NIGHT TIME ROWING - John Mulholland (Regional Safety Advisor)
Rules for rowing boats on tidal waterways require a single white light
visible from 360 degrees. Where the design of the boat does not allow one
light to be seen from all-round, a light at each end may be used
(technically this indicates a boat over 50 metres long at anchor, but I
don't think there will be any confusion!). The option of simply carrying
a torch and waving it at approaching vessels is not an acceptable option
for racing shells!
Red lights to the rear are not recommended. Other, non-rowing, river
users may think you are going the other way, and try to pass you on the
Lights attached to bow's back (particularly the collar, which tends to
fall down during the outing) are not allowed.
There are now white lights available, which are attached to the canvasses
by suction cups. They use incandescent bulbs and D cell batteries and
cost £13 (the ARA version costs £35) and are available from
www.rowlight.com, see Page 20 of the latest issue of Regatta. There are
also bright white LED lights, available from camping suppliers, which are
Those who already use red lights (steady or flashing) to the front may
continue to do so; but I would advise anyone buying new lights to get
bright, white ones.
We had too many near misses last year to feel comfortable with poor
lighting. It is especially important that eights, fours and quads are
well lit, because of their potential to harm others. Singles are more
vulnerable than dangerous, but your insurance company may resist paying
out if you are inadequately lit; and you may end up paying for the damage
to the boat that hits you!
It would also be sensible for all rowers at night to wear a white top; it
vastly improves visibility and makes it much easier to recognise what is
behind the oncoming light. Of course, good lights don't absolve you from
obeying the normal rules of navigation and sticking to the correct side of the river.
Training pieces are to be done in accordance with normal rules of the river (
Disqualify crews that cut corners, use the wrong bridge arches etc; it will happen in
These rules apply to visiting crews as well as local ones. The Wear at
Durham has a local rule which is acceptable there, but is not acceptable
on the Tyne.
© 2006 North East Rowing on-line