The club has no safety officer. It is the duty of each member to conduct rowing participation with a care for his/her own safety, to avoid actions likely to endanger others, and to be aware of others in need of assistance. Members are requested to make best efforts to avoid actions which may oblige others to enter the water to save them.
Members are expected to wear buoyancy aids during the months November to March, inclusive, because of the extra risk of falling into cold water. Those declining to do this should write to the club secretary absolving the club of any responsibility for the added risk of not taking this precaution. Members are encouraged to carry reflective safety blankets with them during rowing.
A statement of relevant risks:
RISK ASSESSMENT FOR CITY BARGE – HEALTH AND SAFETY
REVIEW OF RISKS TO THOSE ROWING OR AS PASSENGERS IN CITY BARGE BOATS INCLUDING THE SHALLOP – ROYAL THAMESIS
The risks when using any boat are as follows:
- Falling or being knocked out of the boat into the water.
- Trapping of fingers, hands or arms between boats and solid static objects such as pontoons, bridges and tree trunks.
- Trapping fingers between the oars and the forcole, rowlocks gates or thole pins.
- Particular note must be taken of the heavy weight and therefore momentum of the Shallop, Gondolas, The Balotina, and Regalo but also the sudden swings – the longitudinal instability – of the Venetian boats.
- Particular note must be made of weight when loading and unloading from trailers.
Most City Barge oarsmen will have experience of being in and propelling man powered boats. The key to safety is awareness of the dangers e.g. the power of the oar if uncontrolled in any way. The oars are quite heavy and the forward momentum of the boat is powerful enough to knock the oarsmen over or even to throw them out of the boat. Oarsmen need to be aware of their environment to handle the oars carefully and to go with movement rather than fight it when unforeseen events occur.
Coxswain and Whiffler and Poppa
The people undertaking these roles on any voyage will normally be experienced boatmen. The Coxswain and Poppa needs to be aware of sudden tide rips, windage, movements of the stream especially near locks and weirs and anticipate them. The Whiffler needs to anticipate distance from land and jetties or wherever he may need to jump with a rope to moor the Shallop.
THE MAXIM ONE HAND FOR YOURSELF AND ONE FOR THE BOAT IS WORTH REMEMBERING
A passenger would normally be helped on and off the Shallop as necessary by the Coxswain and/or Whiffler and the designated crew, and will sit in the Stateroom under the canopy. Where necessary life jackets should be offered especially to children and those who can’t swim. They should be requested not to make any violent movements and if requested lower the centre of gravity by moving to the bottom of the boat and to be aware of fingers and never to trail their hands or arms over the side.
In any emergency they must be advised to obey the Coxswain’s and Poppa’s instructions and always steady themselves if they move in the boat. Any adult will take responsibility for the children they bring on board.
It should be noted that the fenders are flotation aids as are the oars and City Barge boats normally have a floating throw line on the boat which can be thrown towards anyone was has fallen in.
Boats are not inherently dangerous provided people are:
- Aware of their environment
- Do not move violently
- Are wary of where they put fingers, arms and hands.
COMMITTEE’S POLICY ON THE WEARING OF LIFE JACKETS
It was agreed at a Committee Meeting on the 19th September 2013 that in future between the 1st November and the 31st March all members will be expected to wear a life jacket when rowing Venetian boats in any club activities. The self inflating life jackets give very little restriction to rowing and we believe that they should routinely be worn. If members object to wearing a life jacket as recommended, then please would they write to the club secretary explaining that they would rather take the risk and in no way would hold the Club responsible for any problems arising.