Safety Information

Safety at Mersey Rowing Club

Mersey Rowing Club is committed to the safety of its members.  Please familiarise yourself with the following material.  We recommend you keep a copy with you at all times when around the boathouse.

Mersey RC takes its commitment to providing a safe and secure environment to all its members very seriously.  To that end we ask all members and prospective members to familiarise themselves with the ARA Policy on Child Protection here.

Mersey RC Water Rules

For reasons of safety Mersey RC members are divided into three groups...

Juniors - Those who are less than 18 years old

Inexperienced adults - Those who are at least 18 years old but who are not experienced rowers

Experienced adults   - Those who are at least 18 years old and who are experienced   rowers.

NB - Whether or not a member is "experienced" will be decided by the club captain or the most senior member present.


Notwithstanding what is said elsewhere - nobody shall boat from the MRC boathouse, or remain on the water having so boated, if there are known to be "white horses" on any part of the dock system.

Juniors and inexperienced adults…

  • May take to the water only if
    • There is a safety boat on the water with them
    • A senior member of the club deems the prevailing conditions to be suitable at the time of boating and to be likely to remain suitable until after the outing has ended.
    • NB   If the conditions become unsuitable during the outing then the outing must be brought to an immediate end.

Experienced adults…

  • May take to the water in...
    • Eights
    • Coxed/coxless fours
    • Coxed/coxless quads
    • Coxed/coxless double sculls
    • Coxed/coxless pairs
    • Singles
      • Whether or not they are accompanied by a safety boat.
      • May decide for themselves whether the prevailing conditions are suitable at the time of boating and whether the prevailing conditions are likely to remain suitable until after the outing has finished.

In deciding whether the conditions are suitable one must consider the combination of crew and boat, the weather, the water conditions, the light level, other water users, the rowers' clothing.

Any water activity which does not comply with the above rules is not sanctioned by Mersey Rowing Club.  



Hypothermia is a dangerous condition resulting from the body becoming so cold that it is unable to maintain a safe body temperature.

Hypothermia can be caused by immersion in cold water or by being exposed to low temperatures / high chill factors.

Even during the summer months the water at MRC is cold enough to cause hypothermia.

The following section is drawn from the ARA Safety code.

The complete code can be found at

2.9 Hypothermia

Hypothermia occurs when the whole of the body has been chilled to a much lower 
than normal temperature, and can no longer maintain its heat. i.e., below 35 degC.

2.9.2 Symptoms and signs of hypothermia

The following are the most usual symptoms and signs, but not all may be present:-

a) Unexpected and unreasonable behavior possibly accompanied by complaints of

coldness and tiredness.

b) Physical and mental lethargy with failure to understand a question or orders.

c) Slurring of speech.

d) Violent outburst of unexpected energy and violent language, becoming    uncooperative.

e) Failure of, or abnormality in, vision.

f) Twitching.

g) Lack of control of limbs, unsteadiness and complaining of numbness and cramp.

h) General shock with pallor and blueness of lips and nails.

i) Slow weak pulse, wheezing and coughing.



2.9.3 Avoidance must be the first consideration at all times. Dress to beat the cold-layers of clothing are more effective than one warm garment. The outer layer should be wind and waterproof. Look after the extremities, the head is a major source of heat loss and to reduce this loss, wear some sort of head gear.

2.9.4 Be alert to the warning signs of cold both in yourself and others. Coaches of veterans, lightweights, beginners and young children must be particularly aware of the risks to their changes in exposure to the cold. Exposed arms legs and head heighten the risk.

2.9.5 Sudden immersion in cold water can have a shock effect which can disrupt normal breathing, reducing even a proficient swimmer to incompetence. Confusion and an inability to respond to simple instructions will become evident.

2.9.6 If a person has fallen into cold water their body will lose heat rapidly. Even in a normal summer, the water temperature is rarely sufficient to avoid hypothermic conditions applying. To reduce heat loss, keep clothes on except for heavy coats or boots which may drag the person down.

2.9.7 When hypothermia is suspected the aim must be to prevent the casualty losing more body heat and to rewarm the casualty.  

a) Do not take or give alcohol in cold conditions. Alcohol accelerates heat loss as well as impairing judgement.

b) Send for help. Hypothermia is a medical emergency whether the patient is conscious or unconscious.

c) If conscious the victim should be actively rewarmed under careful observation.

d) If unconscious the victim must be got to medical aid as soon as possible. Follow

procedure outlined in section on Resuscitation.

2.9.8 A very dangerous situation is still present when a person who has been in the water for some time, is taken out. Further heat loss must be prevented. The victim must be protected against wind and rain as much as possible.

Rewarming can be carried out by:-

a) Wrapping the victim in a thermal/exposure blanket.

b) Others placing their warm bodies against the victim

c ) Giving warm drinks (if conscious).

Hypothermia victims should not be re-warmed rapidly.

Rapid re-warming can cause a conscious victim to lose consciousness.

In The Event of a Capsize

After exiting your boat you must stay with your boat and use it as a buoyancy aid.

Once you are with your boat then...

  • If there were other people in the boat with you must check that all of those people are present and conscious, and
  • Stay with your boat and maintain contact with your fellow crew members ( if any )
    • Until the safety boat arrives
      • OR
    • As you swim with the boat to the nearest point of exit from the water (see the Mersey RC Water map, which is also displayed inside the boat house) and exit the water.

Boathouse Keys

If experienced adults take to the water without a safety boat then

  • They must have boathouse keys with them, or
  • They must be part of a flotilla of boats and one of the other boats must have keys with them.
  • They must attach boathouse keys safely to their person and not to the boat so that those keys will be easily available to them in the event of a capsize.

If junior and or inexperienced adult members take to the water then

  • The safety boat driver must have a set of boat house keys safely attached to their person.

Safety Plan

In the event of an incident on the water...

1. T
he safety boat will...

a             Get the victim/s on board.

b             Alert the other boats (if any) under the safety boat's care.

2.  All boats under the safety boat's care will then return to the boat house with all due care.

3. The safety boat driver will...

a              Take the victim(s) and their equipment back to the boathouse,  

b     Phone the emergency services if necessary using the numbers displayed.

c               Stay with the victim/s until the emergency services arrive.

4. If the victim is taken to hospital then the safety boat driver must

                  a             Accompany the victim/s to hospital

                  b             Inform the victim/s next of kin.


Emergency Phone Numbers

Emergency services                                          999

Royal Hospital, Casualty                                0151 706 2050

The Boat House Address

Merseysport Watersports Centre

Mariner's Wharf, Queen's Dock

Liverpool 3.


Nearest Public Phone

If the centre is open...

Location:              Up stairs in Rob's office

Directions :          Go out of the cage and turn right

                                      Go up the stairs and turn left

                                      Go along the side of the building

                                      Take the first turning on the right

                                      Go in through the wooden door on your  right, you're in...

                                      Rob's office.

                                     Ask to use the phone...

If the centre is closed...

Location:             The Coburg Pub

Directions :         Leave the watersports centre

                                     Turn left

                                      Go over the bridge

                                      Cross the main road carefully

                                      The Coburg is on the other side of the main road

                                     The entrance is on the side street (Stanhope   street) that is perpendicular to the main road.