Flying Doctor Rowathon – 

The safety of participants in the Flying Doctor Rowathon is paramount to the organising committee so we have detailed below some suggestions for participants to follow. In addition attached at the bottom of this page is a copy of our Safety Management Plan, in the format as issued by Rowing Victoria, for participants to review. 

Safety Suggestions


Make an early judgement about the likely weather conditions and firstly prepare yourself to be self-sufficient for clothing, food, fluids and add-ons like sunscreen and insect repellent as if you were going to be hiking over rugged terrain or running a full or ultra-marathon or working outdoors all day.

Best to be covered head to toe including hands and fingers under one light layer of loose fitting clothing, except around the chest and abdomen where the clothing should be comfortably firm. The remaining exposed skin needs to be covered under adequate layers of protective cream.

Take a hand towel or piece of towelling to wet and place around your neck to keep cool.

The simple principle is to take it, have it, wear it and then you can always stow it unused in the boat if you don’t need it.

Before, during and after the event you need to consume, in small amounts, enough easily and quickly digestible food and fluid to nearly maintain your body weight. Replace, as you go, what you sweat out.

Rowathon motor boats will have spare water, sunscreen and tape for hands.


Generally stay in the RH side of the middle of the river away from the banks, snags and surface plants – except if there are obstacles or other craft in the middle of the river. When passing a craft travelling in an opposite direction, keep your bow side, (starboard side) near the bank. When a craft is passing in the same direction, the slow boat yields to the faster boat. Be aware of other boats rowing near you and give them guidance if you think they need it.

IF you capsize, (1)  immediately check that all rowers have surfaced by numbering off from bow and include the cox, (2) everyone climb onto and lie on top of the upturned boat with legs straddling the hull and arms on each side and (3) everyone paddle the boat to a landing place where you can all safely stand. NO ONE swim alongside the boat, stay in or under the water, try to save oars, equipment, phones, food. ( Surprisingly and usually, most items stay with and inside the boat.) Wait for a motor boat / medical support to assist you.

Motor boats will be equipped with CB radios for use in seeking support if needed.

IF you break equipment, wait for a motor boat to assist and/or bring you a replacement.


Stay strong and within yourself. Err on the side of caution and take a rest rather than soldiering on when your body is saying that’s enough.

Coxes, give crews a rest every 20 – 25 mins to have a drink and eat some food. Scullers have a break every 15-20 mins or more frequently as required

Every boat should carry in a plastic bag tied to the boat basic rigging tools and a roll of tape to do simple repairs.

See "Operational Plan & Safety Management Plan" page for more information.