This policy applies to all members of Melbourne Rowing Club who boat from the Yarra River and all other visitors to the premises who use the facilities of Melbourne Rowing Club. If you have any questions regarding the safety policy, please contact the Safety Officer.


  • It is the responsibility of the crew (including the coxswain) to ensure that the boat is correctly lit in conditions of poor light/visibility in accordance with the guidelines mentioned below.
  • Each person of the crew must bring any equipment failure or safety issues to the attention of the coxswain or steer-person immediately.
  • Every member has a responsibility to notify the Safety Officer and the Club Captain or Vice Captain of any breach of this safety procedure immediately.

Swimming Ability

  • All rowers and beginners must be in good health and able to swim a minimum of 100 metres in light clothing.
  • Any member of the Committee or coach will have the authority to prevent anyone from going afloat who they believe cannot swim.

Coxless Boats

  • Coxless boats are primarily for the use of experienced crews.
  • Less experienced crews may use coxless boats under the supervision of a coach with the permission of the Club Captain and/or Vice Captain but not in darkness or adverse conditions.
  • Coxless boats may only be used unsupervised when steered by a competent steersperson and/or at the discretion of the Captain or Vice Captain.
  • The Club Secretary, Captain and Vice Captain keep a list of authorised steerspersons and crews. It is also displayed on the noticeboard. If you wish to be added to the list, please see the Captain or Vice Captain.
  • All coxless boats must be steered from the bow when in use on rivers with the exception of racing or training on straight line/lane courses or when agreed by the Captain and/or Vice Captain.

Rowing in Darkness

  • It is the responsibility of the crew to provide appropriate lighting.
  • All boats must be well lit in accordance with Marine Safety Victoria Guidelines.
  • Lights must be positioned centrally, and not on the side/riggers.
  • If the lights are not available then the crew must not boat.
  • In the event of a light failing, the boat must return immediately to the club at light pressure/slow speed, staying close to the bank and exercising extreme caution.
  • Novices may only row in darkness in coxed boats, steered by a competent coxswain.

Local Problems

Very occasionally, we receive unwanted attention from local hooligans in the form of verbal abuse, or sticks, stones, etc. being thrown at passing crews. Under no circumstances should you retaliate. Move to the other side of the river and get out of range as quickly as possible. Do not stop and do not retaliate. Report the incident to the Safety Adviser, Club Captain or senior committee member present when you get back to the Clubhouse.

Navigation on the Yarra River

  • Navigation of the Yarra River shall be as described by the Yarra River Rules published on the Rowing Victoria website.
  • Crews wishing to end their outing must proceed through Princes Bridge before turning around.
  • Under no circumstances should the landing stage be approached via the Club side of the bank when coming downstream.

Yarra River Rules Yarra River Rules (12 KB)

Adverse Conditions

Fog: All outings will be deemed cancelled in poor visibility where Flinders Street Station cannot be seen from the clubhouse.

Stream: If the height of the water reaches the grass in front of the club, then the stream will be deemed unsuitable for Novice crews and their outings shall be cancelled.

If in doubt - don't go out

Breach of safety policy

If a crew/sculler is found to be in breach of this policy, the following action shall be taken:

  • The entire crew will be told they are in breach of the Safety Procedure.
  • The crew may also be issued with a written warning outlining their breach of the procedure and stating that a further offence may lead to the suspension of the crew boating from MRC and from racing (at the committees discretion).
  • Repeated breaches of the water safety procedure may lead to further disciplinary action at the committee's discretion in accordance with the Club rules.
  • All members of Melbourne Rowing Club and visitors to the Club using the Club's facilities are bound by this policy.

Rowing Victoria Safety on the Yarra

Rowing Victoria has issued guidelines for turning and stopping on the Yarra. Please review the map below for stopping and turning zones, or visit the Rowing Victoria website for more information.

Yarra River Rules Yarra River Rules (12 KB)

Rowing Victoria has made available Life jackets & Rowing: A guide to your responsibilities in the Rowing > Safety section of their website.