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2: CODE OF CONDUCT

2.1 Definitions

  1. The times of Sunrise and Sunset are listed at http://www.ourcs.org.uk/safety/suntimes
    1. Opening Time is defined as one hour before Sunrise
    2. Closing Time is defined as one hour after Sunset
    3. Twilight Hours are defined as:
      1. The hour immediately after Opening Time
      2. The hour immediately before Closing Time
    4. Daylight Hours are defined as the period spanning one hour after Sunrise until one hour after Sunset.
  2. The time of year classed as either Term, or Vacation
    1. Term is defined as the period from Sunday of 0th Week to Saturday of 9th Week, inclusive. Term is further subdivided in to two categories:
      1. Peak Term, which is the period from Sunday of 0th Week to the final day of the major regatta of the term (Christ Church Regatta in Michaelmas, Torpids in Hilary, and Summer Eights in Trinity)
      2. Off-Peak Term, which is the period after the major regatta of the term until Saturday of 9th Week.
    2. Vacation refers to any period falling outside of Term.
  3. The Isis is defined as the stretch of water flowing from Osney Lock and Weirs down to the Iffley Lock and Weirs
  4. The Godstow stretch is defined as the stretch of water flowing from the Godstow Lock and Weirs down to Osney Lock and Weirs
  5. The term athlete is used to refer to any crewmember, be it rower or cox.
  6. OUCS is defined as the Oxford University Coxing Society
  7. Bow side is regarded as the Starboard side of a vessel.
  8. Stroke side is regarded as the Port side of a vessel.

2.2 Scope

  1. The restrictions and guidelines in this document apply all year long, unless specifically indicated below or superseded by applicable Rules of Racing.
  2. The rules written below are enforceable in addition to the Environment Agency (EA) regulations, British Rowing 'Row Safe' (RS) and any other applicable law.
  3. Adherence to this Code of Conduct is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for the safe running of College and University Boat Clubs as defined in 1.3. It is necessary for appropriate safe conduct to be exercised in situations that are not covered by the guidelines below.
  4. All Member Clubs may be subject to additional requirements set by the University or their College(s).
  5. Breach of these restrictions by Member Clubs may result in OURCs taking action against the Member Club.
  6. A breach by a Member Club shall include:
    1. A breach by the Member Club.
    2. A breach by a member of the Member Club,
    3. A breach by person or persons in use of Member Club equipment.
  7. In exceptional cases including, but not limited to:
    1. Injury;
    2. Equipment failure;
    3. Flag change during an outing;
    4. Emergency;
    where the safest course of action would contravene some of the rules laid out below, it is expected that Member Clubs use reasonable judgement when deciding how to respond.

2.3 Equipment Requirements

  1. All Member Clubs' equipment should comply with EA regulations and with RS, section 2.3. In particular, all boats must:
    1. carry a valid EA Registration/Exemption plate, unless otherwise registered.
    2. have a bow-ball that meets British Rowing standards securely attached to the bow (except tubs). In the event of losing a bow-ball, boats should replace it immediately or return, at light pressure, as directly as possible to their boathouse while keeping within the rules of the river.
    3. if fitted with shoes, have intact heel restraints set to prevent the heels rising above the lowest fixed point of the shoes. (In practice, heel restraints can be set much shorter than this.)
    4. have water-tight seals on all buoyancy compartments.

2.4 Athlete Requirements

  1. All Member Clubs must ensure that their athletes are safe to go on the water. This involves:
    1. ensuring that all athletes have passed a swim test in the last six years demonstrating their ability to meet the standards laid out in RowSafe, section 1.9, or produce evidence to the Rowing Sabbatical Officer of an equivalent swimming ability. Prior to the taking of such a test, College Boat Clubs should follow the guidance provided by the Sabbatical Officer. All rowers and coxes should be swim tested at the first available opportunity and in any case before their 6th session on the water. No athlete who has yet to pass a swimming test may go out onto the water following their 5th session, or following the failure of such a test until they subsequently pass.
    2. ensuring that only those rowers who have taken an OURCs capsize drill, or can prove that they have taken a similar one elsewhere, may use singles, pairs or doubles.
    3. giving safety briefings to all rowers and coxes at the start of their rowing careers encompassing:
      1. the local navigation rules;
      2. the OURCs and their College Boat Club's Code of Conduct;
      3. local hazards;
      4. safety provision and procedures on the water and in the boathouse, such as capsize or sudden injury;
      5. how to prevent, recognize, and deal with instances of: cold water immersion and hypothermia, cold shock, dry drowning, post-rescue collapse, swim failure (RS, section 1.8); sunburn, heat stroke, exhaustion (RS, section 5.1); first aid (RS, section 5.2); waterborne diseases (RS, section 5.3).
    4. maintaining a safety notice board in a prominent place in the boathouse, according to RS, section 1.1.
    5. conducting risk assessments (see RS, section 1.2), and specifying a Code of Conduct based on these (see RS, section 1.3), which should be available on the College Boat Club’s website and followed on a day-to-day basis.

