Stratford upon Avon BC safety boat drivers complete rigorous training

After many months of delay due to inclement weather conditions, the club has recently commissioned a cohort of five ‘new’ launch drivers to their safety rota


l to r, back row: Matt Jones; Jake Blatcher, Hugo Happel, front row centre: Kerry Sissons, shaking hands with Ian Wilcox, Stratford BC’s Water Safety Advisor. (Not shown: Chris Dunn also qualified.)

All launch drivers at Stratford BC are RYA-qualified and as well as having extensive familiarisation on the club’s three safety launches, all new drivers have been on and passed the RYA’s Inland Waterways Helmsman course at Bisham Abbey which includes safety, helmsmanship, collision avoidance, engine checks, mooring, man overboard, rescue and enables them river to helm a vessel safely.

The club’s Water Safety Advisor Ian Wilcock said, “Stratford Boat Club takes water safety and the safety of its members and all river users very seriously. Our launches are used daily for assisting with training upstream and safety on the Avon and having a pool of trained and qualified drivers is essential to maintain these rigorous standards. As well as 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 as well as the club’s two regattas and other events on the Avon.”

Commenting 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 gaining experience, going on the course and covering the launch safety rota slots. But as the winter weather hopefully begins to ease, their contribution is especially needed and essential as summer rowing activity increases: we cannot thank them enough for their volunteering and time given!”