Basic River Safety
In January 1999 the “Rules and Guidelines for rowing on the River Clyde” were drawn up and adopted by all the Rowing Clubs associated with the River Clyde above the Tidal Weir at Glasgow Green. These rules lay a foundation for the sage and considerate use of the river when rowing. We are obliged to follow the rules as we accepted them and Glasgow City Council recognises them.
Thanks are due to Mr George Parsonage and Mr John Bowie for the years of collecting and collating the views of river users, which have come together in this publication.
The Rowing Club Rules and Guidelines are endorsed and supported by the Water Safety Working Group.
Rowing is recommended, in the interest of safety, to take place only between the Tidal Weir at Glasgow Green and the top of the straight which runs past Westhorn Park (known as the Belvidere Straight).
The following rules have been taken from the Glasgow Humane Society’s Rules and Guidelines for Safe Use of the River Clyde by Rowing Clubs.
Rules of the river
- River users should recognise their responsibility for their own safety
and the safety of others. Due regard should be taken of the Safety Rules
- Boating is not allowed without the presence and authorisation of a
Committee member (or in the case of the schools, a Rowing Master),
except for those members granted dispensation by the Committee.
- Boats should keep to the left at all times (i.e. when rowing upstream
stay on the north bank and downstream on the south bank).
See Guideline No. 8
- Boats must only be launched and landed from a recognised landing
stage. Visitors must seek permission from the relevant club before
- All boats shall be responsible for their own steering. If there is danger
of a collision boats should stop.
- Boats must be water worthy and comply with safety regulations.
- All coxes must wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, suited to the boat
when on the water. This must be the outermost garment worn.
- All crews and scullers must be able to swim in accordance with the
See Guideline No. 12
- All coaches should carry a rescue bag or throw rope.
- Boats shall not go afloat in adverse water or weather conditions.
- No boat shall be on the water in bad visibility or the hours between
dusk and dawn.
- There will be no standing or changing of seats in boats except at club
- Coxes must be able to see beyond the bow of their boat.
- Boats should not stop, turn or overtake on a bend, under a bridge or
immediately upstream of a bridge.
- Beginners should not boat unsupervised.
- All rowers and coxes should make themselves aware of obstacles on the
river, the position of which should be marked on a map on display in the
- Fences and gates at club compounds should be kept secure at all times.
River users should inform the appropriate authorities (the Glasgow
Humane Society or the Police) if they observe anyone in a dangerous
- Clubs should ensure that the Police and other appropriate authorities
have names and telephone numbers of members who can be called out
in the event of an emergency.
- All appropriate authorities and river users should be informed where
possible of any regatta or other event planned for the river.
- Agreed safety practices must be employed at all regatta and other events
taking place on the river
- All visitors to the river and clubs must abide by these rules.
- It is accepted that in some emergency situations, it may be impossible to
comply with these rules.
- Know where the safety notice board is located and read it.
- Know the location of the First Aid Equipment. The names of persons qualified in First Aid should be posted on club noticeboards.
- In an emergency telephone 999, these calls do not need money or cards. While it would be hoped that a mobile telephone would be available at the clubhouse, and that coaches/trainers would carry a mobile phone, emergency calls could be made from the following places; Parks and Recreation at Greendyke Street (During working hours)
Tidal Weir (south side) 24hrs. Glasgow Humane Society House at St Andrews Suspension Bridge. (Not always available) In the event of an emergency upstream of Glasgow Green, there are no places in the immediate vicinity where a telephone is available. In these cases where assistance is required, one would have to head for the nearest bridge and flag down a vehicle preferably a bus or a taxi with a radio, or to the nearest house.
- Lifebelts and ropes should be on each clubhouse door and must not be removed except for emergency use. Throw ropes should also be available and should be carried by trainers/coaches or other persons going up the towpath.
- Boats should be launched with their bows facing in accordance with the circulation pattern and should return to the steps also in that direction (i.e. make a loop).