2.5 Additional Requirements for Coxswains

  1. A member of a College Boat Club, as defined in 1.4, may only cox a crew once they have signed their OUCS coxing permit, and they must carry this permit, or other suitable identification, at all times whilst coxing.
  2. A coxswain is regarded as the master of a vessel and is responsible for being in charge and in command of said vessel.
  3. The Captain of Coxes shall keep a register of all College coxes with a coxing permit, which shall detail for each cox:
    1. the date of their registration.
    2. their status: ‘novice’, ‘experienced’ or ‘senior’.
    3. any penalties imposed on the cox by OURCs.
  4. Newly-registered coxes with no previous experience shall be designated ‘novice’ status. The Captain of Coxes shall assign newly-registered coxes with previous coxing experience an appropriate status.
  5. Coxes may be granted ‘experienced’ status after 3 full terms coxing, upon confirmation from their Club that they can cox to a sufficient standard. Early promotion to ‘experienced’ status may be considered upon written application.
  6. Coxes wishing to be accorded ‘senior’ status must apply in writing to the Captain of Coxes, detailing their experience. Applications will normally only be considered from coxes with at least 6 full terms coxing.
  7. Coxes with ‘novice’ status may not cox an outing unless accompanied at all times by a coach.
  8. Any cox who puts their or any other crew:
    1. in breach of the Code of Conduct
    2. in breach of the Rules of Racing
    3. in a situation where damage or danger results, or was likely to result
    is liable to have their permit endorsed or suspended.

2.6 Outing Requirements

  1. Regardless of the subsequent rules, all crews must make their own assessment before boating (see RS, section 1.7).
  2. Crews rowing on the Isis or Godstow stretches must abide by any restrictions imposed by the respective flag when it is available.
  3. Crews must, at all times:
    1. be aware of what is happening around them;
    2. travel at a speed commensurate with that awareness; and
    3. be ready and able to take whatever action is necessary – steering, slowing or stopping – to prevent a collision, even if they have right of way. (In the instance of a head-on approach, both crews should move to starboard.)
  4. Crews must keep as far to the starboard side of the river as is safe and practicable. Overtaking crews should
    1. only do so having first checked that the river is clear;
    2. pass either by moving towards the centre of the river or by passing on the inside;
    3. give clear notice of their location to the crew being overtaken;
    4. not impede the crew they are overtaking.
  5. Crews must not slow or stop in locations or at times that impede other crews, unless safety dictates.
  6. Coxes must wear a securely-fastened personal flotation device at all times when on the water, worn on top of all other clothing (see RS, section 2.1).
  7. When rowing on stretches other than Isis and Godstow, or when the flag is unavailable, crews must conduct risk assessments to decide if it safe to boat, based on the advice of local boat clubs and the EA or other local authority.
  8. In limited visibility (which encompasses fog, even heavy snow and rain), all boats shall carry bright white lights attached to the stern and bow, which together are visible through 360 degrees. (See RS, section 1.7.)
  9. If fog is dense enough to bring visibility down to below 100m crews are not allowed to be on the water.
  10. In the instance of high winds it is the duty of the cox (or the coach if the cox is ‘novice’ status) to decide whether or not it is safe to boat. Particular notice should be taken with regard to the direction of the wind in relation to the direction of the water’s flow.
  11. No crew may row during a lightning storm.
  12. No crew may row if ice has formed on the water.
  13. Navigation of all locks is forbidden under red and yellow boards.
  14. As decreed by the Proctors, no member of a Member Club, as defined in 1.3, may row at the following times:
    1. Before Opening Time or after Closing Time.
    2. Between 8.30am and 1.00pm on weekdays between 1st and 8th week inclusive, unless:
      1. from the following College Boat Clubs: Green Templeton, Linacre, St Antony's, Wolfson
      2. in a single scull
      3. with the Proctors' permission
  15. Any boat that is on the water during Twilight Hours must carry bright white lights attached to the stern and bow, which together are visible through 360 degrees. (See RS, section 1.7.)
  16. Crews wishing to use a launch must ensure:
    1. the launch is registered with the EA
    2. all occupants are wearing a personal flotation device at all times
    3. the launch carries appropriate safety equipment
    4. the launch displays the correct lighting in poor visibility
    5. the driver uses a kill-cord at all times when on the water
  17. The use of foul or abusive language and gestures is an offence.

