Rowing is a perfectly safe sport as long as you’re sensible. To ensure that you are always safe on the river make sure that you follow the ‘rules of the river’ (see below), use your common sense, and listen to your coaches and your cox at all times.

There is a safety notice board located inside the changing room of the boathouse, ensure that you have read it thoroughly and understand everything that is written there.

Rules of the River Wear

It is vital that you are aware of the rules of the river, breaking any of the rules is punishable by a fine which will be passed to the offending crew.

General rules

  • Boats must stay on the right hand side of the river and into the bank
  • Overtaking crews should use the middle of the river, provided nothing is coming in the other direction. Stroke must warn the cox if they are about to be overtaken
  • Boats should only remain stationary if it is not a hazard and should avoid stopping on the racecourse or the minute stretch
  • Coxes must wear a life jacket on their outermost layer
  • On Wednesdays between 13:00 and 16:00 only novice crews may row
  • On Thursday mornings only senior crews may row
  • All college eights must have a spotter on the bank


  • Boats usually spin past the DARC landing stage or beyond Prebends Bridge, and can also spin just past Baths Bridge
  • Eights can only be spun past the DARC landing stage and beyond Prebends Bridge

Rowing in the dark

  • Only fully competent crews and coxes can row in the dark, whether it is before dawn or after dusk
  • A static white light must be attached to the front (bow) of the boat and a static red light to the rear (stern)
  • Between 1st November and 28th February inclusive, before 08:30 and after 16:00 lights must be used regardless of personal judgements
  • Crews are strongly encouraged to wear white or light colours to make themselves more visible

Water level

  • If the water level is above the white line on the DSU landing stage or halfway up the bottom of the 2 on Elvet Bridge then rowing is not allowed
  • Be aware that even  if the water level is below this it may be inappropriate to row and a crew should never row unless all members, the cox and the coach feel comfortable

Useful Links

Durham College Rowing Regulations

Durham Rowing Regulations (document download)

British Rowing RowSafe

DARC River Wear WebCam

Environment Agency – River Wear Level Station