The risk of any serious incidents occurring will be reduced by the adherence to these instructions by all competitors and officials. The Organising Committee will seek advice from the EA 3 days before the event and will decide if the probable water conditions make it safe to proceed.
Captains of visiting clubs are responsible for ensuring that their crews are fully conversant with the Weybridge Winter Head rules and procedures, and are competent to race in the prevailing conditions.
Maps of the course give details of the positioning of crews at the start, the course to be steered, the circulation of finishing crews and positions of Marshals, Umpires, Safety Launches and First Aiders. River closures will be in force for the duration of the event.
Accident And Emergency Procedures
A Marshal or Umpire becoming aware of an incident will deal with it as a first priority, ensuring the Chief Umpire is alerted by radio. All parts of the course are under observation by at least one Marshal or Monitor. Note: a capsize does not necessarily warrant a radio call of “Emergency” unless there is a clear need for immediate help from a Safety Launch.
- The nature and location of the incident and the assistance required must be stated;
- The safety of the crew becomes the main concern until such time as the reporting Marshal/Monitor is satisfied that the crew is not in danger;
- It should be quickly ascertained if possible and reported whether or not all crew members’ feet are free;
- Approaching crews must be warned to take avoiding action;
- The crew should be assisted if possible to tow their boat to the bank;
- It should be determined if further assistance should be summoned by radio, including medical assistance if required, this usually being co-ordinated by the first-aid trained personnel at the scene;
- All Umpires are to have throw lines available.
- In the event of a serious incident on the course making it unsafe to continue racing, any Umpire (or the Starter) may stop the race by verbally instructing crews to "Stop Racing".
- Each Umpire's first responsibility is to the crews in their reach of the course. Having ensured those crews have understood and reacted to the instruction to stop racing, they are to contact the Chief Umpire by radio or phone with a brief report that they have stopped the race, including the reasons why.
- The Chief Umpire will relay the information to all other Umpires and the Starter all of whom will immediately stop the race in their reaches using the command "Stop Racing". The Chief Umpire will use the following message: "All stations, All stations. Race Control. Stop the race. I repeat, stop the race. All stations acknowledge. Over". Acknowledgement is to commence with the Starter and thence work down the course.
- Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, crews will be instructed to return to their boating areas, following normal navigation rules.
Rescue, First Aid and Assistance
Three Safety launches will be stationed along the course, at the start, at Walton Bridge and at the Finish. A further one will provide cover for crews marshalling before the Start along the ‘Old River’ to the north and west of Desborough Island. If a launch crew sees an incident, they should deal with it as a priority, ensuring the Chief Umpire is kept informed. A rescue launch attending an incident should be aware of the effect excessive wash can have on rowing crews.
St John Ambulance will be in attendance at Cowey Sale with minor First Aid facilities available at Elmbridge Canoe Club and Walton RC.
Ambulance access is possible for casualties brought ashore at Walton Rowing Club (Finish), 'The Anglers' wharf, Cowey Sale, Elmbridge Canoe Club (Start) and Weybridge Ladies Amateur Rowing Club.
Swans and other wild fowl
There are a large number of swans on the Walton Reach, particularly close to 'The Anglers' PH. Crews must take all reasonable precautions to avoid collision with or interference to swans and other wild fowl. Any crew colliding with wildfowl must inform an official as soon as practicable.
Man Overboard and Capsize
If a crew member falls overboard the crew must stop immediately and tender such assistance as is possible, commensurate with the maintenance of their own safety. The ensuing actions are the same as those detailed in ‘Accident and Emergency Procedures’ above. Other crews must steer clear whilst those in the water should stay with their boat. While the nearest Umpire/Marshall summons assistance, the crew should attempt to move themselves and the boat to the nearest bank.
Radios will be provided to Marshalls located in the Start area, Shepperton Marina, at the bottom of Desborough Channel, to the 4 Safety Boats, to the Umpires, to the Finish Timekeeper and to the SJA First Aid post.
Umpires are to have mobile phones turned 'On' with the numbers being made known to the Chief Umpire before the start of each division.
Telephones are located at Elmbridge Canoe Club (01932 856839), The Anglers PH (01932 223996), Thames Valley Skiff Club (01932 224215) and Walton RC (01932 224557).