2.7 Definition of a Senior Crew

  1. Within these rules, a Senior crew is defined as an eight or a coxed four with a cox classified as ‘Senior’ under Rule R5.3 and at least four rowers with three full terms rowing experience, and not containing any rower with less than one full term of rowing experience.
  2. With the written permission of the OURCs President, other crews may be also be designated ‘Senior’.

 

2.8 Rules specific to the Isis

  1. Scheduled Closures
    In addition to the rules above, no member of a Member Club may row between the following times (out of courtesy to other river users):
    1. Between 8.00am and 1.00pm on Sundays.
    2. After 7.00pm on Wednesdays.
  2. Scheduled Restrictions
    Member Clubs must observe the following restrictions:
    1. On weekdays before 8.00am, during Peak Term of Michaelmas and Hilary, College Boat Clubs can only have one crew on the water at any one time, except with the written permission of the OURCs President or having been granted an Extra Slot. On weekdays before 8.00am, during Peak Term in Trinity, College Boat Clubs can have no more than two eights on the water at any one time, except with the written permission of the OURCs President.
    2. On Sundays during Peak Term, College Boat Clubs can only have two crews on the water at any one time before 8am and one crew water at any one time after 1pm unless awarded an Extra Slot in Michaelmas or Hilary Term. This restriction does not apply to single sculls.
    3. Extra Slots are awarded at the discretion of the OURCs Committee. Applications must be made to the Sabbatical Officer prior to the publishing of the agenda for the 1st Captains’ Meeting of each term and will be announced at that meeting with immediate effect.
    4. On weekdays between 5.00pm and 7.00pm, during Peak Term in Trinity, only Athletes of those crews entered for the Senior divisions in Eights (as defined in the Rules of Racing), the top crew of the next division, and all College 1st VIIIs, may be on the water, unless in a single scull.
  3. Boating/Landing
    For normal training outings:
    1. From Boathouse Island, crews must boat and land pointing upstream.
    2. From the Univ raft, crews must boat pointing downstream, but may land either upstream or downstream so long as they do not interfere with other crews.
    3. From Longbridges, crews may boat and land either upstream or downstream so long as they do not interfere with other crews.
    4. From City and Falcon, crews must boat and land pointing upstream.
    5. From the Isis Boathouse, crews must boat pointing downstream under green flag, and upstream under blue or amber flag. Boats may land either upstream or downstream under green flag, but under blue or amber flag it is suggested crews spin upstream of the stage and drift back to land. Crews boating from the Isis Boathouse may spin below the turning post immediately after boating, or while returning to land, but they must begin the spin within a boat-length of their landing step while doing so. At all other times they should share the normal spinning procedure for the stream conditions as defined by 2.8.6.
  4. Full Complement
    1. During Term, all boats shall carry their full complement at all times, except with the written permission of the OURCs Secretary.
    2. The only exception to this rule is boats being transported to or from City or Falcon landing stages, which will not have to spin once on the water and still obey all the relevant sections of 2.8.3. Such crews must not be coxed by a ‘novice’ cox.
  5. Special Rules Applying to the Gut
    The Gut is defined as the narrow stretch of the Isis between the most downstream bridge below Longbridges Boathouse and the entrance to the cut adjacent to the Sea Scouts bay.
    1. No ‘novice’ status cox may go through the Gut until the date designated by the Captain of Coxes at their registration meeting. Until that date coxes from boathouses upstream of the Gut should spin at Longbridges, and coxes from boathouses downstream of the Gut should spin in the bay outside the Sea Scouts Boathouse when safe to do so.
    2. Crews may only proceed slower than normal full crew paddling allows through the Gut if to do so does not obstruct another crew.
    3. Crews may not easy at any time in the Gut, unless safety dictates.
    4. Crews may not overtake in the Gut.
    5. Tub boats are not permitted in the Gut.
  6. Spinning
    1. Under green flag boats may only spin at the following places during Term:
      1. upstream of the second large mooring post on the City side at the Head of the River.
      2. at Longbridges, between the upstream end of the Longbridges raft and the downstream bridge, spinning stern towards the towpath, and remaining close enough to the towpath to leave a clear passage for crews entering and leaving the Gut.
      3. below the red and white post on Haystacks Corner (City). A spinning crew must not keep paddling once downstream of this post, and must stay upstream of the white Isis Boathouse post (City) as they spin.  Crews must not proceed below the white post unless wishing to transit Iffley Lock or racked at the Isis Boathouse. Crews racked at the Isis Boathouse may use the area just below the white post to boat or land only but are recommended under blue or amber flag to spin above the post and drift or back down to land.
    2. Boats must turn singly in order of arrival at the spinning area, unless prior crews have granted permission to spin.
    3. Having spun, boats must immediately leave the spinning area so as not to obstruct other crews.
    4. Crews must not unnecessarily obstruct the spinning area, for example through coaching or delay.
  7. The Isis Flag
    During varying conditions, additional restrictions may be in force on the Isis, as indicated by the online flag:
    1. Red Flag (5 bucks): The Isis is closed to all University and College rowers. Navigation of Osney and Iffley Locks is prohibited.
    2. Amber Flag (4 bucks): The Isis is closed to all College crews except Senior crews as defined in 2.7. Crews must spin between the red and white posts 100m downstream of Donnington Bridge and on Haystacks Corner and may not spin at Longbridges, except to land. The river is closed between Folly Bridge and Oxford Canal. Navigation of Osney and Iffley Locks is prohibited. All crews must be accompanied by a bank rider with, in case of emergency, a throw-line and a mobile phone, programmed with the phone number for Iffley Lock, which is 01865 777277.
    3. Blue Flag (2 bucks): The Isis is closed to ‘novice’ status coxes. Crews must spin between the red and white posts 100m downstream of Donnington Bridge and on Haystacks Corner and may not spin at Longbridges, except to land. The river is closed between Folly Bridge and Oxford Canal. Navigation of Osney and Iffley Locks is prohibited.
    4. Green Flag: No additional restrictions in force.
    5. Grey Flag: When a grey flag is displayed the system is not currently being maintained and all crews are responsible for referring to the EA or lock keepers for stream advice.
  8. Coaching Launches
    Coaching launches must not be used on the Isis, except with the prior permission of the OURCs President.
  9. Coxes
    Coxes of crews on the Isis during Term must be registered members of OUCS.
  10. Iffley Lock
    1. Crews may go through Iffley Lock only under a green flag, and during the hours between Sunrise and Sunset.
    2. Crews who intend to transit Iffley Lock should wait for the lock to fill below the white Isis Boathouse post.
  11. Quiet Zone
    From Opening Time to 9am the Isis has two quiet zones where coaches and crews should make all reasonable effort to remain quiet and the use of loud hailers or megaphones is prohibited (except in an emergency) out of respect for neighbouring residential areas. These areas are:
    1. Between the most downstream part of the most downstream bridge at Longbridges and the black bin upstream of the house next to Longbridges (this includes all of the Longbridges spinning area).
    2. Downstream of Haystacks corner.

