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FAQ: Tideway Coach's Endorsement Scheme

Dear All

By now you should have received the letter explaining what we are hoping to achieve with the Tideway Coaching Endorsement and hopefully the form I have asked your coaches to complete. If you didn’t receive the form for the coaches please find it here.

As you can imagine I’ve received many questions and queries since the letters went out and so I just wanted to follow up to try and clarify a few areas and also answer some of the questions. The basic motivation behind getting all coaches on the Tideway endorsed is twofold; Firstly it is a sensible way to raise the quality of the coaching on the Tideway and ensure that we are all following a basic minimum standard. Secondly it is a method by which we can try and help get safety to the front of every coaches mind, particularly in light of what has happened over the last 12 months.

The PLA also feel that it is a sensible step to register professional coaches on the water (as they do with all other professional on the water) and work to get them to a point where they have an RYA L2 Powerboat qualification (more detail on this below). They also feel that it is the right step that the rowing community implements this itself as we do with our regular navigation training and assessment.

From a personal point of view I am also trying to implement this with as little red tape as possible and with a common sense approach which is needed when working with over 230 rowing clubs!

If a coach can demonstrate they have at least 5 years experience of navigating on the Tideway (rowing or coaching) and suitable Powerboat training (ideally RYA L2) then they will have their endorsement rubber stamped. If a coach does not meet this criteria then we are going to organise training sessions on-board one of Chas Newens Launches where we will head to the black spots on the river and ensure that everyone has the same idea on how to handle them. On completion of this session and evidence that suitable powerboat training been given by their club or RYA the coach will then receive the endorsement.

Some of the questions I’ve had are as follows:

“We only come to the Thames for two weeks of the year, does this affect us?”
The short answer is Yes but clearly there will be an order of how we go about the endorsement which will be as follows:

  • Tideway based full-time coaches
  • Tideway based part-time coaches
  • Tideway based volunteers
  • Non-Tideway based full-time coaches
  • Non-Tideway based part-time coaches
  • Non-Tideway based volunteers

Going back to the first point of my note, we want to improve the quality and the safety awareness of ALL coaches operating on the Tideway. Clearly there will be cross over with some clubs sending their whole team at once but the above at least demonstrates the intention.

“What’s the deadline, it says urgently?”
As I’m sure you can all appreciate this endorsement is a massive piece of work and will take time to get off the ground as well as maintain moving forward. I would hope to have all the details back for the all the Tideway based clubs over the coming weeks and aim to get all the training sessions completed by the new year but this does very much depend on what I receive back from the clubs. In the short-term you can expect reminder notices about completing the forms to be sent regularly.

“Do I need my L2 Powerboat?”
The Tideway Code states it is preferable for paid coaches to have their RYA L2 Powerboat but as a minimum there needs to be evidence of launch training been delivered. I am discussing with the TRRC what we can do about suitable training for new coaches that is specific to the Tideway as a standard session seems sensible, more on this to follow soon. If you can demonstrate you have had structured training on driving a launch then you are likely to pass the endorsement. If you can’t demonstrate this you won’t get the endorsement.

“What happens if we don’t do it?”
Hopefully you would all agree that improving the quality and safety of our coaching is a good thing and see this as a method to achieve it. Subsequently this endorsement will become part of the water safety audit and so a club that does nothing about it will not be able to complete their audit.

“Why do you need our Date of Birth, what’s happening to this data?”
We have asked for DOB to see if many junior coaches are operating on the Tideway in a professional or volunteer manner. The data will be stored by TRRC and the only publically available data will be the name of each endorsed coach on the TRRC website. If someone doesn’t want to give their DOB then this isn’t going to mean they can’t get endorsed!

“Who is actually going to sign off my endorsement?”
In a word, me! I think it’s important that I do this as, like you all, I’m working on the river all year and can work with your club if there are circumstances specific to you that need to be worked through. I’ve also been recognised by the PLA twice for my safety record at two different clubs (LRC and Barn Elms) so do know somewhat what I’m talking about. The reason I’ve decided to take on a task like this is I genuinely feel it is one of our best chances of raising the quality of coaching delivery within our sport.

That’s all for now. If you have anything else in the meantime you can contact me on the details below and please do get the forms back over to me ASAP.



Steven O’Connor
Fulham Reach Boat Club Ltd.

Enquiries: 020 3356 7154
Mobile: 07525 754449

You can download the Tideway Coach's Endorsement - Entry Data 24 Aug here.

Please return completed forms to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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