Regatta Stream Stories

Important Safety Information

The Reading Amateur Regatta’s first and foremost concern is the safety of competitors, volunteers and visitors to the Regatta. Below, the safety instructions are printed. Please read them carefully so you know what to do in case of an incident.

1. Introduction

Reading Amateur Regatta is held under the rules of British Rowing and the British Rowing Rules of Racing will apply. Further the Regatta conforms to the 'RowSafe' guide.

A copy of the Safety Plan is lodged with the British Rowing, Police, Environment Agency, life saving and first aid organisations. A First Aid unit will be present in the Regatta Enclosure close to the Finish Tent.  Safety boats crewed by trained personnel will be patrolling the course throughout the regatta.  Umpires are equipped with loudhailers and basic safety equipment – throw-bags and emergency blankets. Safety launches, umpires and other regatta officials are provided with radios operating on the race radio net.

2. Actions concerned with immediate safety

2.1 Instructions to participants

The Regatta Notes for Competitors are distributed via the Reading Amateur Regatta Website. The Notes identify potential hazards and advise on action to minimise the risk of accidents.  To minimise the risk of collision, detailed navigation instructions are included in the regulations, which are also notified to officials and safety launch crew.
A plan of the course is prominently displayed at Crew Stewards and refreshment tent.
The Accident and Action Emergency Plan is section 5 of this Safety Plan, which is distributed to umpires by the Chairman of the Race Committee, to other Regatta officials by the Regatta Controller and to safety boat crews and first aiders by the Safety Adviser.

2.2 Incidents – Collisions & Capsizes

In the navigation channel: Get any boat that is damaged and unable to proceed to the side on the Oxfordshire bank, out of the stream with room for other boats to pass.
Above the start/below the finish: Get any boat that is damaged and unable to proceed to the side, preferably on the Berkshire bank.
On the course: Get any boat that is damaged and unable to proceed to the side, preferably on the Berkshire bank. It should be noted that the only normal entry and exit points to the river is from the landing stages below the finish.  It may be possible, depending on the state of the river to bring individuals or boats ashore on the Berkshire bank.
Umpires and marshals shall pay particular attention to any incident on the river.  Should a crew be involved in a collision or suffer any injury that requires assistance, or should a sculler capsize or crew member fall out of a boat, the official shall summon a safety launch by radio.  If the course is blocked, the official shall also:

  • Advise the start that no further races shall be started.
  • Advise umpires upstream of the incident that races already started but upstream of the emergency shall be stopped.

2.3 Incidents – Extreme weather conditions/ other threats

The course marshal shall consider the forecast weather conditions when recruiting stake-boat volunteers, who must be physically strong enough to hold an eight in expected cross winds and stream conditions.
Start marshals shall arrange for sun-protection, water and relief stake-boat volunteers in excessively hot weather.
In case of extreme weather conditions or other situations that could require the cessation of all racing, either for the day or until the conditions change, the decision will be the responsibility of the Chairman of the Race Committee. If there is a decision to cease rowing, the decision will be communicated via the public address system and radio nets.  (In the case of lightening a risk warning will be broadcast advising participants already ashore to avoid moving boats and oars during the period of the storm.) The message shall make clear whether or not racing could be resumed if conditions improve and whether crews already on the water should return immediately or complete their race first.  As soon as the decision is made, every effort will be made to get all competitors and officials ashore and safe as quickly as possible.

2.4 Protecting children

The organising committee of Reading Amateur Regatta believe that the welfare and wellbeing of all children is paramount. All junior competitors have a right to safety and protection. All suspicions, concerns and allegations of harm will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
The Reading Rowing Club Junior Welfare Officer will be in attendance and can be contacted through Regatta Control. The Welfare Officer may be called over the public address system, by reporting to Race Control.
It is expected that the welfare of junior competitors is primarily the responsibility of the competing clubs own coaches and officers, or individual parents accompanying the children.
In the event of a junior being involved in any incident, the responsible adult will be identified from the competitor’s entry form, held in Crew Registration. The named person will be called over the public address system and contacted by the mobile phone number given on the entry form.
It is the responsibility of the coach or parent accompanying juniors to monitor their whereabouts. In the event of any junior crew member going missing the responsible adult must take appropriate action. In the first instance a call may be broadcast over the PA, by contacting Regatta Control. The named adult, or in their absence, the Regatta Chairman, is responsible for deciding whether the local police should be contacted in the case of any incident
No individual will have access to personal contact details of junior competitors. Only Reading Rowing Club’s Junior Leader, who is CRB checked, has contact details for stake boat children.