2.10 Rules specific to Godstow

  1. Scheduled Closures
    In addition to the rules above, no Member Club may row between the following times (out of courtesy to the Medley sailing club):
    1. On Sundays from 2.00pm to 6.00pm, from March to November inclusive.
    2. After 7.00pm on Wednesdays during Trinity term.
    3. NB: Crews boating from St Edward’s School must also abide by the restrictions they place upon the use of the site (see http://www.ourcs.org.uk/information/godstow-restrictions).
  2. Spinning
    1. Crews spinning from downstream to upstream above Rainbow Bridge must do so before or opposite the Medley Sailing Club. The stretch opposite Bossoms Boat Yard is not to be used for spinning or coaching.
    2. Under the Godstow amber flag, all crews must spin upstream of Rainbow Bridge.
    3. Boats must turn singly in order of arrival at the turning point, unless prior crews have granted permission to spin.
    4. Having spun, boats must immediately leave the turning area so as not to obstruct other crews.
    5. Crews must not unnecessarily obstruct the spinning area, for example through coaching or delay.
  3. Fast Stream Conditions
    During varying conditions, additional restrictions may be in force on the Isis, as indicated by the online flag:
    1. Red Flag (4 bucks at Osney Lock, 2 bucks at Godstow Lock or at the discretion of the St Edward’s School Boatman): The Godstow stretch is closed to all crews. Navigation of Osney Lock is prohibited.
    2. Amber Flag (3 bucks at Osney Lock, 1½ bucks at Godstow Lock or at the discretion of the St Edward’s School Boatman): The Godstow stretch is closed to all College crews except Senior crews as defined in 2.7. The river is closed below Rainbow Bridge. Navigation of Osney Lock is prohibited.

