Living Boat Trust Safety Plan for Rowers

Now we are into better rowing weather it is a good time to review our rowers safety plan. 

Rowing has become an important part of weekly Living Boat Trust activities. Our members gain a variety of benefits from joining in the set activities offered by the Trust. We develop social networks, exercise, hone our rowing skills while enjoying our magnificent river environment.

The Living Boat Trust encourages use of its boats, however, the underlying principle is safety of members and their guests. All boats are fitted with flotation as a safety measure and there are sailing and rowing safety plans in place for all users of boats to follow.

Many factors combine to keep crews safe, the greatest of these is your own common sense. If you’re not comfortable with the conditions on the day or, if it doesn’t feel right, say so, make necessary changes or do not proceed.

Factors that MUST be taken into account:


Always check weather forecast before rowing:

For social rowers:

  • Do not go out in winds above 20 knots. (1Knot =1.852 km/hour. As a guide 18 knots generally produces white caps on the waves);
  • Do not go out if the flood warning is above ‘minor flooding’;
  • Do not go out if thunderstorms are forecast for the time you are on the water.

For advanced rowers:

  • Do not go out in winds above 30 knots;
  • Do not go out if the flood warning is above ‘moderate flooding’;
  • Do not go out if thunderstorms are forecast for the time you are on the water.

2. COX

The cox oversees the safety of the boat and rowers.

Crews MUST follow their instructions.

Safety items to check before rowing:

  • 2 phones are in the boat that include a list of recovery personnel;
  • 2 bailers are in the boat;
  • If rowing in company of other boats, keep those boats in eyesight;
  • Follow the red and green channel markers;
  • Be observant to hazards and other water users;
  • Ask for assistance if unsure of what to do;
  • When changing seating positions in the boat ensure the boat has a safe area in which to drift:
    • Ideally, only two people to move at one time;
    • Oars to be moved to the sides of the boat to ensure a clear walkway;
    • hands are best placed on fellow rower’s shoulders (rather than gunnels where they can be squashed by oars).


  • One at a time, under instruction from the cox;
  • Give assistance to rowers that require it;
  • When returning the boat to the pontoon all rowers to ensure hands are not caught between the boat and the pontoon;
  • When disembarking, make sure the pontoon is clear of oars and other paraphernalia to enable safe disembarkation.


  • Wear the appropriate clothing for the weather;
  • Life vests (PFDs) MUST be worn and correctly fitted;
  • All Life vests/PFDs MUST be up to date with MAST standards;
  • Bring drinking water;
  • Follow directions of the cox – ONE voice in the boat;
  • Wear suitable shoes – not boots or gum boots that can fill with water.

If an incident occurs:


Crew assess the situation and determine what action is required:

  • Crew member needed a rest and can return to rowing;
  • If a crew member cannot continue rowing and needs to leave the boat remaining rowers return boat to LBT where the crew member can be taken home or to health professionals;
  • If the crew member becomes acutely unwell e.g. chest pain, unresponsive or loss of consciousness, Call ‘000’ for assistance. Look up Google Earth for closest drop off point and to give accurate location to emergency services;
  • Complete an incident report on return.


Crew assess the situation and determine what action is required:

  • Row back to LBT if possible. On your return report damage to Mike Hewitt;
  • If unable to row back, stay with the boat and ring for assistance from the rescue list;
  • Call ‘000’;
  • Reassure all crew;
  • Complete an incident report on your return.

Additional Safety Measures

All crews to view Person overboard video:

‘Man overboard recovery on You tube British Rowing 15 Jan 2019’

During warmer weather at least one boat to demonstrate a capsize exercise.

List of terms and actions used in skiff rowing, these include:

back rowing – designated rowers row the opposite way to normal rowing;

easy oar – stop rowing;

hold water or check the boat – all rowers put their oar blades in the water to stop or slow the boat

bow pair – rowers in seat 1 and 2

stroke pair – rowers in seat 3 and 4

ship oars – remove oars from the rowlocks and lay length ways in the boat

To begin rowing – “Forward and ready, Give way together”

All rowers are advised to learn names of positions and parts of the boat.

Rescue Boat Contact list.

Emergency services -000

Peter Laidlaw – 0467 655 574

Richard Forster – 0497 786 572

David Conway – 0407 593 348

Mark (Bella Luva) 0466 955 719

Matt Gogarty – 0408 527 464

Mike Dredge – 0429 476 437

Mike Hewitt – 0417 376 884

Huon Jet Boats -6264 1838

Wooden Boat Centre- 6266 3586

April 2022