Safety Policy

Newcastle University Boat Club

Health and Safety Policy





Risk Assessment











In the appendix you will find up to date info on:

  • Committee and coaches list
  • British Rowing information
  • Reporting Incidents
  1. Risk Assessment


Safety Notice Boards

•        Board will display all safety information form British Rowing

•        Board will display the ‘Tyne water safety code’

•        Board will display Boat Club Health & Safety Policy

•        Board will display map of the Tyne

•        Induction of all new members will include introduction to the notice boards, instructions for safe navigation on the Tyne by the water safety officer. This will occur in the first practicable instance.

•        Notice board to provide information on which personal floatation devices are suitable for different craft.


Risk Assessment

•        Risk assessments will be written according to AU guidelines

•        Coaches or Safety officer are to assess water the weather conditions prior to sessions – this will be documented at Newburn

•        Risk assessments for training camps elsewhere than the Tyne to be produced by Safety Officer if required

•        A standardised risk assessment for general training shall be submitted at the beginning of the year by the safety officer

•        Risk assessments will be provided for any races which the club hosts.

•        All members should directly challenge any member or water user who is seen to be non-compliant with the club’s safety policy and report it to the President, coach or safety officer.



•        The club does not currently host any competitions but will provide documentation of these changes.



•        The club will have full insurance organised through the AU to cover all training and social activities.

•        Coaches are covered by insurance provided by the sports centre

•        All insurance claims must go through the AU activities manager


Training camps and unfamiliar water

•        Safety plans will be drawn up for training camps

•        Local and host safety guidelines will be followed when attending events on unfamiliar waters



•        Wind, stream, tide, debris, temperature and swell will all be considered prior to sessions by a coach or safety officer.

•        Visibility is deemed safe if visibility is greater than 250m. This is determined by the ‘green building’ on the far bank. <250m visibility means NO WATER SESSION

•        Should visibility reduce to less than 250m whilst on the water, the crew will return to the boat house at paddling speed, keeping close to the bank.

•        In the event of electrical storms, the session will be abandoned immediately

•        When rowing in the dark, rowing craft and launches should be fitted with a white bow light visible through 360 degrees, these must not flash.


Cold water & hypothermia

•        Stay with the boat in any capsizing event, it is your flotation device (see 1.8)

•        Anybody at risk of hypothermia should be directed to the club first aiders to assess for signs of hypothermia. A poster on the signs and symptoms of hypothermia is on display in the boathouse.

•        Appropriate clothing will be outlined by the safety officer to all novices before any water sessions commence at the beginning of the year.

•        First aid boxes in launches should include 9 foil blankets for use in the event of a capsize

•        Information on hypothermia, dry drowning, collapse, and shock to be provided on the safety notice board


Swimming and capsizing

•        All members are to complete a swimming and capsize test 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, treading water for 5 minutes, swimming under water for at least 5m. This test must be completed within 3 months of joining the club. Before the test is taken, members must wear a buoyancy aid if they feel they are not competent swimmers.  This test is organised and documented by the club safety officer

•        Information on capsizing is available on the safety notice board and on the British rowing website. It will also be made clear to both new and current members before they take to the water, that information on what to do in the event of a capsize is available on the safety notice board.

•        In case of a capsize, you should follow these guidelines

1. STAY AFLOAT. Avoid submersion of your head and face;

2. STAY CALM. Know that the effects of cold shock will pass.  

3. STAY WITH THE BOAT. If rescue is likely, stay with the boat.

4. GET OUT OF THE WATER. Get yourself or as much of your body as possible out of the water as quickly as possible.

5. STRADDLE AND PADDLE if on a single In a single scull, if there is no-one to rescue you, or if other dangers are present then with your torso over the upturned hull, paddle the boat with your arms to the nearest point of safety.

6. DON’T SWIM Unless rescue is immediately to hand or other danger is imminent, don’t swim. Cold water can impair your swimming ability no matter how good a swimmer you are in a warm pool. Tests of Olympic swimmers showed that cold water severely affected even their ability to swim. Do not make the decision to swim even a relatively short distance in cold water, you may not make it! When in the water you may underestimate the distance that you do have to swim.

