers need to wear lifejackets (BS3595 or CE approved) or buoyancy aids at all times when afloat.
  • Make sure the launch has the following equipment before you go out: a bailer, a sound signalling warning device capable of attracting attention over a distance of at least 200m, 15m grab line with a large knot or throw bag, thermal/exposure blankets, life buoys and jackets, basic first aid kit (with contents list), sharp knife in carrying sheath, a paddle, simple band-holds fixed to the side of launch, engine cut-out lanyard device, an anchor. 

Navigation rules


Map of river

1. Normal river navigation rules apply. That is remain at all times to the right hand side of the river. The only exception to this is the first bridge (railway) upstream from ACRC boathouse. Here because of the constriction boats may pass on either side of the bridge. Be aware of boats travelling on left or right of the river.

2. Always boat off and return to the landing stage in an upstream direction

3. Always look out regularly for other river users and water craft. They may NOT know normal navigation rules.

4. At busy times there can be many boats on the river. Call out to boats that seem to be unaware of your presence and getting too close : ‘LOOK AHEAD!” If you are in doubt SHOUT anyway – it is better to upset a training piece than run the risk of any accident!

5. Learn and be familiar with international conventions of PORT and STARBOARD.

6. Always turn around shortly after passing the ACRC boathouse downstream since it is dangerous to be too close to the Saltford weir.