Additional Guidance for Coxes, Steers & Single Scullers

Legal Responsibility for Safety

From a legal standpoint, the cox or (in the case of a coxless boat) the steersperson is responsible for the safety of their crew. (If you are single sculling, this means you are responsible for your own safety!) This is over and above any coach who may be supervising the outing.

This means that if you are coxing or steering a crew (or a single scull) you are responsible for performing a risk assessment prior to boating, and reporting any incidents which occur.

As a general rule, we do not usually hold members liable for any damage caused to equipment accidentally. However, we reserve the right to do so in the event that serious damage is caused by recklessness. You may wish to consider getting insurance to provide cover in the event of an accident – note that if you have British Rowing membership then this will cover you for both civil liability and personal accident insurance. For further details about the insurance offered by British Rowing please click here.


Coxes must wear a life jacket whenever they are on the river (and check that they know how to work it!). Please speak to a member of the coaching team if you need to borrow a life jacket.

All MAABC club coxed boats are fitted with a full sound system, so coxes must use a coxbox to communicate with the crew. The coxbox will ensure that crew members hear the command properly and can respond quickly if needs be. Any faults with the sound system or coxbox should be reported in the same way as boat damage.

Coxes should also take a mobile phone with them in case of emergency (you may wish to pop it in a waterproof bag or case!)


Most of the MAABC coxless club boats are set up to be steered from the bow seat. This is strongly recommended when training on the Tideway, as the rower/sculler in the bow seat will be best placed to spot any obstacles. If you wish to set up a boat to be steered from any other seat, please speak to a member of the coaching team before doing so.

All steerspeople must ensure that they are familiar with the navigation rules – you should not rely on your crewmates (or your coach) to tell you where you should be on the river! If you are not experienced at steering on the Tideway please also ensure you are accompanied by a coach.

Single Scullers

Please make sure you are familiar with the navigation rules before going out in a single scull. If you are an inexperienced sculler (less than 20 outings) then please see the additional guidance for new single scullers.

If you are sculling in a group you should always be within sight or earshot of the other members of the group. At least one person in the group should have a mobile phone with them to call for assistance in the event of an emergency.


Next Safety guidance page: Special rules for new single scullers
Return to the Safety and Navigation page