Rowing or sculling in the dark or in poor visibility is not encouraged; those going out should consider whether their outing is necessary or prudent.

In addition to the published River Status Rules and normal navigation rules, those going out at night must adhere to the following Night Time Rowing Rules:

Night Time rules apply to any crews out after sunset, or before sunrise.


  • Only experienced (as determined by Squad Captains, based on demonstrated capabilities) and supervised crews/scullers are allowed to row/scull at night. This includes senior squads, masters/veteran squads, and recreational squads.
  • Session risk assessments should ensure that the river is not congested, and that crews of significantly different speeds are not on the water concurrently.


  • Racing crews training for a specific event will take precedence over recreational crews, and require their Squad Captain’s prior approval (who must also notify the Rec. Squad Captain at least 24-hours in advance).
  • Advanced and high performance junior squads may row/scull if approved by their coach, who is responsible for the decision.
  • No senior/junior novice, or junior intermediate crews allowed on the river at night.
  • Small boats (1x, 2x/2-/2+) subject to Captain/Squad Captain approval. They will only exceptionally be permitted after the Pair’s Head (~mid October).
  • No Night Time rowing/sculling permitted above A4 road-bridge.
  • No Night Time rowing if water temperature is lower than 5°C.

Visibility & communications requirements:

  • At all times in poor visibility (e.g. after sunset and early morning) craft shall be fitted (using non-marking tape) with club-approved non-flashing white lights showing fore and aft and visible through 360 degrees (i.e. not on the riggers), as required by COLREG (Rule 25).
  • Bow-person (including single scullers) MUST wear a bright (high-visibility) top during low visibility outings. This is strongly advised for all crewmembers.
  • Each boat should carry a mobile phone or 2-way radio in a waterproof container, with club phone number and that of the launch driver/s.

Safety cover:

  • During winter months (November to March inclusive) the Rescue launch MUST be on the water, with a qualified launch driver and second crewmember for the duration of the outing.
  • Coaching launches may be used in addition to (not instead of) the Rescue launch.
  • All launches must have navigation lights that work and are switched on. Launch drivers are reminded to carry a mobile phone pre-loaded with emergency numbers, and a club-provided high-powered torch, in addition to standard launch equipment.
  • All crews to advise safety cover of outing plans, and advise of any changes.

Notwithstanding these rules, the Club Captain or Rowing Safety Advisor can suspend rowing/sculling based upon their risk assessment.

Any member/crew disregarding these rules, or going out when they are not permitted, will be referred to the committee who will consider banning them from rowing at the club.


Even when rowing is permitted, it is every member’s responsibility to carry out their own risk assessment and decide whether it is safe to go out.

If in doubt, don’t go out!

Issue v4.0 24-Aug-2017