Some guidance for boating safely with cruisers and other large boats:

· Risks to rowing craft from larger vessels include: collisions; swampings; sinkings; and 'getting in each other's way'
· Be aware that you may not be visible to the 'Captain' of cruisers or larger vessels, particularly the double decker 'party' boats that are out during the summer
· Give them a wide berth
· Avoid overtaking when doing a piece (plan your piece between lock batches)
· Be aware that some larger vessels will use the 'wrong' arch on Maidenhead road bridge
· If you have encounter problems, take the name of the boat and report to the lock keeper
· Be polite (e.g. when requesting them to slow down, or cut wash) – most respond positively

Sound signals (from British Rowing Quick Guide to Steering on the Tideway, Feb 2010)

One short blast - I am turning to starboard ie my right
Two short blasts - I am turning to port ie my left.
Three short blasts - I am about to reverse. This is usually followed by one blast or two blasts to show which way the boat is about to turn whilst reversing
Five short blasts - I have no idea what you are doing and I am worried about your position
One Long blast - I am coming but I cannot see fully where I am going!

Rowing safely at Maidenhead Abridged summary of the Safety Plan

These are the key safety issues which all members should be continually thinking about before and during any outing:


The river status board, night rowing and cold water rowing rules detail who can row under what conditions and when additional supervision is required. These rules are set as a minimum level that members must obey. In addition members are required to do their own risk assessment before they go out and are expected to take further appropriate precautions as necessary.

The risk assessment should consider the following:

  • The current and forecast weather and river conditions, including wind, rain, river flow speed, water temperature, fog, ice, lightning;

  • The ability of the crew and cox to cope with the weather and river conditions in the boat type being used;

  • Other river traffic including other club, commercial and recreational boats that might be on the river and the ability of the crew to cope with this additional traffic.

Should the original risk assessment change during the outing, members should review their initial assessment and take the appropriate action.

Boat Condition

The crew is responsible for checking the condition of the boat before they go out. The check should include the following: hull integrity, steering, bow ball, heel restraints, hatch covers, rigger top and fixing nuts and slides all of which must be in place before going out.

Navigation & Avoiding Collisions

All boats must stay within the recognised main turning points on the river, that is upstream adjacent to the Boulters restaurant/bar and downstream halfway down the river channel approaching the lock where the blue danger sign is. Boats must not go outside these areas unless they are travelling through locks.

All members must be familiar with the main danger areas on the river including islands, channel posts, narrows, sharp corners, bridges, shallows and deep water bank areas where it is difficult to get out. New members who are not familiar with the river need to be accompanied by a coach until they are competent to navigate safely by themselves.

At all times boats must obey the navigation rules of the river, keeping to the right hand side when looking in the direction of travel. Boats must be continually aware of where they are on the river and if off station then take immediate steps, stopping if necessary, to get back into the correct navigation lane.

In particular boats travelling upstream navigating Bray Corner should be aware that there is a high risk of going wide and colliding with traffic coming downstream. Special attention is required on this corner. Boats travelling downstream should not cut the Bray Corner. Boats travelling upstream and downstream need to be aware of their position on the river when navigating the entire length of the reach; but it is especially important at Bray Corner, and other potentially dangerous areas of the river.

The main areas of serious accidents and damage over the last fifty years have been Bray Corner, breaking boats across the channel marker outside the club, hitting Maidenhead bridge buttresses and getting stuck on Bray weir on which an eight was stuck in flood conditions. The one fatality in the club was due to an undisclosed Epliletic, sculling alone. 


Issue v1.1 04-Apr-2014

Incident Reporting

For any incident that either resulted in, or could have resulted in injury to a person or damage to property, the coach or steers person involved should fill in an online incident report form which can be accessed through the following link






Learning from Incidents and Near-misses


We can all learn from others where situations have lead to an incident and hopefully not put ourselves in similar situations, and identify areas of safety needing attention to minimize risk.

Browse the articles categorised below to familiarise yourself with the advice issued by British Rowing and the Maidenhead Rowing Club Safety Committee.


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