Safe Rowing at Beaumaris


1. Equipment carried at all times on all Club boats: small first aid kit, throw-bag, mobile phone or VHF, space blankets, bucket and bailer, safety knife and stirrup. A flag shall be flown from the stern during all non-race outings.

2. Security & care of equipment
the boat trailer shall never be put in the water: use launching trolley or carry the boat to water’s edge
the boat trailer shall be wheel clamped at all times when not in transit
when ashore, the boat shall be propped up so that water drains out and the bung shall be removed. The cover shall be put on the boat when ashore.
By-Law 1: A crew returning a boat to the pound in a mucky state shall take responsibility for cleaning her.

oars should not be raised above waist-high on the shore and in the boat. Have pity on the poor cox and passers-by!

3. When on the water in a Club boat or taking part in the launch or recovery of a Club boat, all members at all times shall wear a life-jacket or buoyancy aid,
except that in races only after the Cox and the Stroke have considered all the current circumstances, including the age, experience and general fitness of the crew, the weather, sea and visibility conditions, the Cox may pass the responsibility for wearing or not wearing life-jackets to the individual crew members.

Race crews shall wear life jackets or buoyancy aid when boarding the boat and shall keep the life buoyancy aid or life jacket to hand in the boat.
Revised July 2015

Crutch straps are essential to prevent the inflated life jacket riding up over the user’s head. So buy a life jacket with a fitted crutch strap or buy a separate strap and retro-fit it.

4. Permission shall be required from a Club Launch Officer to launch a boat.

Permission to take a boat to an away event shall be given by the Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary acting together.

One member of the crew of a boat going to an away event will be designated as “captain” who will:
be responsible for the safety of the crew and boat
will collect the entry fee and petrol costs from the crew
reimburse the driver of the towing vehicle

5. If fresh Easterly or South-Easterly winds cause bumpy conditions on the slipway, consider launching and recovering from the beach by the Pier Cafe.

In strong South-Westerly winds, consider trailing the boat to Gallows Point, launching and recovering from the beach there.

Give obstacles such as Beaumaris Pier and moored boats a wide berth in strong winds. Longboats are very shallow and are easily pushed sideways by the wind.

6. Boarding and Landing
The cox is responsible for the safe boarding and disembarking of the crew.
Keep a lookout for incoming washes from passing vessels.
Decide who will row where in the boat at the top of the slipway.
When landing, row the boat very slowly towards the shore with rowers at 3 and 4 until the bow rower’s feet touch the bottom.
When boarding, push the boat into deeper water to keep her afloat.

7. If the boat is left to dry out on the beach, take the rudder off to prevent the boat ending up resting on the rudder.
Make sure that there are enough crew to lift the boat to put her back into the water.

8. The Launch Officer shall be responsible for monitoring the boat’s safe return.

9. The mussel boats working off Beaumaris have to navigate above the mussel beds. Rowing boats should keep well clear of mussel boats at all times.

10. The navigation channel in the Menai Strait is narrow. Ships are confined to this channel by their draft.  Rowing boats must keep out of the way of large vessels.

11. Rowing boats are low in the water and are vulnerable to being run down by larger vessels. Rowing boats must keep a lookout behind as well as in other directions.

12. When cruising, rowing boats should give way to racing yachts out of courtesy. Racing yachts will be concentrating on their race and their look-out may be impaired. Racing yachts may also make sudden and unpredictable changes of course.

13. Local hazards

a. Puffin Sound: Be aware that conditions in the Sound may be different to those in the Strait. For example, a swell coming from the North can be compressed by an adverse tide into steep waves.

b. Do not row at any time in “Boulder Bay”  because of the danger of collision with rocks just under the surface of the sea. When going to the North East, pull into the channel or go over the banks from the three houses before the radio mast until after headland at the end of Boulder Bay.

c. The wreck off Penmon may be totally covered by water and is a hazard that should be given a wide berth.

d. The Lavan Sands and other banks dry out at half-tide and after. Boats should come away from the banks in good time to avoid stranding.

e. There are strong tidal streams in the Menai Strait. When possible, go up-tide first and then come back with the tide. Be aware that rowing back against the tide will be tiring.

f. There is a large rise and fall of tide in the Menai Strait. If the tide is going down, ensure that the crew will be able to get the boat back up the slipway after the outing. If the crew goes ashore during an outing, ensure that the boat will not be stranded by a falling tide.

g. Do not row under Beaumaris Pier. Dangling fish hooks etc could injure the crew.


