Rowing

Includes: Outdoors, Adventurous activities, Water

Age:
7+
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Stick your oar in

You don't have to row gently down a stream - you can work together to power across lakes, or speed down canals! Rowing can be a really adventurous challenge and helps girls learn to work as a team.

Overview

Rowing is travelling on water in rowing boats that are powered and steered by girls using oars, either for recreation or racing.

Girls can row on a range of different types of water and with both fixed seat and sliding seat boats. Find out more about different types of rowing from British Rowing.

To take girls rowing, you will need to find a reputable local activity provider with a suitably qualified instructor.

Rowing is an adventurous activity and should follow the adventurous activity policy and procedures.

Approved: 5 May April 2021
Version: 1.0
Content owner: Adventure team

Planning checklist

If you or another member of your leadership team is running the activity at an external venue/location, follow these extra steps:

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know about any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your commissioner.
  • Get a copy of the public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Check you hold the relevant qualification (if one is needed) to run the activity and let your commissioner know you plan to run it yourself. If you aren't sure, speak to your local adviser to check.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the needs of your group.
  • Get any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.
  • Ask for a copy of the venue's safety guidelines and risk assessment (if relevant).
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls, leaders and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity if a qualification is needed). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Consider the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions and plan the session accordingly.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation. 

If you're working with an external provider or external instructors to run this activity outside the unit meeting space, follow these extra steps. 

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know if you make any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your local commissioner.
  • Tell the activity provider about the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions that need to be considered when running the activity.
  • Choose a reputable and licensed activity provider (where applicable).
  • Check the qualified adults hold the correct qualification to be able to run the activity (see the information below).
  • Get copies of the instructor qualifications and public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Ask for a copy of the providers' safety guidelines and risk assessment.
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the requirements for your group.
  • Source any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation.

Instructors should hold either:

  • British Rowing Session Coach OR
  • UKCC Level 2 Coach

If alternative qualifications are held, please seek advice from your outdoor activities adviser, British Rowing or contact [email protected] to make sure the instructor’s qualification is appropriate to the nature of the activity.

Rowing boats may be used on ornamental or shallow boating lakes* without instruction and without buoyancy aids provided that girls are in sight of a leader at all times. You also need to make sure the lake is managed and a leader in the group has the ability to rescue from water, treat for hypothermia and can administer CPR. 

*Girls should be able to stand up in the water and there is no water flow, nor should it be affected by wind.

You can verify the quality of a provider by checking it has one of the following endorsements: AALA, Adventuremark or LotC Quality Badge for Adventure. AALA and LotC are not applicable in Northern Ireland, but Sport Northern Ireland confirm the implementation of Adventuremark as a suitable adventure activity accreditation scheme for activity providers in Northern Ireland or ask your local outdoor activities adviser to recommend an approved provider.

If doing this activity abroad, the above qualifications and regulations may not be applicable. The leader will need to make enquiries about the reputation and safety standards of the activity provider. Contact your international adviser or outdoor activities adviser, or email Volunteer Support for more guidance.

For many activities around or on water, confidence in the water is more important than the ability to swim a particular distance.  Often girls will need to be assisted back onto a craft by the qualified adult running the activity and they should have the confidence to remain in the water until rescued.

Leaders should check the swimming ability and confidence in water of their girls, and highlight those with weak swimming abilities or low water confidence to the instructor.

Where weak swimmers or those with low water confidence are taking part, this should be risk assessed and ratios may need to be amended.

You can get good swimmers who have low water confidence if the environment in which they are swimming is different to usual.  Someone who is a good swimmer in a pool may not initially be very confident in cold open water.

Activity providers may have a swimming ability requirement to take part in this activity. Leaders should check with the activity provider before booking.

Buoyancy aids and lifejackets must be worn for activities where this is recognised as best practice as identified by the qualified adult/activity provider.

The leader must:

  • Make sure that safety rules and alarm signals have been explained to the girls, as well as the need to obey instructions immediately
  • Follow water safety guidelines and ensure that the responsible adult helpers are familiar with them.
  • Inspect water for visible signs of pollution, for example rubbish, blue green algae or chemicals.
  • Make sure girls and parents are aware of the dangers and symptoms of Weil's disease and what action to take if they suspect infection. On the day of the activity advise participants to cover cuts and grazes with waterproof plasters to help prevent infection.

See our guidance on water activities.

If a girl has a medical condition that will affect her ability to swim, tell the instructor and take steps so she can take part safely.

Adult to child ratios

The ratios below are given as a maximum and ratios must be considered as part of the risk assessment, this may lessen due to any medical conditions, physical ability or other factors.

Leadership team ratio

As this activity will take place outside of your usual meeting place the leadership team adult to child ratio is mandatory.

  • Rainbows: not a Rainbow activity
  • Brownies: 1:8
  • Guides: 1:12
  • Rangers: 1:12

The leadership team ratios must be maintained on the water for the activity. The qualified adult can be included in this ratio.

Qualified adult/participant ratio

Non-classified water

One leader in the group must have the ability to rescue from water, treat for hypothermia and administer CPR. 

Classified water

The activity leader (qualified adult) should determine what size of group is safe. There must be enough qualified adults to ensure the safety of all participants.

The number will be determined by any limitations placed on their qualification, permit or the rules of their operating organisation as well as the risk assessment. This should take into consideration the location, weather and experience of both the qualified adult and other participants. The leader should assess the risk and any concerns must be raised to them.

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