MVH Safety Planning Overview

The Safety Plan comprises the following documents (all on this website):

  1. Risk Assessment – for officials
  2. Race and Safety Rules – for crews
  3. Marshalling Plan – for marshals/umpires
  4. Medical Advice – for crews
  5. Course Diagram – for all
  1. The Risk Assessment identifies the biggest cause of possible risk to be fast stream conditions, cold weather, the age of the competitors and communications breakdown. These are to be assessed for each race.
  2. Red or Yellow boards may be displayed at Molesey Lock. Advice must be taken from the Environment Agency and the Risk Assessment consulted to ensure that all resources are in place. A meeting of race officials, including the Safety Adviser, Secretary, Chief Umpire and TRUC Commissioner if available, will take place at 12 noon before the safety briefing to take a final view of conditions. One factor will be current speed past Molesey Boat Club and this will be determined by a STICK TEST. If a stick thrown into the centre of the stream takes 30 seconds or less to pass the 117 feet from the launch mooring post to the green barrier the race may be cancelled, if more than 60 seconds there is likely to be no problem.
  3. 6 Marshalling launches, 6 umpires, 2 rescue boats, and control commission personnel are in place. All are equipped with radios and loud-hailers. The race is about 3.2km and takes 8 to 13 minutes to complete. The course is generally quite wide, narrowing to three boat widths down Platt’s Eyot. All boats must be coxed or steered by competent individuals and rowed by veterans, except for a few junior boats. All boats are 8 oared or 4 oared or quad sculling boats.
  4. Marshalling of crews before the start of the race needs to be handled carefully as competitors have to cross to the Surrey bank before reaching their station. The marshalling launches need to be careful to ensure safety of crews when they cross over under instruction. Effect of stream is a factor.
  5. Crews are not allowed to practice starts through the marshaling area to avoid risk of collision. The downstream reach along Platts Ait only may be used.
  6. Crews are marshalled on the Surrey bank and turn very close to the lock. The highest marshaling position (1) is now over 150 yards from the start buoy so as to increase warm-up space. Marshalling on the Surrey bank reduces the effect of stream coming down from Sunbury weir – this then assists the turn as boats turn downstream.
  7. In some years there may be a second division. If this is the case, these crews will remain on the Middlesex side and be marshalled immediately downstream of Sunbury Court Island. These crews will only cross over once the closest marshal has verified that the last boat of the first division has passed.
  8. Crews are started at least 30 seconds apart. This separation is helped by the slowness of the turn round the buoy. The order of racing is designed to put the fastest boats at the beginning of the race, thus reducing the need to overtake.
  9. During the race, there is a risk that racing crews may come close to waiting crews. Marshals should watch for this and use loudhailers to warn both crews.
  10. After the finish crews need to be controlled in entering the cut down to Molesey Boat Club, and must be kept clear of the weir downstream. Two marshals are allocated to these jobs.
  11. Crews need to be assisted onto the landing stage and helped with clearing it quickly and safely. Three helpers are allocated to this.
  12. In the event of strong stream, 2 additional marshals will be positioned on the bank at the top of the Molesey cut to assist with regulating crews returning.
  13. In the event of an accident, the nearest observer/marshal will radio to Race Control, and indicate the seriousness of the incident. Race Control will decide whether or not to stop the race. In the case of any accident, the nearest observer will call for a Rescue Boat. The nearest Rescue Boat will be responsible for deciding what to do and whether to call 999. The return point for anyone injured will be Molesey Boat Club, which provides the best facilities and road access. Other points of road access are at Sunbury Lock, Hampton School Boat Club, Hampton Church and Sadlers Ride. 
  14. If radios break down, mobile phones will be used. Numbers are to be exchanged before the race.
  15. The nearest hospital with an A&E department is Kingston Hospital in Galsworthy Road Kingston KT2 7QB
  16. A mandatory safety briefing takes place before boating at Molesey Boat Club. All coxswains and race officials are expected to attend. Crew numbers will be issued after the briefing.
  17. The phone number for Molesey Boat Club is 020 8979 6583.

Ted Bates, Hon. Secretary.

Amended 16th January 2017