Safety launches are provided with radios operating on the race radio net, to maintain contact with umpires and marshals and separate from non-safety communications (e.g. results).
The First Aid unit is provided with a radio operating on the race radio net and has the telephone numbers for additional emergency medical support from:
    Emergency Services: tel. 999
    NHS Direct:  tel. 111
   Royal Berkshire Hospital Accident & Emergency: tel. 0118 3225111

4. Access and transport

In the event of any accident or emergency beyond that detailed in the safety plan and outside the capabilities of the regatta first aid and safety facilities, the emergency services will be called using 999 by mobile phone, or if necessary from fixed lines available at Reading Rowing Club, the Crown Plaza Hotel or the Rivermead Leisure Centre. 
Emergency vehicle access is through the car park to the rear of Reading rowing Club (from the turning off Richfield Avenue at the Crowne Plaza Hotel).

5. Accident and Emergency Action Plan

5.1 Purpose

This Emergency Action Plan sets out mitigation and procedures in relation to an emergency which represents a general threat to Regatta participants.

5.2 Responsibility

Responsibility for actions in the event of an emergency rests with the Regatta Chairman, or in the event of his absence or incapacity, the Grounds Manager, or in his absence or incapacity, the Chairman of the Race Committee.  These individuals will carry mobile phones at all times.

5.3 Threats

Identified threats, probability and impact, mitigating issues and actions are as follows:



Impact (threat to personal safety)

Mitigating Issues

Action in event of emergency

Fire in Reading Rowing Club



Normal fire  precautions already available (alarm, extinguishers)

Evacuate building.  Call emergency services.  General evacuation if necessary

Fire in marquee



Extinguisher to be situated in marquee

Evacuate Marquee.  Call emergency services.  General evacuation if necessary

Serious public disorder or violent behaviour

Very low


None considered necessary

Call police.  General evacuation if necessary

Terrorist Threat

Very low


None considered necessary

Call police.  General evacuation if necessary

5.4 Reporting

Crew Stewards and the Grounds Manager will be the initial public contact points for reporting of emergencies.  The Grounds Manager will wear a high visibility jacket for identification at all times.  The mobile phone number of the Grounds Manager will be clearly displayed in Crew Stewards and the marquee as an emergency reporting number.  If an emergency is reported to Crew Stewards, they will contact the Grounds Manager via mobile phone.
   Regatta Controller: Duncan Coneybeare 07587 142357
   Site Manager: James Denny 07506 593627

5.5 Actions

The Site Manager will assess the situation.  If necessary, he/she will call emergency services using 999 by mobile phone or, if necessary, from fixed lines available at Reading Rowing Club, the Holiday Inn or the Rivermead Leisure Centre.  If there is a fire in the Rowing Club or the Marquee, he/she will initially order local evacuation.  If the emergency may require the stopping of racing or general evacuation, he/she will inform the Regatta Chairman.  They will agree appropriate action.

5.6 Emergency Services Access

Access is via the car park to the rear of Reading Rowing Club (from the turning off Richfield Avenue at the Crowne Plaza Hotel). The entrance will be open and manned during racing.

5.7 Evacuation

If an evacuation is ordered by the Regatta Chairman (or his substitute, see 5.2 above), evacuation instructions will be given via the PA system or, if this is not working, by hand-held megaphone (race umpires have these and will be contacted by radio).  The normal evacuation area will be out of the back of the enclosure in the direction of the Rivermead Leisure Centre.  If this is not possible due to the nature of the emergency, the secondary evacuation direction will be towards the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  Instructions will be given to leave on foot (not using motor vehicles).

6.Additional Documents

These documents support the Safety Plan.  Their purpose is to inform, guide or remind competitors, Umpires, Officials, various other river users, Regatta volunteers on how to conduct themselves whilst in the regatta location.  These are stand alone documents and notices that have been produced and are listed below:

6.1 Notes to Competitors

On-line information ( provides guidance to the competitors on how to get to the Regatta, parking arrangements, how the Regatta is run, essential information on the course and informs them about first aid facilities and how to liase with the Regatta in the case of an incident.

6.2 Information For River Users

To provide information and guidance to any river used pass though the Caversham reach during the Regatta period

6.3 The Essentials Of The Reading Amateur Safety Plan

This is an aide-memoir primarily for Volunteers and who may become involved in an incident.

6.4 Conduct On The River Notice

This is displayed in the boat and crew registration areas to remind crews of their obligations whilst afloat.

This concludes the safety information