7. If you are separated from your boat or remain immersed away from the shore. H.E.L.P yourself! If you have something that floats then hold onto it. Adopt the heat exchange lessening posture (HELP) posture if you can, this will be easier if wearing a PFD. If in a group huddle together or link together and adopt the help posture. Keep facing your nose and mouth away from the oncoming waves. Remain as still as possible to conserve heat, treading water and swimming will increase heat loss.



•        Nothing in the above removes the ultimate responsibility of safety from the individual. If you are not happy to go out after taking into account the prevailing conditions/equipment suitability/your own competence, regardless of what the coach says, then you can and should say no.

  1. Equipment


Safety Aids

•        Launches must carry a first aid kit in a waterproof bag, 9 foil blankets, a spare kill chord, a knife, a throw line, a bailer and a paddle. Anything used from these equipment must be reported immediately to the safety officer.

•        Boats are a floatation device for the crew. In the event of a capsize the crew are encouraged to stay with the boat, climbing on top to reduce chances of hypothermia until rescue arrives. Boats are only buoyant after capsizing if hatch covers are in place, or inflated flotation bags are in place under seats when no hatch covers are fitted to the boat. It is the crew’s responsibility before boating to check that one of these is sufficient. Defects should be reported to the Boatman immediately and the boat should not be used until rectified.

•        Boats are fitted with heel restraints to aid exiting a boat in the event of a capsize. It is the crew’s responsibility before boating to check that these are sufficient. Defects should be reported to the Boatman immediately and the boat should not be used until rectified.

•        Boats are fitted with a bow ball to decrease severity of impact. It is the crew’s responsibility before boating to check that these are sufficient. Defects should be reported to the Boatman immediately and the boat should not be used until rectified.

•        Each person in a launch and all coxes must wear a lifejacket

•        Notice board to provide information on which personal floatation devices are suitable for different craft.

•        Lifejackets to be worn as the top layer in all cases.

•        Coxes in bow loaded boats to only wear manually inflating life jackets. All other instances may use automatic



•        Linked to 1.1 (coach or safety officer or a Senior Club member of relevant experience in their absence, must assess weather and water conditions prior to boating)

•        Detailed navigation guidelines for the Tyne are available in the River Tyne Rowing Clubs Safety Information, available on the safety notice board. All coaches, coxswains and steersmen should be familiar with this before boating.

•        A crew must never travel above the white house without a coaches permission

•        Keep to the right hand side of the river, travel through the correct arches of bridges. No boat has right of way over the centre channel. Particular care should  be taken to remain on the correct side around bends and resist the temptation to cut corners, as this is potentially extremely dangerous.

•        Display of local water navigation and safety rules available on safety notice board including bridges and local obstacles.

•        New hazards to be reported to safety officer or safety launch as soon as possible for review of navigation rules.

•        All launch drivers, steersmen and coxswains have adequate information on the safety notice board as to safe river navigation on the Tyne. If they do not feel competent, they must tell a coach before boating.

•        It is the coxswain or bowman’s responsibility to check steering equipment is working before an outing.

•        New information from the Port of Tyne authorities or any other noteworthy safety information will be displayed on safety notice boards or emails by the safety officer

•        All vessels must adhere to circulation patterns on both the Tyne and other waters.

•        Any incidents as a result of poor steering including near missed should be reported to the safety officer and on British rowing website by the safety officer

•        Boats are to boat from and land on the landing stage against prevailing conditions (against the net movements of tide, wind and stream). If the landing stage is occupied, you should cue close to the bank. If the cue extends to Newburn bridge, you should circulate until there is room for your crew.

•        It is advised on the Tyne Safety Code that particular care should be taken between Newburn bridge and the Slipway. You should be ready to slow down and stop when necessary. You are asked to avoid doing race pace in this area. This is where beginner crews predominantly train and they are less manoeuvrable than experienced rowers.