- It is advisable that once boated, you head upstream of your clubhouse so that in the event of capsizing you are drifting towards your boathouse and not away from it, towards the weir. This is especially relevant when there is stream flowing or when the weir gates are open, especially if your boathouse is on the last 500m straight.
- While rowers keep to the left, not every river user may abide by this rule and the safe practice is to keep a good look out and if in doubt stop.
- Boats going upstream should use the north arch of all bridges and keep to the north bank. Boats coming downstream should use the south arch of bridges, with the exception of Rutherglen Bridge where the centre arch has to be used
coming downstream. Boats, which are practice racing downstream, may, with extreme care, use the centre arches of bridges. Eights Crews going upstream whether doing a training piece or not, must not tend towards the centre of the river. When proceeding upstream boats should only overtake when the course is completely clear, whether coxed or coxless.
- There are lifejackets that can be worn in aqua-jogs. There are also bumbag lifejackets that can be worn by rowers and scullers even when racing. For individuals who are in the habit of sculling distances on their own, it would be
a good idea to purchase one.
- In the event of capsize do not leave your boat. Hang onto the boat, shout for help, and try to propel yourself and boat towards the bank. Be ready to catch a throwing line.
- Ensure that you boat is safe for going out in. If in doubt ask a senior member or the attendant committee member. If you discover equipment not to be in a safe condition, please report the damage and do not use the equipment until it has been repaired. If damaged a note should be left on the boat to warn other club members as to the boat condition.
- all boats must have a bow ball for your own protection and if you see a boat on the river without one you should report this to a committee member.
- All canvasses must be watertight, as should bungholes.
- Heel restraints must be attached.
- All rowers and scullers must be able to swim in accordance with the SARA safety guidelines and be prepared to demonstrate this in a swimming pool on the request of the safety adviser. It is recommended that persons joining a
club, which is a School or University with a swimming pool and resident swimming coach, should be confirmed to the above standard by the coach.
- A rescue craft, which could be a tub pair or aqua-jog, should, when practicable, be in readiness at the clubhouse.
- The main purpose of the cox is safety. The cox should learn and use simple commands for boat control both on and off the water. They should use them correctly, clearly and instinctively and understand the basic commands and signals of other river users. Inexperienced coxes should firstly go out with experienced crews. Inexperienced coxes never go out with inexperienced/beginner crews. To ensure safe passage and steering of the boat the cox must be able to see what is in front of their boat.
- The coach should ask if everyone in their charge is aware of the appropriate safety procedures. Caution must be taken when the weir gates are open as when the tide turns the current can increase 3 fold making conditions that seemed fair when commencing your outing, treacherous. Tide Tables should be posted on the notice board and a committee member consulted if in doubt. The best rule is that when there is strong current on the water try to plan an outing to finish before high tide time (before the tide turns).
- In the interests of personal safety and prevention of damage to boats, assistance should be sought and given when boats are leaving or returning to the steps.
- All river users should make themselves aware of possible diseases that can be contracted in the waters that the club uses.
Note: The City Council would encourage river users to report anyone seen committing crimes, or engaging in antisocial behavour, on the river banks to the police (eg. throwing objects at rowers).
Emergency 999 (Police | Ambulance |Glasgow Humane Society Lifeboat |Fire Brigade, Etc.)
- Strathclyde Police – Greater Glasgow Division
- Area Command – Glasgow East (covers North Bank upstream of tidal weir to )
111 (non-emergencies) twitter: @ShettlestonPol
- Area Command – Glasgow South East (covers South Bank downstream of Rutherglen Bridge))
111 (non-emergencies) twitter: @GlasgowSEPolice
- Area Command – East Kilbride, Cambuslang and Rutherglen (covers South Bank upstream of Rutherglen Bridge))
111 (non-emergencies) twitter: @EKRuthCambusPol
- Area Command – Glasgow East (covers North Bank upstream of tidal weir to )
- Park Rangers – 0141 552 1142
- Tidal Weir – 0141 429 2963
- Fire Service – 0141 423 2223 – Polmadie Fire Station (Water Rescue Units)
- Glasgow Humane Society – 0141 429 2492