Minerva Bath Rowing Club

Guidance and Protocols for Club Reopening

July 30th 2020

Further to the UK government’s further relaxation of restrictions related to Covid-19, and British Rowing’s publication of ‘Safe Return to Rowing’ version 5, which was circulated last week, we are now preparing for more Minerva members to return to the water next month, including in larger crew boats.


We are now in Phase ‘C’ of BR’s phased return to rowing. Currently at Minerva this means both junior and adult members who have been signed off as competent to at least intermediate level can return to the water. Adult members who are fully competent may row unsupervised, intermediate rowers can row only when supervised by a coach or another fully competent rower. Juniors in small ‘bubble’ groups must be supervised by a coach and launch, as detailed in our junior framework. To date, most post lockdown rowing at Minerva has been in single sculls, or in doubles and pairs when both crew members reside at the same household. Only limited coaching of small groups may currently take place.

Last week, BR recommended that rowing clubs could consider allowing the following to resume once necessary measures to reduce the risk of virus transmission have been implemented.

From Saturday August 1st doubles and pairs may go out with crew members from different households.

In this scenario each crew member is responsible for cleaning their section of the boat, and all areas with which they have been in contact, and should follow the regime outlined below.

From Saturday August 15th coxless and coxed fours and quads can potentially return to the water with crews from mixed households.

From Saturday August 29th eights and octuplets may possibly return to the water with crews from mixed households .

From mid-August when larger crew boats can potentially return to the water we will be required to implement additional safety measures to mitigate the risk of virus transmission. The Minerva main committee and Rowco will be meeting next week to discuss what additional measures might be required and whether mixed crew rowing in larger boats is feasible at Minerva. We will circulate a further update to all members in due course.

As more members become eligible to row in shared equipment it is now even more critical that both the personal and equipment cleaning regimes and social distancing guidance outlined below are strictly adhered to by everyone, on every visit to the club. This still includes private boat owners, and also extends to those attending the club for meetings, maintenance or security reasons.

Please ensure you read this document and future updates before visiting the club and pay attention to the signage that has been put in place within the boatsheds for your safety.

Failure by any member to comply with the protocols outlined below will be subject to immediate disciplinary action and this may result is suspension from all rowing activity until further notice.

Members are responsible for their own safety, whether using private or club boats. A launch will not always be present, as there will be limited supervised or coached sessions. Every member should make their own risk assessment based on river and weather conditions, their competency and experience. Bear in mind that there are new hazards on the river including a visible sand bank at Twerton Lock; falling trees; members of the public jumping from the bridge downstream from the club; paddle boards, kayaks, canoes and RIBs boating illegally from our stage; and a makeshift swimming platform downstream from Minerva. If you discover any hazard you should report this immediately, so other members can be advised accordingly.

If you do not feel confident about returning to rowing after a long break, then you should not go on the water unsupervised. Anyone who has not yet been assessed by Minerva as fully competent will have the opportunity to book an assessment with one of our coaches. You should be able to remove a single from the rack and carry it to the stage on your own. If you require assistance, social distancing rules and the cleaning regime outlined below must be followed.  

All members should ensure they keep a change of clothing and a towel, with them at all times, in case of capsize. We strongly recommend that you also carry your own rigger jigger, a pen, a clean wash cloth, sanitising hand gel and wipes in your kit bag, to protect both yourself and other members and that you minimise contact with surfaces once inside the boatshed. You should arrive at the club wearing your rowing kit as changing rooms can only be accessed for emergencies.

Showers will be cordoned off and can only be used in emergencies. In the event of an emergency they should be run for a few minutes before use, to avoid the risk of Legionnaires disease.  Please switch off isolating switches after use.

Toilets should only be used if absolutely necessary. The doors to the changing rooms, disabled bathroom and facilities block will be wedged open, and will remain so until further notice to reduce the need for surface contact and to improve air flow.

The lockers in the changing rooms should not be used. If you bring a bag to the club, leave it by your boat rack whilst you are on the water. Do not leave it beside the kit bags or personal effects of other members. The toilets and showers will continue to be cleaned on a weekly basis, but you should minimise contact with surfaces in these areas and use the soap, paper towels and sanitising gel provided to clean your hands.

The erg deck will continue to be cordoned off and should not be used. Pre and post outing warm-ups and stretches should happen outside the boatshed, or before you set off from home. The Arnold Cooke boatshed will remain out of bounds until further notice and rowing in larger boats is permitted. The one exception is the pair (Brutus) which is currently racked in that shed and only those booking this boat will be allowed access. Sweep blades will continue to be cordoned off until further notice and are currently only accessible to those rowing in pairs.

Social distancing of two metres should still be maintained at all times - in the shed, outside when preparing or cleaning boats, on the steps to the river, and on the stage. Four people will now be allowed in the boatshed at any one time, with a maximum of two persons per bay . Only two boats will be permitted on the stage at any time. Rowers returning to the club will have priority over those waiting to boat. Congregating in groups anywhere in the boatshed or outside the club is not permitted.

On the water CRT have advised that a distance of 10 metres is maintained from other river craft. Respect should be shown for all those who use or live by the river and those who access our site. At all times members should show consideration for other members of the club and the general public and ensure their behaviour does not bring the club into disrepute.