2.11 Use of the City of Oxford RC Facilities

Crews using the City of Oxford Rowing Club grounds are expected to comply with all reasonable requests from CORC members relating to the following guidelines:

  1. Avoid using the area at peak times for CORC members, i.e. weekday evenings and weekend mornings.
  2. Only use the grass areas for rigging/de-rigging, and for leaving boats unattended. Do not use Car Parking space, or the ashphalt areas around the boathouse.
  3. The landing stage should be occupied as briefly as possible when boating/landing, with priority given to CORC members.
  4. Boat and land pointing upstream whenever possible.
  5. Do not leave trailers in the Car Park for more than 24 hours without permission from the CORC Committee.

2.12 River Closures

  1. Member clubs are required to abide by any river closures agreed at a Captains' Meeting.
  2. In a case of emergency, or where action is required to assist the work of the emergency services or local authorities, the Sabbatical Officer may close a section of the river to OURCs members. Closures are to be imposed only to the extent that safety demands.

2.13 Personal Conduct

  1. Member Clubs, their members, their employees and their contractors are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that shows respect for other Member Clubs and the wider public. Member Clubs that cause damage, injury or offence to other parties shall face severe penalty.

2.14 Breaches of the Code of Conduct

Fines and sanctions may be imposed upon a Member Club in the event of a breach of OURCs rules by that club and/or its members. Whenever a Member Club’s equipment is in use by a person or persons, the Member Club is deemed responsible for the actions of those persons as if they were members of that Member Boat Club.  Transgressions witnessed by non-members of the OURCs Committee should be reported to the OURCs President or the OURCs Sabbatical Officer.

  1. Any member of the OURCs Committee may impose fines.
  2. At their discretion, committee members may choose to advise a cox or crew rather than impose a fine.
  3. Types of breach of the Code of Conduct are:
    1. Minor transgressions are defined as those breaches of these rules with only minor safety implications or which only minimally inconvenience other river users. The first transgression of a certain type in each term will result in a caution and will be recorded. The fine for the second minor transgression of a certain type each term shall be £10.
    2. Major transgressions are defined as those with potentially serious safety implications; those which cause serious incidents; those which significantly inconvenience other river users; those which give significant training advantages; those committed with deliberate intent; rowing whilst banned (for example by the OURCs flag or a previous penalty); or repeated minor transgressions (see below).
      1. Only a formally convened OURCs Committee Meeting may impose the penalty for a major transgression, the nature of which is at its discretion.
      2. The captains of the club(s) involved shall be notified 24 hours before the meeting and may present a statement either in writing or in person. The Senior Member(s) of the club(s) involved may be notified at the discretion of the OURCs President and Sabbatical Officer.
      3. The committee meeting may impose fines and or further sanctions on the Boat Club involved. Examples include, but are not limited to: banning crews from the river and/or from OURCs races and/or giving time or position penalties in any OURCs event to the crew involved. The decision of the committee comes into effect immediately but is subject to ratification at the next captains meeting.
  4. Violations of any of the scheduled river closures or restrictions described above shall incur a £10 fine for the first offence of this nature in the academic year, but double for each additional offence of any scheduled restrictions within the same academic year.
  5. Minor transgressions as set out in 3.a above shall incur the stated fine for the second offence in each term, but double for each additional offence of the same type within the same term, up to the 5th offence. If a single Boat Club accrues 5 minor transgressions within 1 term then this will be viewed as a major transgression and acted on as per 3.b. Following the OURCs decision on the major transgression, fining for any subsequent transgressions of the same nature will start at the level of the fine stated in 3.a unless otherwise determined in the penalty for the major transgression.
  6. Committee members must notify the OURCs Treasurer of cautions or fines they wish to impose. The OURCs Treasurer will then send the College Boat Club concerned details of the fine.
  7. Coxes may (in addition to the fine) face endorsement, or in particularly serious cases withdrawal, of the permit of the cox concerned.
    1. Coxes whose permit is endorsed more than 3 times in any 3 consecutive terms shall have their permits withdrawn for the rest of the term in which the fourth endorsable offence occurred and for the entirety of the subsequent term.
    2. Following a period of disqualification, coxes whose permit has been withdrawn shall have to satisfy the OURCs Captain of Coxes that they are competent to cox before they may reapply for their permit.
  8. Appeals against fines or other penalties imposed by OURCs should be directed, in the first case to the OURCs Treasurer and on further dispute, to the OURCs Senior Member, who shall have the final say in all such matters.
  9. Fines under 3.a. shall be suspended from Sunday of 0th week until Sunday of 5th week of Michaelmas term. However, transgressions will result in written cautions and be recorded, and repeated transgressions may be treated as a single major transgression and acted upon according to 3.b. Repeated transgressions occurring in the subsequent weeks of term will incur fines at the level it would have been if the offences in the first 5 weeks had been fined.
  10. Clauses under this sub-section do not apply to racing or administrative fines.