STEERAGE AND NAVIGATION ON THE TIDEWAY
Anyone steering a boat on the Tideway has to meet a certain level of ability and be signed off in accordance to Sons of the Thames safety criteria. Sons of the Thames Members rowing and navigating on the tideway need to have competed the Steerage Theory test as well as a practical test in a 4x-. In order to take a single scull out on the tideway un supervised the rower needs to have completed the single competence test as well as the capsize drill. Coxes will need to complete the test in an 8+
The safety officer must have written proof in order to ensure you are fully insured to row un supervised on the Tideway.
Download the theory test and some Useful link to help understand and complete the theory test
REQUIREMENTS FOR COXES, STEERS, SINGLE SCULLERS AND COACHES.
- Keep a good look out, the advice for single scullers and bow steers is to look round at least every five strokes.
- Be signed off as competent to steer the kind of boat you are in. Authorised steers are “Master of the Vessel” and legally responsible for the navigation, safety and behaviour of the crew.
- Log all your outings out and in.
- Make sure your boats are properly lit
- Make sure all safety equipment is in working order. Eg: bow ball, heel restraints, hatch covers, lifejacket, cox box, launch safety kit
- Assess the risks before every outing.
- Launch drivers should always use a kill cord and life jacket
- Be able to perform an emergency stop, back down and spin
- Don't take the launch safety bags, or anything in them out of the boat without reporting it.
USING THE PONTOON
On launching, the bows of the boat should always face into the stream. Push off firmly, looking to get the bow out into the river so you are able to use the oars without contacting the pontoon.
- On landing, again the bows should be facing into the stream - the only exception is when the wind is blowing from the opposite direction, strongly enough to move the boat against the tide.
- Look at the tide and know which way to take the bow or stern before you get to the bottom of the ramp.
- If you launch off the shingle and the tide is coming in, make sure that you will be able to use the pontoon if the tide is up on your return.
- Be wary of waterfowl excrement, and wash it off if you get any on you.
- Watch out for broken glass on the foreshore at low tide. Remove any that you do see to protect others.
BEFORE EVERY OUTING, CONSIDER THE RISKS:
- Water conditions, specifically the height of the tide, rate of stream, wave size and wind. Be aware that wind conditons can change dramatically from one reach of the Tideway to the next
- Visibility - you should not go out if you cannot see Hammersmith Bridge from Linden House
- In icy conditions be careful about slipping, especially on the ramp and pontoon
- When the river is cold be especially cautious about falling in
- Dove Pier is genuinely dangerous, particularly when the tide is strong. DO NOT TURN TOWARD DOVE PIER once you have passed Latymer's pontoon heading down-river towards Hammersmith Bridge.
- Coming up river on the flood tide, aim to pass under Hammersmith Bride under the word BRIDGE. Be wary of the large green navigation buoy placed to mark Dove Pier, as well as the pier itself. This is the most prominent hazard near the club, but there are others.
- Be careful of falling from the ramp, it has no handrail. Consider whether you need extra people to carry a boat down the ramp in high winds - especially if you are a single sculler.
- Be aware that the river contains some harmful organisms. Keep blisters or cuts covered and clean them thoroughly at the earliest opportunity
- Keep an eye on any cuts or grazes that seem to be infected and be prompt in seeking medical help. We have had a case of a "flesh-eating" bug some years ago.
- Consider wearing clothing to protect your calves from the slides which can cause some abrasions and cuts. Also, be aware it is possible to row, and even scull, in tight-fitting gloves.
- If you experience 'flu like symptoms, again, be prompt in seeking medical help. Although very rare on the Tideway, it is possible to catch Leptospirosis an infection caught through contact with infected animal urine.
REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL MEMBERS
Members need to be aware of the obvious dangers, such as falling from the pontoon ramp and the less obvious ones, such as the risk of infection from contaminated river water. All members should:
- Be able to swim 100m in rowing kit, or wear a lifejacket on the water at all times
- Be able to perform an emergency stop.
- Have permission to use a boat
- Have read the Tideway Code and Row Safe leaflet.
- Dress appropriately for the conditions
- Know the responsibilities of cox, steer and coach.
- Know what to do if there's an accident on or off the water.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR WANT TO GET SIGNED OFF TO STEER, COX OR SCULL ON THE TIDEWAY, HAVE A CHAT TO OUR SAFETY ADVISOR AT SAFETY@SONSROWING.COM
- Failure to see obstructions, such as the PLA navigation buoys, and other boats are likely causes of capsizes. If you do fall into the water, stay with your boat. Get as much of your body out of the water as possible, and try to swim the boat to the bank.
- If you are involved in an accident / near miss, or if the boat gets damaged, fill in the damage log in the Fours bay and inform the club safety advisor
- If you see an accident, or even a near miss, por navigation or anti-social behaviour, report it to British Rowing using theironline incident reporting tool. (You'll need a login which you get with British Rowing membership.)
ROWING AT NIGHT
- Lights are required from dusk to dawn, much as they are for motor vehicles.
- White lights at both ends, visible through at least 180°.
The bow light may flash 'Blinking at Bow, Steady at Stern'
- Lights must be securely attached to the boat, not the crew.
- It is advisable to carry a spare light and have a means of fixing it to the boat.
- White or hi-vis kit is recommended.