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R1. Scope of these Rules

These rules are in addition to Environment Agency (EA) regulations and the ARA Row Safe (RS), and apply to College crews in all locations and at all times unless otherwise specified.
 
Crews should not rely solely on these rules but should make their own risk assessments each outing, taking into account the conditions and abilities of their rowers.
 
University crews have their own codes of conduct and risk assessments approved by the Area Safety Officer (Sport) but when using the Isis stretch (between Folly Bridge and Iffley Lock) or the Godstow stretch (between Osney Lock and St. Edward’s School Boathouse) should follow all rules defined as specific to these two stretches.
 
Some of these rules may be over-ridden by special rules of competitions.

R2. Equipment

All College 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.
  2. have a bow-ball that meets ARA standards securely screwed 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.

R3. Rowers and Coxes

All Colleges must ensure that their crews are safe to go on the water. This involves:
  1. ensuring that all rowers and coxes have passed a swim test demonstrating their ability to meet the standards laid out in RS, section 1.9, or have provided evidence of an equivalent swimming ability. Prior to the taking of such a test, College Boat Clubs should seek to ascertain the swimming ability of their members by signed declarations, and act accordingly. Non-swimmers are not allowed on the water. A weaker swimmer (but not a non-swimmer) may row wearing a life-jacket until OURCs swim tests are held. After the last of these in the Michaelmas term, all those who have not taken the test, or who have taken and failed it, may not go on the water.
  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: the local navigation rules; the College code of practice; local hazards; safety provision and procedures on the water and in the boathouse; how to prevent, recognize, and deal with hypothermia; and what to do and look out for in the instance of cold water immersion (see RS, section 1.8).
  4. maintaining a safety notice board in a prominent place in the boathouse, according to RS, section 1.1.
  5. conducting risk assessments at appropriate times (see RS, section 1.2), and specifying a code of practice 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.

R4. General Rules of the River

  1. 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 bowside.)
  2. Crews must keep as far to the right-hand side of the river as is safe and practicable.
  3. Overtaking crews should:
    1. only do so having first checked that the river is clear;
    2. move to the centre of the river to go past; and
    3. not impede the crew they are overtaking.
  4. Crews must not slow or stop in locations or at times that impede other crews.
  5. Coxes must wear a securely-fastened life-jacket at all times when on the water, worn on top of all other clothing (see RS, section 2.1).

R5. Scheduled Closures

No member of OURCs, as defined in C3, may row at the following times:
  1. Earlier than 1 hour before sunrise, or later than 1 hour after sunset.
  2. Between 8.30am and 1.00pm on weekdays from Sunday of 1st week to Saturday of 8th week, unless from a graduate college or in a single scull, or with the Proctors' permission.
  • NB: specific stretches have other restrictions in addition to those listed in R5; see R7.1 and R7.2 in relation to the Isis, and R8.1 in relation to Godstow.

    R6. Extreme Conditions

    1.      Regardless of the subsequent rules, all crews must make their own assessment before boating (see RS, section 1.7). For instance, the fact that the flag status allows a crew to boat does not mean that it is safe for that crew to do so.
    2.      Fast stream:
    a.       Crews using the Isis and Godstow stretches must abide by the flag rules defined in R7.6 and R8.3, shown by the on-line flag when operational. If the grey flag is showing crews should conduct their own assessment on whether it is safe to boat, part of which could include calling the EA or the relevant lock keeper.
    b.      In fast stream conditions, crews rowing on stretches other than the Isis and Godstow should make their own risk assessment based on advice from the local club and the EA.  If red boards are displayed on the local locks crews should consult their Insurance Policy to clarify their position with regards insurance. In this instance crews are not allowed to navigate these locks.
    3.      Limited visibility:
    a.       In limited visibility (which encompasses low light, 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.)
    b.      If fog is dense enough to bring visibility down to below 100m crews are not allowed to be on the water.
    4.      High winds: The Isis and Godstow flags do not generally take into account the wind strength. In the instance of high winds it is the duty of the cox (or the coach if the cox is ‘novice’ status [see R10]) 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.
    5.      Lightning: No crew may row during a lightning storm. 
    6.      Ice: No crew may row if ice has formed on the water.

