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COUR advice to university and college rowing clubs


Advice received by members of COUR from British Rowing’s Water Safety Advisor and the University’s Legal Services department, makes it clear that clubs are responsible for developing a culture of safety in all activities associated with rowing and that they should consider and take into account the guidance produced by RowSafe for British Rowing (

      Best practice requires clubs to obtain some form of evidence as to swimming competence prior to allowing individuals onto the open water in rowing boats. However, both advisers also recognise that obliging individuals to undertake a swimming test prior to any taster sessions is impractical and not necessary. Nevertheless, clubs should carefully consider what evidence of swimming competence they ought to obtain before tests can be carried out and what safety provisions they can put in place during that period.


      The recommendation of COUR is that clubs undertake the following:


1)  Clubs should obtain written declarations from individual members that they can swim to the standards set out in the RowSafe guidelines.

2) Individuals should be encouraged to undertake such swim tests as soon as possible.
3) Life-jackets, ideally those designed specifically for rowing, should be available to those who are not sure about their swimming ability.
4) Clubs should consider special safety measures for those who have not yet been swim-tested, for example, that they should only go out in eights, in green flag conditions, with an experienced cox and with a bank-rider carrying a throw-line.
5) A special risk-assessment be carried out relating to the safety of those who have not yet been swim-tested.