 Keep the throw-bag to hand in the stern, not inside the dry-bag.
 Undo the bag and pass the rope end to another crew member.
 Do not wrap the rope around your arm or wrist. If necessary, wrap the rope around your back. Pay out some rope if tension becomes too great.
 Do not stand in the boat. Throw while sitting down.
 Throw the bag overarm so that it lands upwind and up-tide of the rescuee.
 Throw the bag past the rescuee so that he/she can grab the rope.
 Re-pack the rope by leading it over your shoulder and just push it into the bag: do not coil the rope as this may cause a tangle.
 Do some practice throws before you need to use the bag for real! 

15. Damage procedure: Any damage to a Club boat should be recorded in the Damage Log.  

16. Incident procedure: In the event of an accident or a near-miss associated with any rowing activity, an ‘Incident Form’ should be completed:

(a) On returning to shore, the crew should discuss the incident and agree on one member of the crew to fill in the incident form.  If agreement cannot be reached, more than one member may submit a form.

(b) Injuries which might have been caused by rowing activity may become apparent some time later. An incident form should be submitted in these circumstances by the member concerned.

Copies of the completed ‘Incident Form’ should be sent to the Beaumaris Rowing Club Safety Officer and Secretary very soon after the incident before memories fade.

Completed Forms can be viewed within the Incident Log. These will allow Club Officers to make any amendments or additions deemed necessary to this document and / or issue a ‘Safety Alert Notice’.

Please don’t hesitate to report incidents. We operate within a ‘no blame’ culture and merely seek to raise awareness of incidents involving our members to avoid the same thing happening to others.


    –  Pilot or bow rower points to man-overboard until back holding on to the boat.

    –  Bring the man-overboard to side opposite stroke gate: cox and stroke assist in lifting.

    –  Heel the boat down towards the man in the water.

    –  Other crew move to other side of boat to keep her balanced as man comes back into boat.

    –  Carry a strop.  If it is not possible to get the man-overboard back into the boat and put the strop under his/her armpits to keep him/her alongside. Then row slowly to the shore or await rescue.

(“man” = male or female rower)


    –  Make the sure that the buoyancy tanks do not leak. If in doubt, fill the tanks with milk bottle etc.

    –  Carry one or preferably more buckets.

    –  A swamped Longboat has very little freeboard. It might be necessary for some of the crew to get out of the boat and hang on to the side for the others to be able to bail her out.This procedure needs to be tried out in practice.

If the water is choppy, bailing out may not work. In this scenario the crew may have to remain with the boat and await rescue.

19. Members are also requested to study the safety and good-practice information on the Welsh Sea Rowing Association website.

20. MOB Incidents :- Guidance on the Appropriate Rescue Response

In the event of a MOB arising from one of our club rowing boats then the leader of the remaining crew should appoint a spotter to maintain visual contact with the MOB and quickly decide between a self rescue attempt or MAYDAY call to seek urgent professional help. This decision would be based on the remaining crew’s physical capabilities, condition of the MOB, the risk of swamping or capsize of the longboat particularly as it lists when an attempt is made to pull the MOB over the gunwhale, and any other pertinent factors e.g   sea state, location, water temperature, strength and direction of both wind and tide.

A Mayday call should be sent out immediately if the victim is unconscious or unwell.

If the MAYDAY route is chosen then the boat should be kept reasonably close to the MOB and some physical connection made to the casualty by deployment of the throw bag or stirrup  if conditions allow without unreasonably jeopardising the safety of the remaining crew or the MOB.

A Mayday call must be a matter of judgement, not a knee jerk reaction. A Mayday call would lead to an immediate lifeboat launch bypassing any discussion between the Coastguard and the Duty Launching Authority. It would also lead to any vessels in the vicinity coming to assist, which would be overkill in the scenario a fit rower overboard in warm and calm conditions. If the remaining crew are very confident of executing a successful self rescue  guidance is given within ‘Safe Rowing At Beaumaris’  Section 17.

Always remember that any failed rescue attempt made prior to any MAYDAY call will cost precious time, might make the situation much more severe with risk of the longboat being swamped or capsizing during the rescue attempt and might lead to professional help arriving too late if summoned to save the MOB or indeed save any of the crew.

Finally, with lives potentially at risk, IF IN ANY DOUBT CALL THEM OUT!  (MAYDAY x3)