These are the rules under which Coastal Rowing and Touring Australia Inc (CRATA). operate their boats. The rules will be amended from time to time to ensure they are current and relevant. The rules apply to all crew operating CRATA boats.

Middle Head, Sydney Harbour,  Australia. 

Risk Warning

This RISK WARNING is issued to all persons participating in rowing and related activities conducted by Coastal Rowing and Touring Australia Inc. Participants are warned that, regardless of the precautions taken by experienced persons, rowing can be a potentially dangerous pursuit and participants are exposed to significant risk of property damage, physical harm and possible death. These risks may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Exposure to the elements for extended periods.
  • Impact with other vessels, the shore, or fixed objects such as moorings, buoys, navigations poles and similar.  
  • Impact with wholly or partially submerged objects such as logs and rocks. 
  • Grounding in shallow water. 
  • Swamped or run over by another vessel such as a powerboat or sailing boat. 
  • Failure of equipment leading to loss of vessel control. 
  • Capsizing or entanglement in the water which may result in drowning. 
  • Changes of weather and sea conditions which may change suddenly and without warning. 
  • Over-exertion while rowing, training or competing. 
  • Absence of immediate medical care and the likelihood that significant delays may occur before medical assistance becomes available.  

The risks associated with rowing may result in injury, and in rare cases could lead to loss of life or permanent disablement.

Coastal Rowing and Touring Australia Inc. also warns participants it may be unable to render assistance to participants who are in distress in all situations.

Participants are warned to consider the above risks and all other risks before deciding to participate in any rowing activities with Coastal Rowing and Touring Australia Inc.

Participants are also advised that although Coastal Rowing and Touring Australia Inc. is covered by third party liability insurance, this cover DOES NOT NECESSARILY extend to participants in a rowing vessel.

Any participant who considers they have a need for insurance must make their own private arrangements with an insurer. 

Lavender Bay, Luna Park, Sydney, Australia 2016 


Safety Rules V2

Risk minimization is our aim.

When risks are identified they must be treated by a contingency plan or removed.

1.         All crewmembers should wear or carry clothing suitable for any weather conditions, which are likely to occur during the rowing session, e.g. hat, sunscreen and water bottle, outer shell, dry bag.

2.         Coxswains must wear a PFD Level 150 life jacket in open and rough waters. PFD 150 life jackets will be available to each rower.  All safety boats will carry additional life jackets.

3.      Leg ropes are a mandatory safety feature when on open waters or operating offshore and must be attached to the boat. It is recommended that rowers use them to ensure their own safety especially when off shore and/or in circumstances where rowers may become separated from the boat.

4.         Boat Captain      Each boat will have a nominated Boat Captain who is responsible for navigation, safety and teamwork. Boat Captains are to attend the briefing at the start of each day during which any particular navigation rules and hazards will be explained.

5.         Boat Captain's must carry out a risk assessment before each rowing session. Rowing may only occur after all the risks have been assessed; the area and maritime rules have been considered, and the potential risks are deemed to be minimal.

6.         Boat Captains of each crew have the right to refuse entry to the boat to person/s that they feel are unsuitable or incapable of safely completing the planned sessions. Boat Captains are responsible for ensuring the general water safety of persons under his/her care and all rowers in the boat should, at all times; heed the directions of the Boat Captain.

7.         Boat Captains must make sure that their boat is carrying:

·       Drinking water and food to last until the next stop.

·       Route diagram/ maps.

·       Mobile phone and waterproof bag.

·       First Aid Kit.

·       Personal crew gear suitable for the weather and length of row.

·       EPIRB 2km off shore.

·       Serviceable Life Jacket, one for each crew member.

Note: Boat Captains have discretion not to carry these items on short duration rows in know, sheltered or calm waters.

8.       Coxswains         Coxswains duties:

·       Pilot the boat, sometimes under the direction of the Boat Captain.

·     Use the rudder efficiently and effectively. When using large rudders the boat will roll, when applying rudder the cox must counter this tendency by transferring weight.

·       Maintain a constant lookout and situational awareness.

·     Be aware of shallow water, reefs and tides and their effect on the hull and rudder.

·       Understand the implications of being on a lee shore.

·      Understand capabilities and limitation of hull design and the crew.

·       Effectively manoeuver the boat in tides, waves, swell and cross winds.

·       Manage removable fins so that they don't get damaged.

·       Get the best out of their crew.

·       Give clear concise and appropriate orders so that all crew can hear.

9.      Coxswain's are to follow the navigation rules:

·   Keep to the right (Starbourd) (as seen from the Cox's seat) unless indicated otherwise.

·      Follow all channel markers, if you stray outside these areas you may run aground or hit rocks. At hazardous areas safety boats may assist you to identify these areas and keep clear.

·        Avoid areas signposted DANGER.

·    Keep clear of ferries and cables. Watch for flashing red light. Do not proceed until it is switched off.

·       Use single file in restricted waterways and channels.

·   Keep clear of large ships, fast ferries and fishing boats as they can produce dangerous wash!

·      Tide flows can be significant, so care must be taken when docking and manoeuvering.

·        Launch and recover into the tidal flow.

10.    Boat Captains are  responsible for maintaining the safe condition of the boat.

11.   If you require First Aid advise the Boat Captain who will make contact with the support team.

12.    In some situations a support team and boat marshals may assist you to get your boats in and out of the water safely. Please follow their requests.

13.   Support boats may accompany rowers. These boats are there to help you so please use them if you require assistance.

14.    Emergency numbers are to be contained in the mobile phone waterproof bag. Boat Captains are to ensure that all crew know how to use the mobile phone and its location.

15.   Any minor incidents during the event must be reported as soon as possible to the support team who will advise Tour Control as necessary.

16.    In an emergency, e.g. illness of a crewmember:

·       Call the Coast Guard or dial 000.

·       Remaining crewmembers row the boat immediately to a suitable landing point.

·     If out of contact a Search and Rescue (SAR) Time is to be left with a responsible person.  The SAR Time is the Expected Time of Arrival plus a safety margin i.e. 30 to 60 minutes. If the crew has exceeded their SAR Time, actions are to be taken to start a search.

17.    Weather: The decision to row is to be made by the Activity organizer each day and reassessed at midday after consulting weather forecast and actual weather. This decision is not to be delegated.

18.     Boat Captains are responsible for monitoring the weather situation during rowing, making early decisions and taking all necessary actions to ensure the safety of the boat/s and the crew/s.  Safety is our priority. Crews are to be consulted and given all available information; they must be comfortable with any decision to row, and capable of handling the boat in the likely conditions to be encountered during the intended journey. Contingence plans are to be made in remote areas, where rescue services are not close at hand and communications are poor or non-existent.

19.    If there is a possibility of capsizing:

·             Keep the crew together and stay with the boat.

·             Always have a contingence plan.

·            If in rough open waters; employ leg ropes and ensure that all crew are wearing a life jacket.

·             Keep the boat square on to the waves.

·             Use maximum boat speed when running before large waves on bars.

·          When running before steep waves the bow may submerge and the boat may round up (go side on). To prevent this, the cox will call "stop rowing" and "come forward"  With the shift of weight aft the bow will rise and often the boat will surf. Rudder control may also improve. Crew keep oars clear of the water.

20.   All crew are to carry out an annual capsize drill and demonstrate they can swim 300m unassisted. Members who fail the test are to wear an approved PFD 150 Life Jacket at all times while in the boat in open or rough waters.

21.    To overcome confusion the terms "Port" and "Starboard" are to be used for Coastal Rowing Boats.  Coxswain's are to have a good understanding of channel markers and their meaning, plus international navigation rules.