    R7. Rules specific to the Isis

    1. Scheduled Closures
    In addition to R5, no member of OURCs 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.
    1. Scheduled Restrictions
    OURCs members must observe the following restrictions:
    a.       On weekdays before 8.00am, from Monday of 1st week to after the end of Christ Church Regatta, Torpids and Summer Eights in Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity terms respectively, Colleges can only have one crew on the water at any one time, except with the written permission of the OURCs Secretary or having been granted an Extra Slot.
    b.      On Sundays, from Sunday of 1st week to after the end of Christ Church Regatta, Torpids and Summer Eights in Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity terms respectively, Colleges can only have one crew on the water at any one time, excluding single sculls.
    c.       On weekdays between 5.00pm and 7.00pm, from Monday of 0th week to Tuesday of 5th week of Trinity term, only members of those crews entered for the Senior divisions in Eights (as defined in B2.7), the top crew of the next division, and all College 1st VIIIs, may be on the water, unless in a single scull.
    d.      During OURCs and OURCs-sanctioned competitions, no crew is allowed on the water except those permitted by the competition rules. All such regattas must request river closures at a Captains’ Meeting at least two weeks in advance.
    1. Boating/Landing
    For normal training outings:
    a.       From Boathouse Island, crews must boat and land pointing upstream.
    b.      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.
    c.       From Longbridges, crews may boat and land either upstream or downstream so long as they do not interfere with other crews.
    d.      Crews who do cause an obstruction by landing or boating against the stream at Longbridges or Univ will be judged to have committed a major transgression and penalised accordingly.
    e.       From City and Falcon, crews must boat and land pointing upstream.
    f.        From the Isis Boathouse, crews must boat pointing upstream, but may land either upstream or downstream. Under blue or amber flag, it is suggested crews spin upstream of the stage and drift back to land.
    1. Full complement
    a.       From Sunday of 1st week to Saturday of 8th week, all boats shall carry their full complement at all times, except with the written permission of the OURCs Secretary.
    b.      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 R7.3. Such crews must not be coxed by a ‘novice’ cox.
    1. Special Rules Applying to the Gut
    The Gut is defined as the narrow stretch of the Isis between Longbridges Boathouse and the entrance to the cut in which the former Corpus barge is moored.
    a.       No ‘novice’ status cox (see R9) 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.
    b.      Crews may not easy in the Gut, or proceed through it slower than normal full crew paddling allows.
    c.       Crews may not overtake in the Gut.
    d.      Tub boats are not permitted in the Gut.
    1. Spinning
      1. Under green flag boats may only spin at the following places from Sunday of 1st week to Saturday of 8th week:
    i           upstream of the second large mooring post on the City side at the Head of the River.
    ii         at Longbridges, spinning stern towards the towpath, and remaining close enough to the towpath to leave a clear passage for crews entering and leaving the Gut.
    iii        below the red and white post on Haystacks Corner. A spinning crew must not keep paddling once downstream of this post, and must stay upstream of the white Isis Boathouse post as they spin. Crews must not use the stretch between the white post and Iffley Lock to be coached. 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.
      1. Under blue and amber flags crews must spin between the red and white posts 100m downstream of Donnington Bridge and upstream of Haystacks Corner and may not spin at Longbridges, except 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.
    1. The Isis Flag
    During fast stream conditions, special rules are in force on this stretch, as indicated by the on-line flag:
    a.       Red Flag (5 bucks): The Isis is closed to all University and College rowers.  Navigation of Osney and Iffley Locks is prohibited.
    b.      Amber Flag (4 bucks): The Isis is closed to all College crews except Senior crews as defined in R11.  Crews must spin between the red and white posts 100m downstream of Donnington Bridge and upstream of 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.
    c.       Blue Flag (2 bucks): The Isis is closed to ‘novice’ status coxes as defined in R9.  Crews must spin between the red and white posts 100m downstream of Donnington Bridge and upstream of 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.
    d.      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.
    1. Coaching Launches
    Coaching launches must not be used on the Isis, except with the prior permission of the OURCs Secretary.
    1. Coxes

      Coxes of crews on the Isis between Sunday of 0th week and Saturday of 8th week of each term must be registered members of OUCS.
       
    2. Iffley Lock
       
      1. Crews may go through Iffley Lock only under a green flag, and during the hours between sunrise and sunset.
      1. Crews who intend to transit Iffley Lock should wait for the lock to fill below the white Isis Boathouse post. They must have with them the wherewithal to physically link themselves to the bank, such as a rope to be held by a coach, in case the wind and/or the pull from the weir make holding their position difficult.