Boats and oars

•        Each crew is responsible for checking the equipment is safe to use before boating and must inspect the boat after finishing an outing. Any defects must be reported to the Boatman and the boat should not be used until the problem is rectified. Guidelines for a safe to use boat are available on the ARA website, (should be on the Safety Board) if you are unsure – don’t boat. Crew must check blades and boat, heel restraints, bow ball, all nuts are tight, steering equipment, flotation bags, hatch covers, hull for damage and loose parts

•        Any damage is to be reported to the boatman as soon as possible. The boatman will assess if the boat is safe to go on the water again

•        Information on the safety notice board to inform crews how to check their boats for damage/malfunction

•        All boats to carry correct registration according to British rowing (e.g. NEW180)

•        All launches to carry registration stickers

•        All boats to meet FISA/British rowing safety standards. This information is available on the BR website and safety officer should make any updates available on the safety notice board.


Launch Driving

•        Only persons approved by a coach or safety officer may use a launch, except in the case of an emergency.

•        If a launch driver does not feel they can safely operate and rescue a crew, they should not use the launch, but seek advice from experienced launch drivers.

•        Launches should carry safety equipment, as detailed on the safety notice board

•        Guidelines for safe operation of a launch are on the safety notice board and must be adhered to

•        All occupants must wear clothing appropriate to the weather conditions

•        All occupants must wear a life jacket

•        Occupants advised to carry a mobile telephone in a waterproof case

•        Launches should follow local navigation rules

•        All launches should assist anyone in distress on the Tyne, not just NUBC rowers


Transport and trailering

•        Laws of trailering to be followed, as set out by the DVLA.

•        Drivers must be under insurance provided by the University. They will have been trained on a ‘vehicle familiarisation’ course, run by Estates. Only experienced or trained drivers are used to tow.

•        The driver of the vehicle or trailering vehicle should assess the load, overhand and any other guidelines set out by the DVLA , it is his/her sole responsibility.

•        No club owned boats to be transported on car roofs

•        Boats should be tied down adequately with ties and checked by the driver prior to departure.

•        Spare ties should be carried in the towing vehicle

•        It is advised that drivers carry at least one passenger when towing  loaded trailer

•        Drivers are advised to take regular breaks on long journeys

  1. Participants



•        Novices should be briefed by their coach on how to safely manoeuvre equipment around the boathouse

•        Coaches of novice crews should observe water conditions as in section 1.6 and appreciate that novices may not cope as well as seniors in adverse conditions.

•        Novice crews should remain visible by their coach in a launch at all times and within audible distance (<250m)

•        Anybody attending the session and suspected to be under the influence of alcohol will not be allowed to train or coach until sober


Experienced rowers

•        May be on the water without constant supervision

•        Single scullers must not go past Scotswood bridge unless at least one other rowing boat or launch is within visible distance

•        Crew boats may be on the water on their own

•        Anybody attending the session under the influence of alcohol will not be allowed to train or coach until they are sober.


Security of boathouse

•        Boathouse should be locked, following this check list. Lock engine cage. Lock petrol cage with all 4 tanks inside. Check landing stage for any blades left out. Close 3 x shutters. Lock warm room door. Check windows in kitchen and women’s changing room are closed. Lock tin shed, both ends. Lock front door and set alarm. Close and padlock entrance gate.

•        Even if you have not accessed all parts of the boat house, you should still run through everything on the locking procedure checklist.

•        Estates and University security are available via telephone should there be any problems setting the alarm or with security. These telephone numbers are displayed on the safety notice board and on the entrance door to the boat house and tin shed.

•        The boat house should always be locked when you boat for an outing. Even when few people are in the changing room, the shutters and doors should be closed.



•        There are no junior members and the club does not accept them



•        There are no adaptive members, although if this changes the relevant documentation will be drawn up.



•        There are no touring members, although if this changes the relevant documentation will be drawn up.



•        There are no coastal members, although if this changes the relevant documentation will be drawn up.


Land training

•        All activities at the sports centre are covered by their sports centre induction and safety policies

•        All new members should be inducted by the sports centre.

•        Each member should clean the ergos with antibacterial cleaner and wipes after their session.

