Safety and Confidence on the River

Here are a few pointers which should be useful in gaining more confidence on the river. If you are unsure about any aspects of safety on the river, please feel free to ask any club member.

All members should be familiar with the Code for River Safety when the Environment Agency Warning Boards (Yellow or Red) are displayed at Teddington Lock. This code is mandatory to all and is displayed on the Boat Shed doors. For the avoidance of doubt, when the Red EA warning board applies, no crews may boat uncoxed except in singles and no crews may boat in darkness and must come off the water before darkness falls.

Please be aware of what boats you can use- novices should use the novice doubles and singles only.

If you unsure, err on the side of caution.


  • Get to know the different types of boats
  • Be aware of what boats you can use
  • Look after the boats and report any damage to the vice captain


  • Watch 200 yards ahead and behind as crews may not hear or see you
  • Be aware of other people’s abilities- for example an experienced passenger boat, sailing boats and a Sunday morning hire boat
  • Be aware of the capability of your crew- age, strength, concentration and experience.


  • Be aware of the effects of the stream
  • To steer in a straight line- find an object far away, above bow or stern and keep it there
  • Imagine the course as a line on the water
  • Use short pulls on the rudder when the blades are out of the water
  • Turn the boat using the stream

Responsibility of the Cox

  • Nothing should be done without an instruction or permission from the cox
  • Ensure the crew understands basic commands- Easy All, Hold it Up, Back it Down, Bow and Stroke side


  • Keep to the right
  • When skiffing upstream, keep close to the bank
  • When skiffing downstream, keep towards the centre
  • If there are sailing boats around, keep to the bank
  • When starting and finishing an outing, always, start and finish upstream

Other things to learn are the various boat parts- feel free to ask!