Guard Boat Instructions


We are very fortunate, as a club, in having a group of experienced and helpful seamen that guard rowing crews throughout the season. Without these volunteers there would be no rowing so please look after each guard boat captain in whatever way you can (petrol/diesel vouchers, social event tickets, beer tokens etc). It is a small price to pay when they have been looking after you.


If anyone is interested in guard boating, please contact Chris McClean, Guard Boat Coordinator for further details by Mobile Number: 07781 103813. 


Guard Boats


The Guernsey Rowing Club relies on guard boats and promotes safe racing. The waters used for racing are for everyone, not just the club. No one has any more right of way, both private and commercial, over anyone else.


The design of skiffs makes them difficult to be seen at the best of times. Guard boats provide a more visible sight for others.


They also cover the safe rescue of crews and their skiffs. Each guard boat maybe required to remove crew from the sea or skiff. Thought should be given to how this is best achieved. All guard boats are the full responsibility of the owners and skippers.


  1. Each guard boat should be safe and seaworthy.

  2. It should have enough fuel for the duration of the race plus one hour to cover a rescue which may take longer.

  3. It should carry safety equipment. Lifejackets (worn by all the crew onboard), V.H.F. radio (GRC working channel is number 6), Navigation lights and all equipment onboard must be in working order.


Skippers and Crew


  1. Everyone onboard should wear a lifejacket.

  2. Skippers are responsible for their boat at all times. They must never put themselves or their crew in danger at any time.

  3. Skippers should make a plan of how to recover crew from a skiff or from the sea.

  4. Guard boats should keep a safe distance from the race where ever possible. If someone is in the water, the guard boat can move in. The racing boats should then keep clear.


Safety Flags


The GRC would ask guard boats to fly blue flags. These flags make other boats aware of any activity in their area, this has proved valuable in the past.


These flags are not officially recognised in rowing but the R.Y.A. has recognised it as a safety flag for power boat racing around the world.


GRC has some flags but if you want to make your own, please do. Flag dimensions are approximately 50x70 cm or 2’x2’6” and mid blue in colour.




Each guard boat must have a V.H.F. radio. Channel 6 is used for race control. Talk between guard boats should be on a different working channel returning back to channel 6 as soon as possible.


Guard boats are asked to call race control 10 minutes before the start of a race. The race controller will know how many boats are attending.


In the event of a guard boat being out of range of race control a message can be relayed through the guard boat fleet. It is important to relay the message accurately.


In the event of a race being cancelled, the blue flag can be waved by hand.


Once again Guernsey Rowing Club thank you for your support.