To be authorised as a skipper, members need to demonstrate their competency in the following areas.

Pre Departure

  • Prepare the boat for departure (arrive at least 10 mins early)
    • throwline and first aid kit
    • two paddles
    • footplates
    • rudder and tiller
    • hammer
    • bailer
  • Assess the ability of crew by conversation
  • Assess weather conditions
  • Assess and interpret tidal conditions
  • Brief the crew on the intended activity
  • Ensure that all lifejackets are correctly fitted
  • Check the bung is secure
  • Request crew sit in appropriate positions with regard to ability and weight
  • Support crew in getting correct rowing set up, i.e. sitting position and foot plates
  • Brief crew on departing pontoon


  • Secure chains across access gap (if departing east pontoon arm)
  • Safely depart pontoon with regard to wind and tidal conditions
  • Manage crew to ship oars safely
  • Ship fenders
  • Gain control of the boat and prepare to row


Use correct commands:

  • Stroke side / Bow side [or Starboard / Port].
  • Make sure crew knows which system you’re using, they know their number and the side they’re rowing
  • Crew numbering
    • Number 1: bow oar / bow [port] side
    • Number 2: stroke [starboard ] side
    • Number 3: bow [port] side
    • Number 4: stroke oar / stroke [starboard]  side
  • Come Forward
  • Ready / Row
  • Row Light / Row firm  / Easy / Hold Water / Back Water

Coach crew in basic rowing techniques:

  • Matching stroke’s time
  • Straight back
  • Straight arms / long reach / clean ‘catch’ / long stroke / lean back into the finish (Diagram)
  • Demonstrate ability to control two sides of the boat independently including at least one ‘buoy turn’
  • show understanding of crew’s abilities and tailor session to suit


  • Bring boat safely back to pontoon in control Watch video
  • Ensure oars are shipped in good time to avoid damage to oars or other craft
  • Ensure fenders are out
  • Ensure crew disembark in a safe manner (one person standing at a time)
  • Moor vessel appropriately using suitable knots and methods and awareness of hazards
  • Tidy vessel
    • unship rudder & tiller
    • cover and lash oars
    • stow footplates in clubhouse
    • stow lifejackets in clubhouse
    • stow paddles in clubhouse
  • Record and communicate immediately (by email to with DAMAGE REPORT in the subject line) anything which may prejudice the next rowing session, eg a broken pin or damaged life vest

Download printable copy

Organising rowing sessions

Skippers are also responsible for  setting up rowing sessions using Eventbrite, a widely used event management tool.

Skippers’ guide to Eventbrite

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