Safety Information for Competitors 2019 –

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Safety Notices

It is the responsibility of the participants and their supporters to ensure that their rafts are suitable for entry in this Raft Race, which covers a course of ~1.2 km. The Safety Advisor and marshals will be checking rafts prior to and during launching and may also refuse entry if the raft is not considered to be suitable for the event.

Participants with any potential health problems that present a risk to themselves or other participants must advise the Organising Team during the registration process or prior to going afloat. The Race Director and Organising Team retains the right not to allow a participant to go afloat if, in their opinion, the health condition presents an unacceptable risk.

 Row Safe

All competitors must make sure they are familiar with the water safety procedures outlined by British Rowing: ‘Row Safe’


Raft Race 2019 Terms and Conditions for Entry


  • All participants enter at their own risk. No responsibility will be accepted by the organisers for loss or damage to persons or property, howsoever caused. Each participant will be expected to sign a disclaimer form before being allowed to start.
  • All participants must be able to swim, whilst clothed, in moving water.
  • All participants must be of 14 years or older.
  • All participants under 18 must have the permission of a responsible adult to take part in the race and be supervised by a responsible adult (on or off the water) throughout race day.
  • No crew member to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


All rafts must pass scrutiny before the race and must conform with the requirements below.

  • Life Jackets to be worn by all team members.
  • Raft numbers must be displayed on each side of the raft and be clearly visible from both riverbanks.
  • No less than 4 and no more than 6 persons to each raft.
  • Raft to be less than 4 metres long and 2 meters wide.
  • No engines, row-locks or surf boards.
  • Rafts to be safely and securely constructed and are not permitted to be built of solid polystyrene.
  • Crews to have completed registration before entering the water.
  • All rafts must attend the start point in an orderly fashion and all rafts must go into the canal as directed by the marshals.
  • Please inform a marshal as soon as possible if one of your crew has to leave the raft and the race.
  • No glass bottles or glasses must be taken onto the raft.
  • All rafts must be removed from the canal course on the day of the race.
  • From 3.00 pm the organisers will start clearing the canal. Any raft found after that time may be towed away, and the cost charged back to the entrant.
  • Any complaints must be lodged at the Race Coordinator’s tent found at Wallbridge Lock, before 4.00 pm on the day of the race. In case of dispute, the Event Manager’s decision is final.



Leptospirosis / Weil’s Disease

Leptospirosis or Weil’s disease is a type of bacterial infection spread by animals (NHS Choices, 2016). Although the condition is uncommon in the UK, people who regularly deal with animals have a higher risk of developing the disease. Leptospirosis can also be contracted from water contaminated by the urine of infected animals, such as cattle, pigs, dogs and rats. Therefore, people in contact with water on lakes, rivers and canals may be at higher risk.

In 90% of cases, leptospirosis only causes mild flu-like symptoms, such as a headache, chills and muscle pain (NHS Choices, 2016). However, in some cases the infection can be more severe and cause life-threatening problems. In its most severe form, leptospirosis is also known as Weil’s Disease.


NHS Choices (2016) advises the rates of leptospirosis in the UK are very low so there’s no reason why you should not participate in freshwater activities. However, as a minimum precaution, it is recommended that you cover any cuts and grazes with a waterproof dressing and shower after the event.

The British Rowing Rowsafe Guide also recommends the following precautionary measures:

  • Never drink the water
  • Wash hands thoroughly before eating and drinking
  • Wear suitable footwear to avoid cutting your feet
  • Avoid contact with water and minimise splashing (particularly around the head)
  • Hose down all equipment after outing and wash and dry any wet clothing.


Other Safety Precautions Taken By The Race Coordinators


The Organising Team will decide if weather conditions are too dangerous for racing to take place.

Suspending or Stopping the Race

The primary duty of all Race Officials is to care for the safety of competitors and their supporters. It may be necessary to stop the race should conditions alter significantly through the course of the race or a major event occurs (e.g. multiple collisions) and reserve the right to do so.

Racing will be abandoned or postponed if the Chief Umpire or Safety Advisor decides that conditions are unsafe. In this event, all race officials will be immediately informed by mobile phone.

Race officials will then immediately instruct racing rafts to stop by shouting “STOP RACING” from the canal towpath and/or from on the water support craft and guiding rafts to a suitable point along the canal for removing people and craft from the water.

On the water support craft will stay in position so as to give cover to the course and rafters are to be vigilant and respond to any request for help from the race officials.

