The safety of our participants and members is at the heart of everything we do.  Whether it be your first time on the water or your last training session before a big race, the team at FRBC will always ensure that both the facilities and equipment are in top working order and the session can be run in a safe environment. 

We require that everyone who joins as a member has passed both FRBC Navigation Test and On-Water Assessment so we can be sure that the highest standards are maintained.

Safety Officer

Alastair Horn: [email protected]

Welfare Officers

Adam Freeman-Pask: [email protected] 

Julia Philipson: [email protected]

On the Water

The Tideway Code dictates the rules of navigating on the Thames and it is a requirement that all of our members have read it and understand it. A video summarising the Tideway Code is at the bottom of this page. 

If you do see or have an incident on the water please report it:

Codes of Conduct & Club Policies

In the event of an emergency or issue

  • Life Threatening Emergency - Call 999 for police/fire/ambulance/coast guard
  • Non-Emergency RNLI - Call 020 8995 5534
  • Fulham Reach Concierge - 020 8563 1866 available 24/7

If a child is at immediate risk, contact the Police on 999 or MASH in Hammersmith & Fulham on 020 8753 6610.

Safety Advice for Participants



  • Ensure bow ball is secure.
  • Check hatch covers close.
  • Check for any holes in the boat hull.
  • Test steering, rudder, and fin are working.
  • Check seat, runners, riggers are secure.
  • Check foot stretcher and heel restraints (>7cm long).
  • If rowing in the dark, have lights on the bow (flashing) and stern (steady). Take spares.

Watch the British Rowing Boat Satey Check video here


  • Tie up long hair with hair bands.
  • Manual life jacket for Cox or non-swimming rowers.
  • Avoid wearing wellies in the boat.
  • Wear quick-drying layers suitable for the weather.
  • Avoid kit that could become heavy when wet.
  • Avoid hoodies and tops with large pockets. Wear close fitted kit to avoid catching handles.
  • Choose bright or reflective kit in darkness.
  • Bring a closed-top water bottle (not sports bottle top), sun protection and tools.


  • Warm-up erg exercises and dynamic stretches before your outing.
  • Cool down post-rowing with stretches for hip flexors, lumbar spine, hamstrings, and glutes.


  • Consider weather conditions, especially, temperature, wind, waves, fog, snow, and ice.
  • Check the speed of the stream, observe PLA flag warning (Black, Green, Yellow, Red).
  • Be aware of the direction of the tide and any forecast changes during the session.
  • Do not go out within half an hour of lightning – return immediately if already out.


  • Ensure the whole crew understand the plan.
  • Stay in sight of coaches unless told otherwise.
  • If uncoached, sign out/in of the club logbook, keep someone onshore informed, and carry a mobile in a waterproof case.


  • Take oars down first and place them nearby without creating trip hazards.
  • Position the boat with the bow ball into the stream when launching and landing.
  • Keep the boat and fin clear of the pontoon when lowering into the water.
  • Exercise caution when boating from the shore, be careful on the ramp and avoid sharp rocks.
  • Put in pontoon side blades first, always ensure waterside blades are pushed out and the boat is secure before getting in. 

Watch our step-by-step guide to getting into a boat here


  • Maintain a good lookout, checking every 5 strokes.
  • Ensure that the fin is protected. No fin = No control
  • Avoid collisions by shouting warnings “Look Ahead!” and performing "hard stops" if needed.
  • Know and practice the "safety position".
  • Understand navigation rules, the Tideway Code, and local hazards.

Watch the British Rowing Collision Avoidance video here


  • Land the boat with caution, care and control.
  • Make sure bow pair are ready to get out so that the boat does not ground, protect the fin and the hull.
  • Get all rowers and coxes out of the boat before taking blades out.
  • When putting the boat away wash down boats.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after contact with river water.  


  • Use the foot strap to release your feet.
  • Stay with the boat for buoyancy and check all are present. 
  • Attract attention for help or use phone.
  • Afterward, get warm and monitor for any signs of illness from waterborne diseases. 

Watch the British Rowing Capsize & Recovery video here


  • Attention, Go!"- Used to signal start of a race or piece.
  • "Back it Down!"- Call to row backwards to move the boat in reverse.
  • “Backstops, Ready, Row!”- Instruct crew to sit together at backstops position (legs flat and handles at the chest), then row together. 
  • "Bow Pair (or Stern Pair), tap it on!"- Instruct specific rowers to draw strokes for manoeuvring.
  • "Easy All!" or “Easy There!”- Instructs crew to stop rowing.
  • "Harder on Strokeside (Red)!” or  “Harder on Bowside (Green)!"- Call for extra pressure on specific side to help steer/turn.
  • "Hold it up!" or “Hold it up, Hard!”- Call to stop rowing and hold oars square in the water to stop the boat moving.
  • "Hold it up on Strokeside (Red)!” or “Hold it up on Bowside (Green)!"- Directs rowers on one side to hold their oars square in the water, helping to turn the boat.
  • "Light pressure!” - Rowing with little pressure through the water.
  • “Firm / Full pressure!”- Rowing with firm (controlled) pressure through the water, used for steering and manoeuvring and boat speed.
  • “Mind your backs (or heads)!”- Call used when moving boats around on land.
  • “Number off from bow when ready!”- Crew asked to number off, used after a crew break.
  • "On the next one, go!"- Calls for a change in technique on the upcoming stroke.
  • “Pause at …”- Call to pause at a place in the stroke for manoeuvring and boat speed control.
  • "Ratio!" or “Up One Down One”- Call for a change in ratio between the drive (faster) and recovery (slower) 
  • “Safety Position”- Call to stabilise the boat when at risk of capsizing. Safety position is straight arm, straight legs, straight back.
  • “Spilt to shoulders, Ready, Go!”- Call to lower boat from head height to shoulders, when carrying on land.
  • “Stay with the boat!”- Emergency command used in a capsize situation to ensure crew stay with the boat for flotation until rescued.
  • “Take a look!” - Universal command to check course ahead of a potential collision or obstacle. 
  • “Up to Heads, Ready, Go!”- Call to lift and carry the boat up above heads on land.
  • "Wind Down!" - Call for crew to take the rate down together after a piece.
  • “Whole Crew, Ready, Row!” - Call to paddle, similar to “Backstops, Ready, Row!”

PLA Safety Bulletins

 Click here to open the RSS feed of the PLA Safety Bulletins

Donations welcome

As a registered charity we welcome donations from individuals and businesses alike. Please visit our donations page to find out more.

Great memberships

Members are provided with access to the finest boats, rowing machines and club room as well as all club social events.

©2024  All rights reserved.     Company Number: 8900584     Registered Charity Number: 1161813
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