Safety and Rules

It is important that every member has read and complies with the Safety and Water Rules.

Avon Rowing Club (ARC) is committed to providing a safe, fun environment for its members to pursue the sport of rowing but all members of ARC should use their own judgment at all times and are ultimately responsible for their own safety.

NAVIGATION RULES for Avon River/ Otakaro between the upstream limits of Kerrs Reach and the boundary with the Estuary of the Heathcote and the Avon Rivers/Ihutai.

Avon Rowing Club Safety Guidelines and Water Rules
(Based on the New Zealand Rowing Association Water Safety Code, with thanks to West End Rowing Club for permission to use their resources)


This document is intended to provide the members of Avon Rowing Club (ARC) with safety guidelines and water rules in relation to the activity of rowing. The members of ARC should use their own judgment at all times and are ultimately responsible for their own safety.

1.1 SAFETY OFFICER. ARC has a Safety Officer duly elected at the AGM. This officer will advise the club on the requirements of the NZRA Water Safety Code and oversee its implementation and operation.

1.2 EMERGENCY CONTACTS. Emergency numbers are located on the Club Safety Noticeboard. These numbers are Emergency Services ‘111’ and Coastguard.

1.3 GENERAL WATER SAFETY. Visual aids on water safety, lifesaving and resuscitation procedures are displayed on the Club Safety Noticeboard and in the river boat shed.

1.4 LOCAL WATERWAY HAZARDS AND RULES. The plan of the local waterway, drawing attention to the navigation rules and any additional rules required to accommodate specific local hazards, is displayed on the Club Safety Noticeboard and in each boat shed.

1.5 ACCIDENT REPORTING. All accidents are to be reported to your coach and the ARC Safety Officer. The Safety Officer will record the incident in the accident log. The accident log will be stored by the Safety Officer.

The following paragraphs relate to specific aspects of rowing which have been grouped under separate headings for ease of reference.


For the safety of all concerned, rowing equipment must be maintained in good order.


2.1. BOW BALLS. Every boat must at all times carry firmly attached to its bows a white ball diameter made of rubber or material of similar consistency.

2.2 HEEL RESTRAINTS. Heel restraints and ‘quick-release’ mechanisms must be in proper and effective working order in all boats equipped with fitted shoes. The restraints must allow no more than 50mm of heel lift on the shoe.

2.3 LIGHTS. For outings between the hours of 30 mins before sunset to 30 mins after sunrise boats must be fitted with lights as required.

2.4 OAR BUTTONS. Check oars and sculls to ensure that ‘buttons’ are secure and properly set.

2.5 BUOYANCY COMPARTMENTS. Buoyancy compartments, bow and stern canvasses, etc., must be checked to ensure that they will function as intended.

2.6 BOAT LOG. Every boat taken on the water must be signed out in the boat log located in the river boat shed under the Club Safety Noticeboard. The boat is required to be signed back in at the completion of the rowing session. Any issues with the boat or water-way should be noted in the log and the Head Coach, Safety Officer and Club Manager informed.

Either repair the issue before going on to the water (in the case of minor repairs) or if it requires substantial repairs note the problem in the boat log, inform the Safety Officer, Head Coach and Club Manager and use another boat.


3.1 SWIMMING and STRENGTH. All persons participating in rowing or sculling must be in good health and able to swim a minimum of fifty [50] m in light clothing and shoes. Also, they are required to demonstrate sufficient strength to lift a 25kg weight from the ground to over their heads with arms outstretched. This is to simulate the task of lifting boats into and from the water or dumps.

3.2 LIFEJACKETS. All coxswains must wear an approved lifejacket when on the water for both training and in competition. Where the coxswain is located in the bow of a boat, care must be taken in the choice of lifejacket to ensure that the coxswain is not restricted when exiting the boat.

3.3 CREW CAPTAIN. All crews, when going on the water – whether accompanied or not – must appoint a person to have overall responsibility for the crew. This person will usually be the person steering the boat or the stroke of the crew if the person steering is considered unsuitable. It is this person’s responsibility to ensure that the crew complies with the rules and is the person to whom any inquiry will be directed should an incident occur.

3.4 BOAT LAUNCHING. Boats must be carried down or up the ramp by all members of the crew, particularly at low tide when the ramp is steep.

On the pontoon launch the boat with the bows pointing NORTH (away from the boatsheds) to assist departure. At least one crew member should hold the boat alongside the pontoon whilst the oars are fitted or removed.