The Chief Umpire and Safety Advisor will shall decide on terminating the event or re-starting if conditions improve.

On the Water

Safety cover will be provided for the race course between The Bell, Wallbridge Upper Lock (raft launch location and finish) and Capel’s Mill (turning point). Rafts going outside the designated course do so at their own risk.

On the water safety cover will be provided 20 minutes before the launch of the first competitor until the last raft arrives at the race finish.

Bank marshals will be in place to provide line of sight cover for the course from 20 minutes prior to the start launch of the first competitor to until the last raft has cleared the area for which that Marshal is responsible.

First Aid kits are provided at Upper Wallbridge Lock and Capel’s Mill.

Medical Incidents

In the event of an on the water incident, competitors should first ensure their own safety, notify a Race Official and offer assistance if safe to do so.

If any persons suffer any injuries, the nearest Race Official will determine whether these are minor and are treatable by the event’s first aid staff or require emergency services via a 999 call. Note: St John’s ambulance will be stationed at Wallbridge and First Aid at Capel’s Mill.

Persons suffering minor injuries while on the water will be assisted by the water support craft and bank marshals to the nearest landing stage and first aid station, notifying Race Officials by mobile phone. Further medical assistance will be summoned if necessary.

In the event of a person being injured on land, Race Officials will be notified. St John’s Ambulance or qualified First Aiders will be called to assist. Further medical assistance will be summoned if needed.

There are three emergency access points: Wallbridge, Capel’s Mill and a footpath leading to the towpath from Warwick Cars (off Dr Newtons Way then Fromeside).

Accident Reporting

All accidents, collisions or capsize must be reported to Race Officials and an Incident Form completed prior to leaving the event. Copies of forms will be held by the Event Coordinators.

In the event of a major incident, call Emergency Services on 999 immediately (do not wait for the Event’s first aiders to arrive). Direct Emergency Services to the nearest road access point (refer to map for emergency access points).


Ensure that all participants have suitable clothing, including life jackets.

Stroud Raft Race 2018 – Welfare Plan

The Organising Team of the Stroud Raft Race believes the health and wellbeing of all participants is paramount. All participants regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion or ability have equal rights to safety and protection. All suspicions, concerns and allegations or harm will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.

The Event Managers

The Event Managers are:

  • Jim White
  • Anne Townsend
  • Shelley Anderson

Welfare Officer / Health and Safety

A Welfare Officer (Shelley Anderson) has been appointed for the Raft Race. Please contact the Welfare Officer via the Raft Race email ( if you have any concerns about welfare prior to the event. The Welfare Officer will also be present on the day. Health and Safety will be overseen by Laurence Bryant.

Reporting Structure

Please report any concerns regarding the welfare of any participants (children and adult) in the Stroud Raft Race in the first instance to the Welfare Officer. The Welfare Officer will address the concern directly where appropriate. If the concern is considered to be of a serious nature, the Welfare Officer will notify and discuss with the Raft Race Director and Event Manager. This group will determine the next course of action, which may include contacting the Stroud Police (101 non-emergency, 999 emergency).


All Stroud Raft Race participants (including competitors and their supporters) should abide by the Competitors Instructions 2017.

Medical Provision

First Aid and general medical provisions will be provided to all Stroud Raft Race Participants (including competitors and their supporters). Bristol Ambulance will be stationed at Wallbridge and first aiders will be stationed at Capel’s Mill.


All volunteers have been advised to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to the Welfare Officer.

Missing Participants

If a participant (including a child) is believed to be missing, it should be reported to the nearest Event Volunteer and Marshal and Volunteer Coordinator or the Welfare Officer. The Welfare Officer will advise the Raft Race Director and the Event Manager, and any other relevant persons (e.g. the Team Captain or guardian). The Welfare Officer will organise the search for the missing participant and, if necessary, contact the Stroud Police.

Volunteer Training

All volunteers will be provided with a copy of this Welfare Plan. If they have any queries they will be directed to contact the Welfare Officer.


Participants, supporters and visitors are welcome to take photographs of the event. However, volunteers and participants are advised to report any suspicious photography to the Welfare Officer who will initiate appropriate action.

Distribution of Data

All competing team and race officials will receive a copy of this Welfare Plan, the Safety Instructions and the Competitors Instructions. These documents are also available on the event website.

Umpires, on water support crew and marshals will receive a race day contact sheet which includes all mobile phone numbers, and any other relevant information prior to the event.