Rules for use of club boats.

1. Each crew must have a skipper appointed to be in charge of the boat and crew on the water, who is normally the cox, unless a novice cox is being trained, in which case it is recommended that the skipper should row in the stroke position. The skipper must be a Competent Cox as described in the Competent Cox Guidelines.

2. The following safety kit shall be carried when afloat and the skipper should know how and when to use safety equipment:

  • Anchor with chain and 30m line (minimum combined weight 7 kg)
  • Flares, smoke floats
  • Space blanket for hypothermia
  • First aid kit
  • Woolly hat
  • Two means of bailing boats
  • 8 m of 14mm rope for towing boat fixed to the bow

3. One of the following emergency communication methods must be adopted for every outing

  • Crew has VHF radio on board, and the licensed operator is one of the crew
  • Crew has a mobile phone, or walkie talkie (requires no license) and has a person on shorewatch (if you are not carrying a VHF you must have a shorewatch) who must
    1. Maintain visual contact with the crew, except for any planned period (e.g. whilst rounding an island). Clearly this limits how far you can go without a VHF radio.
    2. Be able to communicate with the skipper – ideally by radio or as a minimum by mobile phone
  • Crew is part of a multi boat outing and stays within voice contact of a crew that has a VHF radio on board. This allows multiple boats to go out, with only one VHF, but they must stay alongside each other during the outing.

4. In addition to the above each crew must notify somebody of their plans. That person is referred to as the supporter (it could be the shorewatch above), and should contact emergency services in the event of the crew not returning. The supporter must

  • agree the proposed route with the crew
  • know who the crew members are and any relevant medical information about them so that accurate information can be given to the emergency services if necessary
  • have a ready means to contact the emergency services should the crew get into difficulties or fail to return (phone 999 and ask for coastguard or VHF channel 16)

5. The skipper and the crew  must both consider and agree that the weather conditions are safe for the proposed route and experience level of the crew. In addition to knowing the state of the wind, tide and forecast and when the sun sets:

  • Check the state of the fairway. If waves are likely to break in the fairway do not go out. Exercise caution in easterly and northerly winds when the tide is descending as conditions may deteriorate.
  • Do not go out in winds above force 5, or when there is a breaking swell unless regatta conditions apply and the course organisers have agreed that the event should go ahead and appropriate rescue cover is in place.
  • If Craigleith is not visible due to fog, then you may row in the West Bay only if it is completely clear of fog, but you must not go beyond the old pier. If conditions are deteriorating do not go on the water at all.
  • Boats must be ashore before dusk (we do not carry lights).

6. All crew members must wear an approved life jacket or buoyancy aid properly fitted, and know how to use it, before getting into the boat. 

7. A cox must always be present in the St Ayles skiffs and be responsible for the boat’s course and maintaining a lookout. 

8. When launching at low tide, you should launch further West along the beach, at the sandy bit opposite the Elcho Green slipway. This is to avoid the rocks that are exposed at the harbour mouth at low tide. The exception to this is if there are waves at that part of the beach, but none in the Fairway.