•        Any incidents should be reported to British rowing and the safety officer

•        Any indoor events will be accompanied by a risk assessment before hand



•        A committee list is provided in appendix

•        Roles for committee members is provided on the constitution available at



•        All coaches must be ratified by the sports centre and hold relevant insurance.

  1. Monitoring


Incident reporting

•        All incidents should be reported to safety officer

•        All incidents will be documented online with British rowing by the witnesses and safety officer

•        And incident report must also go to the AU through the safety officer

•        Contact details of safety officer available on the safety notice board

•        Incident reporting advice provided on notice board

•        All incidents in the spots centre should be reported to a member of sports centre staff


Safety auditing

•        Annual water safety audit to be completed by safety officer and sent to regional contact for British rowing

•        Review findings to be reported at next committee meeting for urgent changes to be made if needed

  1. Health


Sunburn, heatstroke and heat exhaustion

•        Make all participants aware of the dangers of the sun and heat (safety notice board)

•        Sunscreen and adequate clothing in hot weather is advised

•        Advise anybody suffering from sunburn or heatstroke to get in touch with a first aider or the safety officer.


First aid

•        Detail all first aiders within the club are on the notice board

•        A first aid kit is provided by the club. Anything used from this should be reported to the safety officer so that it can be restocked

•        The Boatman and Head coach hold a first aid kit also


Water borne diseases

•        Information is provided on water borne diseases on the safety notice board

•        Hand wash are showers are available in changing rooms to clean hands and shower if necessary before eating

•        Anybody who has swallowed water from the Tyne should notify a medical professional

•        It is advised to not share water bottles

•        It is advised to not splash river water onto your face or body in order to cool down

•        It is advised to cover cuts and abrasions with waterproof dressings

•        It is advised to wash the oar handles after each use, particularly if contaminated with blood


Changing rooms and warm room

•        The changing rooms and warm room should be left in a tidy state so that the cleaner can access all areas to clean.

•        Rowing kit should not be stored for long periods of time in the changing rooms

•        Lockers are available to all club members to keep valuables safe. Keys are available from the Boatman

•        Members should wash up any cutlery and crockery that they have used as soon as they have finished with it

•        Bikes should never be left in the warm room, there is space in the tin shed available for these. It is advised to wear a helmet when cycling to the boat house and to follow the rules of the road.

•        No wet or muddy footwear is to be worn in the changing rooms or warm room, they should be left on the welly racks

•        Riggers should be left either between the boat racks or on storage racks, not in gangways


Boat stores

•        These areas should be kept as tidy as practicable at all times

•        Wellies must be replaced on the welly racks provided. Any wellies left elsewhere in the boathouse will be removed

•        Bikes should be left neatly in the tin shed only

•        When moving in the boat bays, people should be very careful of the boats and riggers that protrude at unexpected angles and heights

Created 18th May 2016 and checked by:

Benjamin  Holt, Safety Officer, NUBC

Katherine Bulmer, Secretary, NUBC

Nick Beall, Facilities Service Manager, Newcastle University



  1. Committee and coaches list:
    • President – Alex Turner
    • Men’s Captain – Will New
    • Women’s Captain – Megan Barry
    • Secretary – Katherine Bulmer
    • Treasurer – James Stevenson
    • Safety officer – Benjamin Holt
    • Kit officers – Rob Fuller and Lola Anderson
    • Social secretaries – Fred Crawshaw and Fiona Chestnut
    • Publicity Officer – David Stephenson
    • Welfare Officers – Jack Smith and Chloe Deyermond
    • Sponsorship and Fundraising Officers – James Robson and Hannah Taylor
    • Head coach – Angelo Savarino
    • Assistant/Novice coach– Ciro Prisco
    • Womens coach- Alex Leigh
    • Boatman – Alex Leigh
  2. Safety information and general information on British Rowing can be found at and, members of BR will also be able to sign in.
  3. Incident reporting can be done at ‘’ or go to and follow ‘incident reporting’. All incident reports to the Athletic Union should go through Benjamin Holt and Mark Bennett.