    R8. Rules specific to Godstow

    1. Scheduled Closures
    In addition to R5, no member of OURCs may row between the following times (out of courtesy to the Medley sailing club):
    a.       On Sundays from 2.00pm to 6.00pm, from March to November inclusive.
    b.      After 7.00pm on Wednesdays during Trinity term.
    NB: Crews boating from St Edward’s School must also abide by the restrictions they place upon the use of the site.
    1. 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.
    1. Fast Stream Conditions
    During fast stream conditions, special rules are in force on the Godstow stretch, as indicated by the on-line flag:
    a.       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.
    b.      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 R11. The river is closed below Rainbow Bridge. Navigation of Osney Lock is prohibited.
    1. Coxes
    Coxes of crews on the Godstow stretch between 0th week and 8th week of each term must be registered members of OUCS.
    1. Coaching Launches

      1. All launches must carry a valid EA Registration plate.
      2. All launch occupants must be wearing a life-jacket.
      3. All launches must carry the specified safety equipment, as set out in RS, section 2.4.
      4. All launches must display the correct lighting in poor visibility.
      5. All launch drivers must use a kill-cord at all times when on the water.

    R9. Rules relating to rowing on other stretches

    1. Crews must adhere to any local rules and restrictions particular to the stretch they are rowing on.
    2. Crews rowing on stretches other than the Isis and Godstow stretches do so entirely at their own risk when either the Isis or Godstow flag is red, and are advised to abide by the advice of local boat clubs and the EA regarding whether it is safe to do so.

    R10. Registration and Status of Coxes

    1. A member of OURCs, as defined in C3, may only cox a crew once in possession of an OUCS coxing permit.
    2. 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. the number of terms of active coxing experience they have had.
      3. their status: ‘novice’, ‘experienced’ or ‘senior’.
      4. any penalties imposed on the cox by OURCs.
    3. Newly-registered coxes with no previous experience shall be designated ‘novice’. The Captain of Coxes shall assign newly-registered coxes with previous coxing experience an appropriate status.
    4. Coxes will achieve ‘experienced’ status after 3 full terms coxing, upon confirmation from their College Captain. Early promotion to ‘experienced’ status may be considered upon written application.
    5. 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.
    6. Coxes with ‘novice’ status may not cox an outing unless accompanied by a coach, who shall be held responsible for the safety of the crew.
    7. Coxes with ‘experienced’ or ‘senior’ status shall be held responsible for the safety of their crew.  An ‘experienced’/‘senior’ status cox who puts their or any other crew in a situation where damage or danger results is liable to have their permit endorsed or suspended.

    R11. 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 R10.5 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. At the discretion of the OURCs committee, other crews may be also be designated ‘Senior’.  Application should be made in writing to the OURCs Secretary.

    R12. 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 Hard.
    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.

    R13. Personal Conduct

    The use of foul or abusive language and gestures is an offence.  When directed towards members of the public or OURCs officials performing their duties, it is regarded as a serious offence.

    R14. Transgressions

    Fines and sanctions may be imposed upon a College Boat Club in the event of a breach of OURCs rules.  Transgressions witnessed by non-members of the OURCs Committee should be reported to the OURCs Secretary or the OURCs Sabbatical Officer.
    1. Any member of the OURCs Committee may impose fines.
    2. At their discretion, committee members may choose to caution a cox or crew rather than impose a fine.
    3. Types of transgression:
      1. Minor transgressions are defined as those breaches of these rules without serious safety implications, which only minimally inconvenience other river users, or which gain a crew only a minor training advantage. The fine for a minor transgression shall be £10.
      2. Major transgressions are defined as those with potentially serious safety implications, which significantly inconvenience other river users or which gain the crew major training advantage.  The fine for a major transgression shall be £25.
      3. Extreme transgressions are defined as those resulting in serious incidents, or rowing whilst banned, for example by the OURCs flag or a previous penalty.  The fine for an extreme transgression is £100.  Only a formally convened OURCs Committee Meeting may impose the fine, and may also impose further sanctions on the Boat Club or crew involved, such as banning them from the river and/or from OURCs races.
      4. The OURCs Committee shall not be permitted to impose sanctions upon an entire Boat Club unless it is proven that both the men and women's Captains, and/or both the men and women's team members were involved in the extreme transgression.
    4. Violations of any of the scheduled restrictions shall incur a £10 fine for the first offence in each academic year, but double for each additional offence of any scheduled restrictions within the same year.
    5. Committee members must notify the OURCs Treasurer of fines they have imposed.  The OURCs Treasurer will then send the College Boat Club concerned details of the fine.
    6. Dangerous or careless coxing may (in addition to a fine) result in 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.
    7. Appeals against fines or other penalties imposed by OURCs should be directed, in the first case to the OURCs Secretary and on further dispute, to the OURCs Senior Member, who shall have the final say in all such matters.
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