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To ensure a good level of skills and safety on the water, the Club has established a tiered scheme for assessment and sign off for all of the club's scullers, steers and coxes.  The assessments are carried out separately for various disciplines: sculling (1x/2x), sculling foot steering (4x), sweep foot steering (2-/4-) and coxing (4+/8+). 


There are four levels of sign off: 

Level 0

Required for:

Progressing to any level of practical assessment and is a pre-requisite for any steer/cox starting at the Club.  All active rowing members are strongly encouraged to pass this test.


Basic knowledge of rowing equipment, terms, boat handling. Familiarity with the Boating Safety Plan and Club Rules (safety checks, navigation rules, basic risk assessment).  Understanding of hazards and the importance of keeping a good lookout.

Testing Procedure

A short multiple choice basic theory test which can be accessed here.  While taking the test, it is permitted to refer to any relevant materials.  The test may be attempted multiple times until the pass mark is reached.

Level 1

Required for:

Being in control of a boat as steer without direct supervision of a coach during daylight/good visibility and in benign weather and stream conditions.


​Basic boat handling skills on land and water, steering competency and safe navigation as detailed in the Steers' Assessment Form.  Must have passed Level 0 first.

Testing Procedure

A formal practical test with a designated assessor authorised by the Club Committee.  Candidates should be recommended for testing by their coach. 

NB Separate testing is required for each of the following groups of boat classes: 1x/2x, 4x-, 2-/4- and Coxwain.

Level 2

Required for:

Being in control of a boat as steer without direct supervision of a coach darkness/poor visibility or in more challenging weather and stream conditions.

Steers with Level 2 may, during quiet weekday periods, proceed below Richmond Lock as far as Syon House, remaining in the Col. Regs area. 


  • Enhanced level of competence and confidence more challenging conditions.

  • Understanding of the requirements of lights, fitting etc and of the appropriate clothing. 

  • Enhanced vigilance in looking out for hazards.

  • Demonstration of good decision making when in charge of a boat.

All steers must have completed sufficient outings, including at least three coached outings in the dark (unless they are willing to have a daylight-only limitation).

Testing Procedure

Coaches should recommend steers for Level 2 based on the quality of their performance, steering, their attitude with respect to safety and risk assessment, and their level of experience. 

The practical assessment should run over a full lock to lock outing and include navigating up-river on the Surrey side of Eel Pie Island.

Level 3

Required for:

Independent outings on stretches of the river beyond the Teddington Lock - Syon Crossing​ stretch, i.e. above Teddington Lock or in the Tideway Code area where Working the Slacks operates.  Club policy is to refrain from outings on the Tideway during busy periods for the Tideway rowing clubs (weekends and weekday evenings/early mornings)


Need to demonstrate a high level of competence with navigating in unfamiliar surroundings and conditions and in potentially busier stretches of the river with multiple rowing clubs.

Before taking this test, you must have carried out an extensive number of outings over several months. These outings should be GPS tracked and the tracks submitted on line.   The outings should demonstrate your ability to steer in a variety of conditions and may include (but are not limited to) high tide, low tide, busy weekend mornings and an outing in the dark.


Testing Procedure

Scullers/steers/coxes proposed for Level 3 will be required to pass a test on knowledge of the Tideway Code and on the key hazards encountered on the Tideway between Putney Bridge and Richmond Lock.  The test may be accessed here.

Assessors will review GPS tracked outings on the Tideway down at least as far as Hammersmith Bridge.


The following documents give full details of the sign off scheme:​

If you are interested in being trained to become a signed off steer or cox or in progressing to a higher level in the scheme please contact your Squad Coach,  Captains or the Safety Advisor.  

If you have any questions please email:

Tony Alves, Club Rowing Safety Adviser

Rachel Adams, Deputy Rowing Safety Adviser

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