Safety Planning Overview



The Safety Plan includes the following documents – all posted here on the website:

1          Risk Assessment                 – for officials

2          Race and Safety Rules       – for crews

3          Marshalling Instructions     – for marshals/umpires

4          Medical Advice                     – for crews

5          Course Diagram                   – for all

The Risk Assessment identifies the biggest cause of possible risk to be fast stream conditions, high winds, cold weather, the age of the competitors and communications breakdown. These are to be assessed for each race.

Red or Yellow boards may be displayed at Molesey Lock. Advice must be taken from the Environment Agency and the Risk Assessment consulted to ensure that all resources are in place. Meetings of race officials, including the Secretary, Chief Umpire, Safety Officer (and TRUC Commissioner if available), will have taken place already on the Wednesday and Friday before the Head Races, but the final one will be at 8.45 a.m. on the Saturday of the event, before the first race, to take a final view of conditions. Apart from Environment Agency River Conditions (Green, yellow, or red ), other factors include current speed past Molesey Boat Club and this will be determined by a STICK TEST. If a stick thrown into the centre of the stream takes 30 seconds or less to pass the 117 feet from the launch mooring post to the green barrier the race may be cancelled, if more than 60 seconds there is likely to be no problem. Other factors will be river flow rate at Sunbury as measured by the gauges installed there, wind speed and water temperature.

5 Marshalling launches, 9 umpires, 3 rescue boats, and control commission personnel will be in place. All equipped with radios and loudhailers. The race is about 3.2km and takes 8 to 13 minutes to complete. The course is generally quite wide, narrowing to three boat widths down Platt’s Eyot. All boats must be coxed or steered by competent individuals. All boats are 8 oared or 4 oared or quad or double sculling boats.

Marshalling of crews before the start of the race needs to be handled carefully. 

Crews are not allowed to do practice starts through the marshalling area to avoid risk of collision. The downstream reach along Platts Ait only may be used.

Crews are marshalled on the Middlesex bank by default. However the Surrey bank may be used in exceptional circumstances to avoid strong stream. The highest marshalling position (1) is now over 1o0 yards from the start buoy so as to increase warm-up space.

There will normally be two junior divisions of 50 boats, time separated in the morning, and a single  masters division in the afternoon. There is no longer a crossover now that all boats are marshalled on the Middlesex bank. There is no overlap between any of the divisions as the numbers are kept low.

Crews are started at least 30 seconds apart. This separation is helped by the slowness of the turn round the buoy. The order of racing is designed to put the fastest boats at the beginning of the race, thus reducing the need to overtake. During the race, there is a risk that racing crews may come close to waiting crews. Marshals should watch for this and use loudhailers to warn both crews.

After the finish crews need to be controlled in entering the cut down to Molesey Boat Club and must be kept clear of the weir downstream. Two marshals are allocated to these jobs. Boats turning to return to the Millennium boathouse or further upstream must keep close to the Middlesex bank and turn when instructed.

Crews need to be assisted onto the landing stage and helped with clearing it quickly and safely. Three helpers are allocated to this.

In the event of a strong stream, 2 additional marshals will be positioned on the bank at the top of the Molesey cut to assist with regulating crews returning.

In the event of an accident, the nearest observer/marshal will radio to Race Control, and indicate the seriousness of the incident. Race Control will decide whether or not to stop the race. In the case of any accident, the nearest observer will call for the Rescue Boat. The nearest Rescue Boat will be responsible for deciding what to do and whether to call 999. The return point for anyone injured will be either Molesey Boat Club (which is beyond the race finish) or The Millennium Boathouse of Hampton /LEH Schools (which is just off the racing course itself ). Both provide appropriate care  facilities and road access. Other points of road access are the hard opposite the Bell at Hampton, Sadler’s Ride and at the end of Cherry Orchard Road. Access is also possible at Sunbury Lock by coming down the towpath.

Paramedics are stationed at Molesey Boat Club and at the Millennium boathouse.

In the unlikely event of radios breaking  down, mobile phones will be used. Numbers are to be exchanged before the race.

The nearest hospital with an A&E Department is Kingston Hospital in Galsworthy Road Kingston KT2 7QB.

Notices summarising the Safety Precautions, Emergency Procedures, the Course Map, and Racing Instructions will be on display at both Boathouses, and all participants are required to familiarise themselves with them.

The phone number for Race Control (Mark Stollery) is 07931 726730. There is no landline at Molesey Boat Club.

Revised 15/1/24