Risk Assessment

Molesey Head Races Risk Assessment

General Water Safety Assessment

It is a condition of entry that this document is read by all Clubs entering crews into this event and it is to be the responsibility of each Club’s Captain (or such other authorized officer of the Club) to review the information in this document alongside the guidance contained in the British Rowing Row Safe Code in determining whether the crews which they have entered are adequately prepared, trained and equipped to take part in this event.

It is further required that competing Club’s representatives and all coxes attend the pre-race briefings in the MBC or the Millennium boathouse.

Should there be any matters that require further information, the Molesey Regatta organizing committee will take all reasonable steps to provide this information.

At all times the safety of Competitors and any other parties involved or associated with this event will be paramount and will over-ride any other factors in the making of decisions by the organizing committee.

Patrick Sinnott – Safety Adviser

Reviewed 15/1/24

All boat movements on the water are covered by the British Rowing RowSafe Code.

The Code applies to all participants, who are responsible for self-policing the Code.

Coaches, marshals, umpires and all regatta officials should apply the Code.

All involved in the Head Races have a duty of care to other river users.

Failure to comply with any part of that Code in relation to equipment or behaviour will lead to the crew or participants not being able to go afloat and/or race.

Three safety launches patrol the course and there are marshalling launches at the start and elsewhere. Umpires are sited along the bank on the Surrey side of the course. Paramedics are also based at Molesey Boat Club and at the Millennium boathouse

All marshals, launches, safety launches, umpires, start and finish areas are in radio contact with race control with mobile phones as back up should the radio system fail or malfunction


Persons who may be affected and

Potential outcome

Risks Control measures to reduce risks Overall risk
Landing stages and the adjacent river areas before and after the race

Trip hazard due to items being left on the landing stages

Danger, especially if there is strong stream, of crews being drawn towards Molesey Weir

Injury to rowers and/or damage to boats Moderate

Raft marshals have been appointed and have been instructed to manage use of the landing stage areas so as to minimize the time crew equipment is left on staging.

There will be marshals at 2 positions on the entry to the Molesey Lock cut (this is the section of the river on which Molesey Boat Club is sited) to ensure that the flow of boats into this area and the rate at which they are cleared from the river is such that we do not have an excess numbers of boats in the area of the Molesey Weir which could place crews at risk.

Similarly a marshal will manage the turn of crews going back to the Millennium boathouse.

The course map contains directions regarding safety in the area of the weir adjacent to the Lock and details of the prohibition from the use of the river channel to the North/Middlesex side of Tagg’s Island

 Prior to race start
Collision with other boats on way to start or in marshalling areas Injury to rowers and/or damage to boats Moderate

Reliance on competency of crews & coaches, and compliance with WSC and the navigation rules applicable to the Thames.

Circulation patterns advised to crews prior to the event, non-compliance may lead to race penalties being applied.

The course map will show the marshalling areas for each group of competitors showing crew number which will be repeated on bankside markers

Failure of equipment, for example heel restraints or bow balls Injury to rowers Low

Limited inspection of boats prior to start of the event

Reminder to Clubs of their duty to provide safe and suitable equipment under British Rowing RowSafe Code

During the race
Incidents involving other racing crews Injury to rowers and/or damage to boats Low

All racing is carried out under British Rowing Rules of Racing and in compliance with the RowSafe Code.

Marshals or Umpires along the course will endeavor to advise boats to move or to change course as necessary if there is a safety issue.

No warm up on the course in the area adjacent to the start or start turning areas. All competitors are advised and must meet the circulation pattern.

Three safety boats available.

Capsize or sinking, rowers falling from boats in other incidents such as catching crab etc Potential drowning, injury or hypothermia following immersion Medium

Umpires & marshals along the course can summon safety boats. Umpires have instructions to control an incident until safety boat(s) arrives

It is to be expected that Clubs will have trained their crews for such eventualities and will have considered the increased hazards associated with immersion in cold water in determining the selection of crews entered for this type of event

Three safety boats available.

Incidents involving other vessels Injury to persons or damage to vessels and equipment Low

Environment Agency informed of the event.

Limited extent of other river traffic anticipated at this time of year

There are two sailing clubs and one canoe club along this reach and they will have full details sent to them before the event to ensure adequate co-operation and co-ordination

Weather risks
Strong stream Crews unable to control boats Moderate

Risk will be known of in advance and the Race Committee and the Safety Adviser will assess the situation in advance.

The Safety Adviser will take account of advice from the EA, and in particular whether red or yellow boards are shown.

Based on the river conditions there may be a decision to treat certain categories of competitor differently with the decision being taken having regard to the levels of competence of crew and cox (where applicable) expected of each category of competitor

The Race Committee may postpone or cancel racing or categories of races if the conditions are deemed unsafe. Racing may be curtailed if red or yellow boards are shown.

Adverse weather, combinations of temperature, wind and water All participants, especially juniors, coxes and lightweights Impossible to determine at time of writing

The race committee will review the weather conditions to determine if it is possible to run the race safely

Every effort will be made to ensure crews have correct amount of time to remove outer clothing in time for the movement from marshalling locations to race start

Competing clubs must ensure their crews are correctly dressed for the race conditions and should review the preparedness of younger competitors in line with their Child Protection duties as younger competitors may not have the necessary experience of suitable clothing for events of this type. See also MHR Child Protection Policy.

Thunderstorm or other storm Damage to equipment and structures. Fatal risk from lightning Low

Race Committee to apply 30 second / 10 minute rule. When gap between visible lightning and thunder is 30 seconds or less, racing is to be stopped and the water is to be cleared. Any tents are to be evacuated, and all spectators to be advised to get into vehicles, to close doors and windows. Action should be taken to minimise the risk of lightning strikes (eg on oars held vertically)

All clear when lightning gap / thunder exceeds 30 seconds for 10 minutes.

High Winds Severe injury, death or damage to equipment Low The Race Committee may postpone or cancel racing or categories of races if the conditions are deemed unsafe.   Low
Major incident
Bomb, terrorist or other war action Deaths, injuries and severe damage Low Police notified and all further instructions will be issued from Surrey Police. Low
Fire Deaths, injuries and severe damage Very Low Evacuate areas in boathouses and wait instructions from Fire Service. Fire Service to control incidents once on site. Low
Vehicle and cycle movements
Fall hazard while unloading boats Injury to rowers and/or damage to boats Low

Reliance on competency of crews.

British Rowing provides guidelines on trailers and towing.

A paramedic present at Molesey Boat Club and Millennium boathouse.

Collision hazard due to trailers, boats and cars and cycles Injury to rowers, spectators and/or damage to boats and vehicles Moderate

Vehicles only allowed to access car and designated trailer parking areas and not the course.

All trailer and car movements under the direction of MAR personnel.

Illness and other medical conditions
Illness and other medical conditions of rowers and spectators Illness or other medical conditions (eg asthma, epilepsy) may require immediate assistance Moderate Provide the paramedics’ location on the course map. Ensure that there are landing points for casualties marked on course map Low
Operational hazards for Organising Committee and Volunteers

Safe operation of launches

Risks apply to all users

Hypothermia Low

All launch users will be advised of issues in the pre-event briefings.

Launch safety kits will be checked.

  Drowning if launch sinks or capsizes or occupants fall out Low Provision of lifejackets from the stocks held at Molesey Boat Club or the Millennium boathouse, which will be checked before issue Low
  Collision with other vessels Low Selection of experienced and capable launch drivers Low
  Equipment failure leading to other unspecified hazards Low

Launches to be checked for safe condition before allocation to users

Crews have radios and can summon assistance if needed