Water Safety Rules and Routines

This policy was written in response to the congestion that sometimes arises on the River Exe and Canal. If all water users follow the below principles and behaviors then this will mitigate against collisions and bad feeling between water users of different disciplines.

First Rule:

All craft should avoid collisions at all costs.

Second Rule:

In order to promote safe use of water by all craft, a spirit of friendly co-operation and entente cordiale is to be exercised by all members of EWSA clubs on and off the water. As well as with other users of the River Exe and Canal such as anglers and cyclists.

River routines:

  • Call “Heads” to make aware others of your presence who may not have seen your craft.
  • Craft should stay on the right hand side of the river and canal at all times and not cut corners.
  • Craft should use the Butts Ferry, when it is moored in the middle of the River, for traffic separation and leave it on their port side.
  • Craft should use the centre arches of the Exe Bridges for passage upstream.
  • Craft should use the St Thomas side arches for passage downstream.
  • Craft should only overtake when it is clear and safe so to do.
  • Craft should stop and turn at the top (beyond the second set of steps on the St Thomas side) and at the bottom (just upstream of the yellow buoys) of the river.
  • Craft which turn or pause anywhere else on the river must have a clear view ahead and astern and be completely out of the way of any other craft before turning, paying special attention to avoiding turning in constricted or crowded areas.
  • When starting a full pressure racing piece of work, craft must ensure that the course is clear ahead.
  • Craft should avoid blocking the narrow entrance and exit to the Kings Arms sluice and Basin.
  • Resting bays are designated as follows:
    • going upstream,
      • on or above the Saddles and Paddles pontoon and
      • below the inside, Exeter side, arch of the downstream Exe Bridge
    • going downstream,
      • tucked in beneath the children’s playground on the St Thomas side and
      • inside of the passenger launch ‘Kingsley’ or any other boat moored there, immediately downstream of the ferry wire.
  • Craft must show appropriate lights at night and crews should wear light coloured tops/high-viz in order to be more visible. As soon as street lights come on, it’s time to switch on or get off. The local, EWSA, rule is that a white light forward and a red light astern, blinking or steady, should be visible to other water users. Lights are to enable you to be seen, not to see.
  • Craft should only paddle using half crew or very light pressure in the Basin in order to avoid excessive speed and wash.
  • The circulation in the Basin should be to travel in on the Haven Banks side, past the EWSA Building, turn at the Piazza Terracina end and come back towards the EWSA Building. Do not cut in front of craft even if they are slower than you.
  • The Basin should only be used for transit to and from the pontoons and for very novice water users. All other training and activity should be clear of the Basin.
  • In the event of a collision insurers for both boats(/clubs) should be notified regardless of circumstance or fault

Think SMART:

  • Safety
  • Manners
  • Adhere to the river routines
  • Respect other water users
  • Turn only when safe so to do
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