Pre-row safety guide

It is every rower’s responsibility to assess the risks of every outing. If in doubt, seek advice or change your plans – a missed outing is better than taking unnecessary risks. The considerations rowers should make before taking to the water are detailed in our one-page pre-row safety guide.

Before leaving home

  • What is the weather forecast – wet, cold, hot, windy?
  • Has the Captain or VC sent out a late email or text altering arrangements?
  • Is your clothing suitable for conditions?
  • Have you packed a full change of clothing in case you get wet or capsize?
  • Do you have a water bottle for rehydration?
  • Do you need suncream or any medication?
  • Are you well and able to cope with an outing?

Club grounds and boathouse

  • Are the grounds, boathouse and landing stages clear of hazard – trips or ice?
  • Are the Covid-19 arrangements in place and have you used them?
  • Is access clear to your boat and are you able to safely carry and launch it?


  • Are you aware of the competence and capability of yourself and your crew including the cox?
  • Are you or the crew able to cope with current and forecast weather and flow conditions?
  • Are all crew members wearing appropriate clothing for the conditions?
  • Has everyone remembered their drink bottle?
  • Is bow wearing a bright top?
  • Will you be rowing alone, is it safe and have you permission to do so?
  • If rowing at night or in difficult conditions has a crew briefing been given?


  • Are you clear on the action to take in an emergency?
  • If you capsize do you have a plan?
  • Do you know how to call for assistance?
  • Do you know where the defibrillator is located?


  • Is it safe to launch in current or forecast weather conditions?
  • If icy can it be cleared to make it safe and avoid damage to the boat
  • Is the flow on the river safe for the crew?
  • Should a check be made on the meadow where it is less sheltered?
  • Should advice be sought from more senior club members.


  • Is the boat suitable for you and your crew?
  • Have you undertaken pre-launch checks – riggers, gate, seat, runners, hull, blades, cox-box?
  • Have you agreed the launching plan, who is commanding and considered best positioning of crew to carry the boat?
  • If necessary is it clear to turn the boat on land or on the water.
Pre-Row Safety Guide