The following equipment must be carried at all times on all Club boats: small first aid kit, throw-bag, mobile phone or VHF, space blankets, bucket and bailer.

Carrying additional safety equipment, such as Flares & Smoke & EPIRB/PLB, should be considered on more exposed trips.

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 and 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. 

Give obstacles and moored boats a wide berth in strong winds. Longboats have a very shallow draught and are easily pushed sideways by the wind.

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.
  • 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.

Rowing boats must keep out of the way of large vessels or other vessels constrained by their draught or lack of manoeuvrability.

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.

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.

Local hazards

  • Be aware of choppy seas around Ynys Moelfre
  • Y Swnt has limited water at certain heights of tide and is impassable at low tide
  • There are sewerage outflow pipes in Moelfre & Benllech which are hazardous at low tide when they are partially covered.
  • Be aware that there is a reef which extends a cable length to seaward of the pile of rocks at the south of Traeth Bychan.
    • This is covered at high water but is hazardous at other states of the tide

Hazards at the East end of the Straits

  • 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.
  • Do not row at any time in “Friars 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 Friars Bay. 
  • The wreck off Penmon may be totally covered by water and is a hazard that should be given a wide berth.
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Do not row under Beaumaris Pier. Dangling fish hooks etc could injure the crew.

Damage & Incident procedure:

Any damage to a Club boat or injury should be reported to the safety officer. An incident form should be completed at the earliest opportunity.

Specific Emergencies

"Man" over board

  • 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 person in the water.
  • Push the man-overboard down into the water a couple of times to build up momentum before lifting.
  • Other crew move to other side of boat to keep her balanced as the person 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.

Throw bag use

  • 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! 


  • Make the sure that the buoyancy tanks do not leak. If in doubt, fill the tanks with milk bottles etc.
  • Carry one or more buckets.
  • The crew bar-one will have to get out of a swamped boat in order for one rower to start bailing.
  • If the water is choppy, bailing out may not work. In this scenario all crew get out of boat, hold on and await rescue.

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