Safety first at Stratford upon Avon BC

After many months of delay due to Covid and other distractions, Stratford upon Avon BC has finally commissioned a cohort of ten ‘new’ launch drivers to their safety rota

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Some of SuABC's newly qualified launch drivers. From left: Ian Wilcock, Water Safety Advisor; Bertram Richter; Dawson Curnock, also Club Chairman; Eric Appleton, also J16 Coach

All launch drivers at Stratford upon Avon BC are RYA qualified. As well as having extensive familiarisation on the club’s four safety launches, all new drivers have passed the Royal Yachting Association’s Inland Waterways Helmsman course. This covers safety, helmsmanship, collision avoidance, engine checks, mooring, man overboard, rescue and enables the driver to helm a vessel safely.

Orange launchIan Wilcock, the club’s Water Safety Advisor, said, “Stratford upon Avon BC takes water safety and the safety of its members and all river users very seriously. We use our launches daily for assisting with training upstream and safety on the Avon. Having a pool of trained and qualified drivers is essential to maintain these rigorous standards. As well as providing weekend safety cover, the launches are out during the week with school outreach and essential cover for the club’s ever-expanding adaptive and weekday rowers’ squads. They are also in place at our two regattas and other events on the Avon.”

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catamaran launchCommenting further, Paul Stanton, Stratford upon Avon BC’s President, said, “Putting our launch drivers through the RYA’s Inland Waterways Helmsman course is a considerable undertaking not only for the club but also for the volunteers who give freely of their time in gaining experience, going on the course and covering the launch safety rota slots. As the winter weather begins to set it, their input is especially needed and essential. We cannot thank them enough for their volunteering and time given.”

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