Incident reporting

Incident Reporting

As part of the TRRC pact with the PLA we, the TRRC on behalf of  every single rower in the country, agreed to report incidents.  See below the lines in red

As a result of the increasing numbers of reported accidents on the Tideway
involving rowing boats, in 2004 the Port of London Authority (PLA) employed the
Salvage Association to undertake an independent risk assessment into rowing
practices on the Thames between Putney and the PLA landward limit at
The Salvage Association observed the way in which rowers used the tideway with
particular emphasis on the practice known as “working the slacks”, whereby
rowers cross the river to row on the inside of certain bends rather than the
starboard side. The conclusions of the Salvage Association Report (the Report)
were, in short, that the current system did not work, because the rules were not
clear and because there was imperfect knowledge and application of the rules.
An implementation group, [RRAIG, on which I served,] consisting of a cross-section of experienced river users, was formed to review the many recommendations of the Report. It concluded that it was not the rules but imperfect application of them that was the main problem. 
As a result, this Code of Practice did not make many changes from the then current  system. Its aim was to make all the rules clear, so they are easier to understand and  teach . What changes or additions were made, were simply laying down as  regulations what in the past should have been applied as common sense. 

It is appreciated that the majority of rowers wished the system to be improved and welcomed the simplification and regularisation of the rules. Any who do not,
should appreciate that if this Code of Practice does not maintain the improvement in navigation, rowing practice and ancillary matters, for example, the reporting of incidents by rowers, that the PLA expects, it will be not be a case of simply rescinding it. Should this attempt at a compromise fail, the next step will be a blanket implementation of the International Collision Regulations, which is likely to have a negative effect on the experience of rowing for all. It is up to the rowing community, individual, club and regions to take responsibility for following the Rowing Code

Why is it important to report incidents?

  • We can all learn from others where situations have lead to an incident and hopefully not put ourselves in similar situations
  • Clubs can use their reports to identify areas of safety needing attention in their location
  • Regional Rowing Safety Advisers are able to offer advice and help clubs develop their safe practice
  • Statistics gathered are important to counter knee jerk reactions to situations. For example ‘all rowers should wear lifejackets like canoeists and yachtsmen!’

Why report capsizes – even a simple capsize?

At one (or more) times in a sculler’s career he or she will have capsized with nothing more than hurt pride and a ‘ribbing’ from the other club members.

Why do we ask you to report apparently footlingly silly “non-” or “near” incidents such as a capsize in warm water for a novice or a slight grounding resulting in a bent fin?

Answers: Let us consider capsize.

Capsize example

Why do we have to report all capsizes even those which are ‘common’ such as those with novices when first learning to scull?

Sooner or later (let us hope it never happens) someone may come to serious harm after a capsize. In the future a Court may well ask the question – “Just how dangerous is this rowing lark? Should we not make the all rowers wear life jackets as do all dingy sailors?”

Well, if we can point out the fact that we have x thousand or tens of thousands of capsizes a year and that for y decades of this rate of capsize, no one has come to serious harm since we started to gather these data and there were, say, x, 000,000 capsizes reported over the last y years we can provide the Court with objective data on the number of capsizes that resulted in a safe recovery versus those that resulted in serious harm or worse. It is the gathering of such objective data that we seek this information.

No gathering of data = no stats. No defence if it ever comes to Court. For example, by gathering such data nationally it is known that the danger from getting dressed in the morning has quite a surprising high rate of injury or even death!

We at BR are leading the way in comparisons with other sports. You can play your part by reporting incidents where there has been a chance of injury even though none has occurred. Airlines report near misses on a no blame basis and we intend to do the same. Self-reporting will never lead to BR instigating action against a club. The system is there to help you self analyse.

Fin loss example

Similarly, if you report the location of the fin loss and we find it is regularly in the same places, we can build up a risk assessment map of locations where we need to be more careful. Such data provision is useful not only for prevention but also for accounting costs and insurance provision.

See guidance culled from RowSafe below:

Examples of incident types you need to report. (NOTE that this is not just on the water but everything to do with rowing and the club wherever so situated)

Capsize or falling out of boat through: inexperience, contact with another rowing boat, contact with other object, equipment or boat failure.

Collision through: contact with static object, moving object, navigation issue, poor visibility or lighting. Collision of boat with rigger on or off the rack, collision of body with boat (head on rigger for example), collision of rigger with boat (rigger damage on rack) etc etc.

Swamping through: rough water, collision with other rowing boat, collision with other object, wash.

Health related: manual handling, respiratory, hypothermia, heat stress, water-borne disease. (only report infected blisters – ignore normal ones!).

Equipment failure: boat buoyancy, riggers, gates, seats/feet, steering equipment, bowball, blades/sculls, safety/coaching/rescue launch, PFD’s, throw lines, racking

Land training due to: weight training, circuit training, running, cycling, indoor rowing, slips/trips

Behaviour: vandalism/violence. Bad navigation. 
Help us to help you improve your safety – even near misses provide important learning points


Individual Persons
  • Know the reasons for and importance of reporting and how to report online ALL incidents in which you are involved or witness (during training or recreation, at a camp or competition)
The Club’s Responsibility for action to
  • Foster within the club the reporting of all incidents and especially even ‘near incidents’ using the British Rowing online system and, where required, to any other relevant authority, such as the PLA within specified time periods (Note for TRC members the PLA require only a report if the damage is over £500 and will accept the BR report forwarded on)
  • Ensure all club members are aware of what constitutes an incident and ‘near incident’ that needs reporting and are aware of how to report them online
  • Set up a system within the club to enable the use of the British Rowing online reporting system ensuring that all incidents are reported as required by British Rowing
  • Regularly monitor the British Rowing online reporting system to gather information on club incidents and use the statistics to develop safer practices
  • Keep the members informed of incidents and ’near incidents’ at the club and ways in which action must be taken to avoid repetition
The Coach’s Responsibility for action to:
  • Know the reasons for and importance of reporting and how to report online ALL incidents in which you or your crews are involved or witness (during training or recreation, at a camp or competition)
Competition Organisers and Competition Water Safety Adviser
  • Know the reasons for and importance of reporting and how to report online ALL incidents involving spectators, competitors, or their boats or equipment during the competition. Note: This includes any incident where there is a ‘near incident’ which could have resulted in personal injury and/or damage to equipment, as well as one where there is only superficial injury (minor cut, bruise, abrasion or strain) and/or minor damage to equipment.
Club Rowing Safety Adviser
  • Know what constitutes an incident or ‘near incident’ and why and how to report them
  • Monitor regularly the Club incident log on the British Rowing online system and communicate to the club and committee the results and actions taken
  • Inform the club members of the British Rowing online incident reporting system and encourage its use
  • Advise the club committee on the results of the data review at suitable regular intervals and ways in which action can be taken to avoid repetition of the incidents and ‘near incidents’
Regional Rowing Safety Adviser
  • View online incidents as soon as practicable after notice has been sent by email
  • Analyse all reports promptly and respond or where necessary require or take further action
  • Liaise with the Regional Rowing Council in taking action on serious incidents
  • Liaise with the Honorary National Rowing Safety Adviser in taking action on serious incidents
Local Authority
  • Comply with any additional requirements enforced by your Local Authority such as:
    • The Port of London Authority, Marine Accident Investigation Branch or other authority
  • Any other system for general incident reporting such as bad behaviour or bad navigation (e.g. that for the Thames Region)