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Levels 3 & 4

Levels 3 & 4 of the Thames Rowing Club Tideway steering certificate

 Levels 3 & 4

Level 3
Coaches should recommend steers for Level 3 based on the quality of their performance, steering, their attitude with respect to safety and risk assessment, and their level of experience. All steers must have completed sufficient Tideway outings, including at least three in the dark (unless they are willing to have a daylight-only limitation), before sitting this test.

Launch drivers are required to have completed at least 10 outings, of which three should be in the dark, and you should be recommended for the test by your accompanying higher-level launch driver.

Assessment for Level 3 is by oral assessment with a trained member of the Safety Committee. Please email safety@thamesrc.co.uk to arrange your assessment. It will take around an hour.

The oral assessment will involve the need to be able to identify all the hazards between Richmond and Wandsworth (a list of these can be found here), scenario-based questions and risk assessment scenarios. An area-limited Level 3 may be given where hazards between the UL buoy and Fulham Rail bridge can be identified. Those with an area-limited Level 3 will only be considered Level 3 between those points and should make his/her coach aware of this limitation before the outing at the time of briefing.

As a Level 3 cox or steers you may:

  • go out in good or Difficult Conditions without a coach;

  • go out in two Difficult Conditions occurring together as part of a coached group of boats;

  • go out in the dark as part of a coached group of boats;

  • go out in the dark plus one other Difficult Condition (e.g. dark and windy) with a one-on-one coach

It is important to remember that even if you are certified to go out in a certain set of conditions, you do not have to go out in them. For example, you might be a Level 3 cox who normally coxes a men’s 8 and would be perfectly happy to take them out on your own in difficult conditions. One day, a coach asks you to take a women’s 4+ out when it’s really windy, as he has to take out a less experienced cox one-on-one. You know your men’s 8 would be fine in the wind, but you don’t know the women in the 4+. You don’t know how strong they are, how experienced they are, or what skill level they are. You need to perform your own risk assessment and decide if you can take the crew out safely.

The TRC Tideway Steering Certificate is not designed to replace a full risk assessment of every outing – IF IN DOUBT, DON’T GO OUT!

For launch drivers, Level 3 allows you to take out a coaching launch unaccompanied in difficult conditions or in the dark when accompanied in the launch by another launch driver who has reached Level 4 of the launch Driver’s Certificate.


Level 4
To take this test as a cox, steers or launch driver, you must have carried out an extensive number of Tideway outings over several months, including at least 10 in the dark. These outings should be GPS tracked and the tracks submitted on line before being brought to the test. The practical test will examine the theory covered in the Level 2 and 3 tests, and consist of a minimum of two outings (one at high and one at low tide) observed by an approved member of the Safety Committee or alternative assessor.

The outings should demonstrate your ability to steer in a variety of conditions and may include (but are not limited to) high tide, low tide, busy weekend mornings and an outing in the dark. There will also be time for feedback and discussion with the member of the Safety Committee who observed your outings.

At Level 4 you may:

  • go out in good, Difficult or two Difficult Conditions occurring together without a coach;

  • go out in the dark without a coach;

  • go out in the dark plus one other Difficult Condition (e.g. dark and windy) as part of a coached group of boats.

As a launch driver, completion of this on-the-water assessment allows you to take out a coaching launch in the dark unaccompanied.