Currently our landing stage is being repaired by our members and has been cordoned off with padlocked barriers to deter members of the public from using it. Please ensure that you lock the barriers immediately before you boat if you are the last crew to do so for your booked session time. The code for this padlock is available in the boatshed.

All members should ensure they remove their boat quickly from the racks and return in time to clean all equipment thoroughly for return to rack, ready for the next user. Once you have finished your outing, cleaned and returned all equipment to the shed, you should leave the site promptly. A detailed cleaning regime for both you and your equipment is outlined below and will also be available in the boatshed.

Time slots of two hours must be booked in advance via our online boat booking system.  This should include no more than 90 minutes on the water thus allowing 30 minutes for boat preparation and cleaning. For fairness, only one outing per day will be allowed for members using club boats. Private boats must also be booked via the online booking system. It is also critical that all boats, both private and club owned, sign in and out for every outing. For the time being we are not restricting the number of boats that can go out in each session, however we may introduce a cap as and when more crew boats are able to take to the water.

Please note that club boats such as Brutus, Juturna, Fontus, Liburna, Team Spirit, Boudicca and Helen Glover should not be re-rigged without the permission of your Club Captain. Please contact Andy Crawshaw before booking if you are unclear about the rigging for a particular boat.

For every outing, members should adhere to the following sequence of activities when moving in and out of the boatshed and when cleaning equipment:


  • Unlock the side door if not already open. Sanitise your hands immediately with the antibacterial gel provided, sign out, and place your bag by your boat
  • Open the shutter door to the bay, if not already open. Take two trestles outside
  • Remove your boat from the rack quickly taking care not to touch other boats or surfaces
  • Take your blades outside and set up your boat
  • Ensure you have everything for your outing. Aim not to return once you have locked up
  • Close the shutter door when ready to leave. Sanitise your hands again
  • Carry your boat and blades to the stage keeping a two metre distance from others on site
  • Boat quickly ensuring only two boats are on the stage at once. Give priority to returning boats



  • On returning, place your boat on the same trestles you used to prepare your boat and place blades alongside.
  • Unlock the side door, if not already open. Sanitise your handsandsign in immediately.
  • Clean your boat and blades as follows:
    • Using water and washing up liquid provided, wash the shell of your boat paying attention to areas you have touched with your hands or face . Clean wash cloths will be available for you to retain and take home to launder if you cannot bring your own
    • Clean riggers, gates, seats, footplates, hatch covers and runners with the sprays or wipes provided. Leave the spray or wipe solution in contact with these surfaces for 60 secs to ensure it is effective.
    • Apply antibacterial spray provided to shoes
    • Clean blade handles and looms with wipes or with spray and paper towels
    • Return your boat to the rack taking care not to touch other boats or surfaces
    • Clean your trestles where touched with wipes or spray and paper towels and return to the boatshed
    • Return your blades to the rack
    • Wipe any other surfaces you have touched and place used wipes or towels in the purple ‘no touch’ bin provided
  • Close the shutter doors and sanitise your hands againbefore leaving
  • Leave by the side door and lock up. Do not leave water bottles, kit bags or any personal items in the boatshed
  • Wash your hands as soon as you can or apply more gel before returning to your vehicle.

Whilst in the boatshed, assume all shared surfaces including door handles, locks, switches, buckets, taps, door chains, tools and pens could be contaminated and therefore avoid or minimise contact. Get into the habit of applying hand gel every time you go in and out of the side door. These surfaces will be cleaned thoroughly once a week by our cleaner, but you should remain vigilant at all times .

If you need to make minor running repairs and use club tools, then apply antibacterial gel and clean the tools before and after using with antibacterial wipes. Ideally bring your own tools.

If you discover that a boat is damaged or cannot be used, report the damage to Andy Wallis, complete all necessary paperwork, and abandon your outing. Do not attempt the repair yourself. We expect club boats to be heavily used so it is critical that damage is reported promptly to Andy.

This guidance has been drafted to reduce, as much as possible, risk to our members, notably when using shared equipment. It relies on every member adhering to the highest standards of personal hygiene and a scrupulous equipment cleaning regime. The guidance also applies to the GB Start squad and to BUBC members once they return to rowing. If you feel you cannot adhere to this guidance, or feel that you could still be at risk, then please do not row. If you have any views on how this guidance could be improved, then please advise your squad captain or any main committee member.

As government and BR advice changes, there will be further updates and our protocols and guidance will change again. The committee reserves the right to close the club at any stage if the guidance and protocols outlined above are not followed by all club members. We will continue to communicate to you via both email newsletter and our member Facebook site. If you have any queries, please speak to Sue Shipley or Andy Wallis.

These are challenging times for everyone. For those able to return to rowing, please play your part and consider both your own safety and that of fellow Minerva members whenever you are at the club. For those still unable to return to rowing thank you for your patience and support – you don’t have long to wait now. Please look out for future announcements regarding the return of larger crew boats.


if you are exhibiting any symptoms of coronavirus, or if anyone in your household is self-isolating, or exhibiting symptoms,


Stay safe, stay alert and enjoy your return to rowing at Minerva!