To be authorised as a skipper, members need to demonstrate their competency in the following areas. They must also actively participate in delivering rowing sessions: setting them up and coaching new rowers.

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
  • 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 must also be willing to set up and run rowing sessions and help coach new rower. To manage our rowing sessions we use Eventbrite, a widely used event management tool.

Guidelines for Rowing Sessions and Skiff Booking

Skippers’ guide to Eventbrite

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