3.4 SWAMPING. In the case of a swamping or accident on the water, all crew members must remain with the rowing skiff until advised otherwise by the coach or emergency services.


Only approved persons (ARC coaches) are allowed to use powered craft.

4.1 CREW SAFETY REQUIREMENTS. Coaches are not only concerned with coaching their crews; they have a responsibility to remind crews that they need to fulfil the crew’s safety requirements on the water.

4.3 CREW CLOTHING. Coaches must ensure that the whole crew, including the coxswain, are dressed suitably, adequately protected for the weather conditions they are likely to encounter.

4.4 LIFEJACKETS. Coaches and coaching launch drivers must wear life jackets at all times whilst afloat.

4.5 COACHING CRAFT SAFETY EQUIPMENT. All coaching launches and safety boats must carry the following safety aids:

Bailer, air horn or whistle, grab line at least 15m (50ft) long, PFDs for the biggest boat they are coaching (8 max) (see Club Training Below), basic first aid kit (contents recorded and checked before going out), sharp knife, paddle, kill switch device, accessible to the driver at all times, anchor and line, fire extinguisher, mobile phone to assist in communications if there is an emergency.

4.6 LIGHTS. Any activity on the water between the hours of 30 mins before sunset to 30 mins after sunrise requires the launches to be fitted with lights and carry a torch to alert other vessels to avoid collision or to signal for assistance.

4.7 RETRIEVAL OF COACHING BOATS. Extreme caution must be taken when transporting coaching boats down or up the pontoon ramp at mid to low tide. Boats must not be taken down the ramp by one person at these times. A minimum of 3 people should assist at low to mid tide.

4.8 BOAT LOG. All coaches/authorised drivers of the clubs powered craft are required to sign out and sign in the craft they use in the boat log.


5.1 GENERAL. The area of water in which the club carries out its training is clearly defined in the plan of the local waterways. This plan is displayed on the Club Safety Noticeboard.

5.2 TRAINING AREAS These Training Water Areas are; Kerrs Reach, from the ARC boatsheds heading north and turning at the Pages Road bridge.  Waimakariri River from the ARC boatshed heading east before turning at the Waimakariri Sailing and Power Boat Club, also including the Kaiapoi River and turning just after the footbridge at Murphy Park.

Charts of these areas showing the applicable navigation rules, local variations and hazards are displayed on the Club Safety Noticeboard. All members are required to make themselves familiar with these. When training/racing in waters outside these areas coaches, coxswains and steerers (coxless boats) are required to make themselves familiar with the local conditions and water traffic code.

5.4 EXIT POINTS. Suitable landing or exit points need to be identified along the rowing route. These are identified on the charts of the normal training areas.

5.5 TRAINING. Three types of training are identified: 1) Accompanied training (with coach), 2) Unaccompanied training (without coach), 3) Training before dawn and after dusk.

The following conditions apply and must be adhered to.

5.5.1 Accompanied training

When accompanied by the coach in a powerboat – One coach in a powerboat can supervise a maximum of 6 rowing skiffs at any one time, provided that the crew/s are always able to hear given instructions from the coach. The powerboat shall carry the required number of buoyancy aids/PFDs as per 4.5.

All coxswains and coaches must wear approved lifejackets when carrying out their duties on the water.

5.5.2 Unaccompanied training

Permission to train unaccompanied must be sought and obtained from the Head Coach or ARC Manager prior to beginning training. Permission may be granted for either a limited number of unaccompanied training sessions or permanent unaccompanied training.

NOTE: Before going on the water a member of the crew must assume responsibility for the crew. It is that person’s responsibility to ensure that the crew complies with the rules for unaccompanied crews and is the person to whom any inquiry will be directed should an incident occur.

5.5.3 Training before dawn and after dusk

The rules above for Accompanied and Unaccompanied training will apply. In addition: Boats must carry on the bow a continuous all round (360 degrees) white light one metre above the level of the canvas on the bow with a range of 2 nautical miles. All other boats must display a continuous all round white light on the bow capable of being seen for at least 2 nautical miles.


Collision avoidance is the responsibility of both parties in a dispute regardless of Right of Way.

If a collision does occur the Head Coach, Manager and Safety Officer should be informed as soon as possible. These officers will progress the matter with the full cooperation of those involved.

Failure to comply with the Avon Rowing Club’s Safety Plan will result in disciplinary action being taken by the ARC Board.